Since the release of “To The End” a couple months ago, Orden Ogan is a band that I’ve been hearing a lot about. Given the frost-filled album cover and the promise of killer power metal, this is one album I had to check out. Luckily, “To The End” delivers far more than I expected. The best way to describe this band is as a mix of mid-era Blind Guardian and some of Gamma Ray’s speedier material. The vocalist is not a dead ringer for Hansi Kursch or Kai Hansen, but he does have strong hints of both singers. The most powerful moments on the record utilize plenty of vocal layering to create memorable harmonies. In addition, when the band is playing at full speed, they have similarities to classic albums like “Land of the Free” and “Somewhere Far Beyond”.
In terms of songwriting, “To The End” is extremely frontloaded. After the intro, the next four tracks are the strongest on the album. Both the title track and “Land of the Dead” are fast-paced power metal assaults. In addition to being easy to sing along to (you will never get tired of hearing the lyrics: “we are lifeless, pale and numb”), these songs have fantastic guitar work. While there aren’t solos in every song, they add a lot more to the album than your typical guitar playing does. The solos are extremely speedy and fit in a ton of notes, but somehow retain a melodicism that is not found in some of the more technical or neoclassical guitar players. The third song, “The Things We Believe In”, is the only trace of folk metal on “To The End”. It is a fun, memorable song that seems annoying at first, but later will definitely grow on you. Some of the other highlights include the ballad “The Ice Kings”, along with “Mystic Symphony”, which is the only song on the second half of the album that really stands out. The rest of the songs fit the theme and sounds of the album, but it is unlikely that they'll be remembered as the band's best work.
In conclusion, Orden Ogan’s fourth album is a well-crafted power metal release. The band takes advantage of their skill on their respective instruments, and they’ve clearly put in their time listening to the greats of the genre. It would be nice for the songwriting to have a bit more consistency, but this is supposedly their most pure foray into power metal. With that said, I’ve enjoyed this far more than any Blind Guardian record (the most comparable band) since Nightfall in Middle-Earth, and that album was far more hit and miss than “To The End” is. If you need something original and refreshing in your power metal listening, this album is a great choice!
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"To The End"
"The Things We Believe In"
"Land Of The Dead"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott