Album Review: Orden Ogan – Final Days

Album Review: Orden Ogan - Final Days
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

It’s been four long years since the superb ‘Gunman’, the sixth album from German power metal legends Orden Ogan. ‘Final Days’ may have been delayed due to several reasons but with its arrival imminent, now is the time to get excited about the return of Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann and his band of musicians.

Seeb is of course, a massively accomplished producer as well as musician and one only has to check out the most recent releases by Rhapsody of Fire, Brainstorm and Asphyx to confirm his credentials. During their career, Orden Ogan have moved through a variety of themes, from monasteries in moorlands on ‘Ravenhead’, to apocalyptic ice worlds (‘To the End’), the Wild West on ‘Gunman’ and now onto a dark Sci-Fi concept on ‘Final Days’. The compositions remain as compelling and addictive as before.

Album Review: Orden Ogan - Final Days

We often say that band’s latest records are their best, and ‘Final Days’ is no exception. The compositions are beautifully structured, the use of harmonies and melody delicately laced throughout. The soaring vocals are uplifting, even on tracks with sinister subject matter like ‘In The Dawn of The AI’. Levermann and co are some of the most underrated writers in the power metal scene and they’ve delivered on all fronts this time around.

Opener ‘Heart of the Android’ immediately sets the pulse racing, with an introduction to the album’s conceptual themes. ‘In The Dawn of the AI’ powers along majestically, whilst ‘Inferno’ is catchy, almost Europop yet with a steel spine. Three songs that are varied yet retain the beating heart and soul of this brilliant German band.

Whilst one can argue that power metal is formulaic, ‘Final Days’ provides compelling evidence that the top bands in the genre can add more than a touch of variety to their music. The anthemic ‘Interstellar’ has you singing along in minutes and features a blistering solo from Firewind main man Gus G. The tempo changes for ‘Alone in the Dark’ which features Ylva Eriksson (vocalist of Swedish band Brothers Of Metal) duetting with Levermann in a sentimental ballad which has a poignant pulsing heart beat running through it. Ogan know how to finish in style though with the punchy ‘Hollow’ and 'It Is Over', a grand finale which thematises the end of the world (caused by an asteroid impact) and culminates in the "last radio broadcast of mankind", presented in all the world’s languages. Dramatic, over the top and essence of Orden Ogan.

Two new members since ‘Gunman’ have also brought additional freshness. Long-time guitarist Tobias Kersting left the band in 2020 after 13 years, with his replacement being Patrick Sperling. Alongside Sperling, bassist Neils Löffler has changed to guitar, having stood in when Levermann’s hand injury in 2018 forced the frontman to go singer only. Steve Wussow (ex-Xandria) taking Löffler’s position on bass. The line-up is solid, so is the music and the only real thing missing is being back on stage. A 2022 tour with Wind Rose and Brothers in Metal is planned, and hopefully we will get to see these songs in the live arena before too long.

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