Orden Ogan – Final Days (AFM Records)Sunday, 21st March 2021
Taking on a sci-fi / outer space landscape this go around, Orden Ogan continues to challenge themselves and their growing legions of followers as a premiere power/heavy metal act. Elevating to headline status across Europe, moving up the billing of prominent festivals, hitting the conventional record charts in multiple countries – all are signs that what you are doing in terms of songwriting, style, and substance connects. Final Days as the seventh Orden Ogan album takes what has worked for the band in terms of vocal choirs and stirring anthems and pushes the versatility even further – creating ten more tracks that champion memorable, emotionally connective songs that make sense part to part, allowing the listener to engage deeper and deeper with the hooks, harmonies, and outside embellishing moments.
You’ll get a mixture of mid-tempo and slightly faster power songs along with the occasional sweeping ballad to showcase every facet of what the band can display. As producer, vocalist, and songwriter main man Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann always strives for grand tones and sounds the best way he knows how – capturing the hordes of fans during the festival season for the background choir support in key parts of “Let the Fire Rain”. Guitarists Nils Löffler and Patrick Sperling along with Seeb know how to emphasize key riff sequences with impassioned cultural charge and harmonic bliss – those folk-tinges coming through in a Running Wild manner during uplifting mid-album highlight “Interstellar” (featuring a brilliant solo from Gus G.). The matching of space-like vocal harmonies against cascading crunchy rhythms makes “Absolution for Our Final Days” another standout, the mead-hall oriented chorus reverberating in a hypnotic trance-like motion as the steady, pounding rhythm section develops in a semi-progressive, slightly Gojira-ish way. There’s plenty to devour and dissect – Orden Ogan masters at grabbing the hook immediately and building off of it for dynamic distinction and undeniable ear worm facilitation, as opener “Heart of the Android” and the reflective ballad “Alone in the Dark” achieve (the guest support from Brothers of Metal singer Ylva Eriksson stunning). At 50 minutes, Final Days contains the proper amount of musical information without fatiguing the listener – which can often be a problem for the metal genre, as it’s okay to leave people wanting more.
Orden Ogan are the heir apparent to what started from the roots of Helloween, Running Wild, and Blind Guardian – developing their own trademarks and becoming one of the best, most consistent German metal bands in today’s scene. Final Days is a logical successor to Gunman – and for my money the best full-length to date for the band.