Orden Ogan – The Book of Ogan (AFM Records)Sunday, 24th April 2016
Given the rising popularity of this German power metal group, the band and label erect a massive box set to showcase their historical elevation from folk-oriented roots to their current heavier stance. Orden Ogan with The Book of Ogan give the viewers and listeners a double DVD/ double audio CD package, consisting of everything from a 90-minute band documentary, two live show performances, a best-of audio CD as well as for the first time ever on CD, a copy of the band’s 2004 Testimonium A.D. independent demo/full-length release (all depending on your viewpoint of things versus the band’s… more on that later).
The documentary is set up into seven parts – covering their early days as teenagers pursuing a dream all the way to their current escapades touring with Hammerfall and Powerwolf in support of last year’s Ravenhead album. You’ll hear a ton of relevant stories about building up the band’s profile, including honest insights from label people at AFM, the challenges in juggling tours while stabilizing your lineup, and the hard work it takes especially from a workaholic perspective for guitarist/vocalist/producer/main songwriter Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann. Interviews conducted in German but with English subtitles, I felt more akin to the band’s serious lyrics but fun live show outlook, and certainly understand better why they’ve moved up the ranks over the past few years because of their quality output on both the studio and stage fronts. The locked bus tales, missed deadlines, shows with Tiamat… dozens of informative pieces to take away. Bonuses include eight videos from 2004’s “Angels War” to 2015’s “F.E.V.E.R.” plus making of and tour report segments.
The second DVD contains two live appearances from Rock Harz Open Air festival and the Brose Arena Bamberg show in 2015 in front of a partisan hometown crowd – as well as supplemental live footage from Wacken 2010, Summer Breeze 2013, festival reports and interviews from 2013-2015. A solid compilation of material for sure giving the listeners and viewers proper insight into Orden Ogan’s moving music capabilities – encouraging sing-a-longs and audience participation at every beck and call. Using Go-Pro and professional camera crews allows multiple angles from the musician to audience perspectives – and the raw guitar energy is hypnotic during songs like “F.E.V.E.R.” or the more Running Wild-ish “We Are Pirates!”. Outdoors in daylight or indoors with darkness and more stage lighting at their disposal, the quartet deliver on all fronts.
The audio material contains a 14 song best of (entitled All These Dark Years- The Best of 2008-2015) and a separate disc with the aforementioned 2004 release (Seeb discusses his views in the documentary about where OO really starts to become relevant in 2008… so take that for what it’s worth). A great little history lesson for those not well versed on the band’s catalog, you can clearly hear the advancement of their style through their lifetime – as members came in and out and the band honed in on what they feel they do best (less progressive keyboards, more straightforward power riffs). Add in a 40-page booklet filled with photos and additional information, and in the end, you’ll get close to 7 hours of visual/audio Orden Ogan stimulation- making The Book of Ogan a must-have if you want to dig deeper into these rising German metal stars.