ORDEN OGAN – The Order Of Fear (Album Review)

ORDEN OGAN - The Order Of Fear (Album Review)
Orden Ogan: New Album: Out July 5 On Reigning Phoenix Music (RPM)

More To This Than Meets The Eye:

Orden Ogan is a band that I haven’t really investigated properly. I know some of their music and have seen them once at a festival and enjoyed them live. Finding an email with a link to the latest album due out July 5th, I thought it was a sign to maybe take time out to check them out properly. If, like myself, you know the name but not much else, here is a bit of a short history lesson.

The German power metal band formed around 1996. One person remains from the original line-up in Sebastian Seeb Levermann on vocals (he has also been a guitarist and bassist at points). He is joined by two fairly long-term members (around 2011) who were part of it all from album number three, To The End, in 2012. Those being Niels Löffler on guitar and Dirk Meyer-Berhorn on drums. The two newest members are Steven Wussow on bass and finally Patrick Sperling also on guitar. This is the second album with the same band members and the eighth band album so far in their career.

Alister Vale

What I wasn’t aware of is that all the albums are thematic. Based around a character called Alister Vale who lives in a dark parallel world and is a member of an aristocratic circle that, disguised as a government, does sinister things behind closed doors. He tries to do what he considers a good thing by disbanding it. But in so doing is cursed to wander forever alone. Part of the curse is that people he meets die. A dangerous fellow then. On this album, he goes to find The Order Of Fear which is the meaning of the name Orden Ogan (they have put some thought into all this I must say) who has been told can free him from his curse. The question is, can it? The album tells that story.

One more bit of information is that most of this was co-written with a fan in Uruguay who they contacted after seeing him doing covers of their songs. The band say he helped to unlock the story. I didn’t see his name on the info sheets sadly or I would have name-checked him. Let’s look at the album itself.

Upbeat, Happy Music With Dark Undertones:

There are 11 songs in all, most are in the 3 or 4-minute plus category but two are a bit longer at around 7 and 8 minutes. There is also a short spoken word track nearer the end. The first thing to note is the choruses, they are huge, catchy and marvellous fun to sing along with. More or less any of these songs could get a crowd singing along. There are plenty of vocal harmonies throughout with plenty of chants whether they be metal or monk-like! There are moments of symphonic metal, but they are lesser than some of their previous albums it seems along with folk elements.

Opener “Kings Of The Underworld” kicks in fast. No mucking about fast drums and vocals right up front with the guitars coming more into it around 30 seconds in. The music is classic power metal (or as I have heard it called “happy metal”) very upbeat despite the dark themes, choir vocals with chants of “In Union“. Simply this stuff is as infectious as influenza.

The title track which follows has similar opportunities to chant, this time the word “Fear” at the end of the chorus lines. Try not to join in. I dare you. If you don’t want to punch the air there must be something wrong with you, so see a doctor quickly. They can also do atmospheric like on this where there are spoken word sections with the sound of tolling bells before they hit you with guitar solos. “Moon Fire” uses synths giving the song a different vibe from the previous and the chanting sounds straight out of a monastery making this quite a moody piece.

See The Story Unfold:

Orden Ogan: Mean And Moody! (Photo Credit Nat Enemede)

They do go a bit folky on some tracks like “Conquest” which starts with a very folky acoustic guitar, all very jaunty and again upbeat with the band coming in with “Hey!” chants. With the music becoming full-blown folk metal they throw in choirs just for the hell of it. The song drops back down to acoustic for a bit in the middle before heavying up again. I found it a fun track all around. “Blind Man” has a slightly slower chorus but does head into almost thrash metal around three-quarters of the way through even vocally where he growls “There’s nothing left but a broken shell” which captures the mood. This track actually hints at another track to come further down the line so you can see the story unfold!

Prince Of Sorrow” adds a little more sympathy to the character as he sings about being between “nightmare and reality” whilst he “walks among the dead” in an “eternity so lonely between betrayal and regret“. Don’t be mistaken as it isn’t a ballad though the lyrics would suggest it. This is a slower foot stomper of a chorus. One of my favourites from the album. “Dead Lord” is a grinder of a song with a very melodic chorus.

A Bit More Symphonic:

My Own Enemy” is a slower piano-led ballad, quite a reflective piece where he blames himself in a way for his situation when he sings “My own worst enemy has always been myself“. This is a slow build into a haunting guitar solo. It did remind me a little of a Scorpions-type song even on the vocal delivery, that is as much a compliment as I can give it. One of the two more symphonic tracks on the album “Anthem To The Darkside” turns into a fast almost thrash-like track with powerful drumming but counterbalanced with slower vocal harmonies at points. There are hints of Helloween on this one whilst being quite cinematic. At 7 minutes the track is able to go through changes and styles.

“The Journey So Far” is just a spoken word piece telling the story with a synth backdrop. The longest song of all and one apparently written or at least started many years ago but never quite worked for some reason finishes the album. “The Long Darkness” is another symphonic track which is quite dramatic sounding. Very anthemic especially on the huge emotional chorus, almost Avantasia-like where they sing “Close your eyes, wake up in hell“.

Time To Check The Back Catalogue:

Now I cannot say if this is their “best” album as I haven’t heard all the previous so long-time fans will have to make up their own minds that read this. But for folks who like me have somehow not quite caught up with this band properly this is a mighty fine power metal album. The writing, the production, the melodies, the power and those damned choruses which are there to be joined in with whilst you punch the air makes this album I would think as good a place to start as any. I now want to go back and chase the back catalogue which gives you an idea of what I thought of it all. First-class power metal with some symphonic and folk elements running through it. As I finish this I am planning on listening to it again! Yup, this is damn fine.

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Check out more of my articles on CGCM Rock Radio/Website: Tom Cornell

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