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Sunday 25 January 2015

Reviews: Orden Ogan, Beardfish, Adimiron

Orden Ogan: Ravenhead (AFM)

With such a glut of releases coming at the beginning of the year it's nice to see some of my personal favourite bands releasing album so early on, albeit making it harder for my end of year poll. I was very excited to see Power metal supreme from Germany, once again being the order of the day, with the epic strains of Orden Ogan's fifth and latest album Ravenhead (not to mention a new Blind Guardian album!) Now luckily Ogan have got in there first releasing their newest album just before their countrymen in Guardian release their latest opus (review coming soon) and they are all the better for it, as the theatrics and orchestral swell up on the intro before the battering ram drumming, lighting guitar work, keyboard flourishes and choir backed vocals get the title track moving along nicely before the keys come to the fore on the suitably anthemic F.E.V.E.R which distils Orden Ogan's sound perfectly and lets the you see the difference in style on the heavier yet still melodic The Lake. The band are terrific musicians with frontman Seeb supplying the vocals, guitars, keys as well the production, he luckily is backed by a band who play with precision and power driving along this album at a fair old pace. Ravenhead is pure unadulterated power metal throughout but its by no means light and fluffy, this is the sort of intelligent, classically influenced and bombastic power metal that Blind Guardian, Evergrey and Avantasia. It's because of this myriad of influences that the band can move from the galloping shout along of Evil Lies In Every Man which breaks down into a horror theme and classical guitars towards the end, with the almost thrash like militaristic metal of Here At The End Of The World (a track that features the gruff vocals of Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl) then into bardic folk whimsy of A Reason To Give which sounds like it could come from Hans Zimmer then they show that they can do straight up marching power metal on Sorrow Is Your Tale which features the pipes of Hammerfall's Joacim Cans adding to the frivolity. So Orden Ogan have released yet another album of exciting, multi layered power metal laying down the gauntlet to their Tolkien-loving countrymen to try and beat it! 9/10

Beardfish: +4626-Comfortzone (InsideOut)

Swedes Beardfish have been releasing albums steadily since 2003 and since then every release has increased the bands musical scope and as such they have toured with Dream Theater, Flying Colors, Sound Of Contact, Spock's Beard and generally the great and the good of prog rock, yet they are still relatively unknown outside of prog circles focussing more on being musicians than trying to sell records, with an unchanged line up since 2003 the band have become somewhat of a cult but ever present force in progressive music drawing their inspiration from the glory days of 70's prog and honing it to a fine art. +4626-Comfortzone is the bands eighth album and yet again it is more of what the band do so well, intelligent, progressive music filled with pastoral whimsy, melodic pomp and the same kind of laid back, evocative music that Yes and Genesis played back in the day, for just a four piece the music has a real depth to it with all four members playing with technical virtuosity and a keen ear for melody, the staccato riff and jumpy guitar lines on Hold On is testament to this as it moves between fast and slow with lots of melodic guitars from David Zackrisson and Rikard Sjöblom that Steve Howe would be proud of, this along with some nimble bass work from Robert Hansen and sublime drumming from Magnus Östgren makes for an interesting start-stop opening track before we are taken to more spacey territory on Comfort Zone which features some Air-like synths and keys from Sjöblom as well as his great vocals on this big ballad that is at odds to the following track Can You See Me Now? which is part Glam Rock part Jazz and this genre bending continues throughout the album with the driving rock of King the pastoral country of The One Inside: Part 2, the metallic Daughter/Whore; with the show stopper being the 15 minute plus If We Must be Apart (A Love Story Continued). Beardfish are a genre defying retro throwback to 70's that encompass all kinds of music for their off-kilter sound that is not to dissimilar to Brits Bigelf. Yet another album of crazy, gonzoid but intelligent music from the Swedes and one that will keep them, keeping on for a good while to come. 8/10

Adimiron: Timelapse (Scarlet Records)

Adimiron play progressive thrash metal with touch of death metal thrown in, giving them a sound akin to modern Machine Head with some big breakdown riffs, fast paced passages and aggressive vocals from frontman Andrea. Opening track Collateral immediately drags you into the maelstrom of riffage these Italians produce, then State Of Persistence brings in the more progressive elements with nods to the wall of sound Messuggah are known for, Oz and Alessandro's guitars are muscular and drive the groove as Federico Maragoni's drums and Maurizio Villeato's bass playing are battering rams for the sledgehammer sounds on The Giant The Cow and the title track which has more than a hint of Gojira about it (fret slides and all). The band do what they do very well and if you are a fan of groove driven, progressive thrash then you will love their twitchy, progressive, brutal, and indeed thoroughly modern heavy metal however there are many bands doing this kind of thing with more success and more recognition. Still they do what they do well and the progressive nature of the band may put many off but it does mean that the band are not just another wall of riffage thrash band with no substance to them, the band have a little brains. Like I said a good album but tread carefully if proggy time signatures and unrelenting riffage are not your thing. 6/10

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