OO_R-C_1500x1500Orden Ogan has a name that greatly irritates me, but they’ve been a positive force in Euro-power over the years with semi classics like ValeEaston Hope and the very respectable To The End. What I always enjoyed about them was how effectively they could fuse the vintage sounds of countrymen Rage and Blind Guardian into something enjoyable and at least partially unique. The Blind Guardian love continues to grow and prosper on Ravenhead and that means mountains of polished, memorable power metal anthems, as bombastic as all get out, yet supplying real metallic heft to avoid a fruity aftertaste. The songwriting is stronger and more consistent than last time and the band sounds right in the center of their comfort zone, rocking the kind of muscular power tunes they obviously grew up adoring. Add in some timely guest vocals and maybe, just maybe I’ve been too hard on the stupid ass band name after all.

The opening instrumental sets the proper foundation for the big, burly push of the title track and its typically over-the-top, righteously fist-pumping fare. It’s as catchy as poison ivy, but “F.E.V.E.R” is even better with a ridiculously anthemic chorus you’ll be hard pressed to avoid singing in supermarkets, malls and office cubicles. The big, heavy riffing takes it well outside the realm of typical Euro-power and it’s all the better for that, and when bagpipes join the fray, it creates the perfect maelstrom of grandiose bombast. The rest of Ravenhead delivers the same high quality goodies, with some tunes landing more in the Rage camp, like “The Lake” and “Evil Lies in Every Man,” but the bulk being far more blind than angry.

And  some of these songs sound really  big, like “Here at the End of the World,” where they’re joined by Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger for a ginormous dose of Germanic metal, heavy on the heavy and light on the Euro-power. “Deaf Among the Blind” is lovingly overblown Blind Guardian worship and “Sorrow is Your Tale” is more of the same with a nice appearance from Joachim Cans of Hammerfall. The writing is consistently good and even softer stuff like “A Reason to Give” avoids the cheese sweats. This is especially apparent on closer “Ravenhead Too Soon,” which is a wickedly effective dose of dark balladry with an ominous vibe.

Orden Ogan_2015

And that’s a strength of Orden Ogan; the darker edge they give their version of power metal. This isn’t your father’s Gamma Ray or your mother’s Freedom’s Call. This is much more in-your-face, forbidding and gritty. Some of the material even reminds me of Turisas and that’s certainly a welcome development. The songs are all of manageable length and never outstay their welcome and the album is the perfect length at 48 minutes. It hits you and then ends, leaving you wanting more.

Vocally, Seeb Levermann continues to channel both Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) and Peavy Wagner (Rage) and at times it’s hard to believe you aren’t listening to one of those bands. He does the material proud and I find myself liking his voice more with each release. This may also be the best all around outing guitar-wise for Seeb and Tobin Kersting as they pull out one memorable harmony and solo after another, and though the riffs are often simple and heavy, they work well in the context of the songs and supply all the power required.

The only downside on an otherwise very enjoyable album is the production, which is thick as a brick. At DR5, it’s brickwalled and utterly without nuances. While the thickness of the guitar sound gives it a whole lot of power, at times even approaching a Fear Factory level of industrial crushery, it has too much of that Sabaton “wall of sound” effect and it can get tiring.

This is an improvement from To The End (except for those druid outfits in the promos), much heavier and a very easy album to like. Though it’s way too early in the year to start speculating on the crop of power metal ahead, I feel fairly safe saying this will be one of the genre’s better moments. As you wait for the new Blind Guardian platter, these guys definitely have what it takes to keep you busy and entertained. Orden this with confidence.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 |  Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AFM Records
Websites: facebook.com/ORDENOGAN
Release Dates: EU: 2015.01.16  |  NA: 02.03.2015

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  • brutal_sushi

    Power Metal!!!

  • Wilhelm

    Sounds like Nightwish to me – This would work better if it wasn’t so compressed, which is exactly what worries me about the upcoming Blind Guardian.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    I see their name translates to “The Order of Fear”. Does that help any?

    • No. They should change the name to Odin’s Organ. Now that’s memorable!

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        I can imagine the logo and controversial album art for that!

      • It was in his Doors phase that he first got his organ. Odin decided to name it Organr.

        • Is that part of your stand-up act?

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          I Orden you stop with the puns

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        This is a great name for my upcoming record of Amon Amarth and Unleashed covers on the pipe organ. Can I take it? The original name, Organheim, pales in comparison.

        • You can make a cash offer.

          • Our Fortress Is Burning

            I’m auctioning off Axioma Ethica Organi if anyone cares to make an offer.

      • Alped

        How about Guano Donor !

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    The the single worst visual treatment for a band name I have ever seen.

    • Looks like all those shitty metalcore logos from the early aughts. Terrible.

    • Tanuki

      So bad they had to do it twice!

  • Robert Turnbull

    What an awesomely awful video! The music isn’t bad though

  • Vega Magnus

    This sounds like some pretty high grade cheese. Very nice.

    I know you guys didn’t like their prior album, but I’m working my way through Occultation’s 2014 release Silence in the Ancestral House and I quite like it. Anyone here have any thoughts on it?

  • Promo shot: “Seriously guys, the fish was *this* big”

  • Can’t. Stop. Listening. To. ANGRA.

    • Kryopsis

      Review incoming?

    • itsmydamnation

      the question is which album, the song shadow hunter forced me to learn finger picking……..lol

      this album also seems to be perfect for my current Dragon Age : inquisition addition

      • The new one. Review incoming.

        DA:I is great, but I’ve taken a pause from obsessively picking Elfroot to play Shadowrun Dragonfall: Director’s Cut. OMFG this game.

        • Kryopsis

          Dragonfall is a truly quality game and I was surprised by how much of an improvement over Shadowrun Returns it was. The follower missions are definitely the best part.

          • I played through Dragonfall as it came with Sr:R. I thought it was nice, if condensed. So far I am getting my ass kicked in Blitz’s follower mission and am quite pissed about it. I made a rigger and me and the banker get killed in the second room EVERY TIME. The bad guys NEVER STOP COMING.

          • Stop nerd herding my review with your D&D geekery!

          • Eh, video game geekery Mr. the Druhm.

          • Odin’s Organ laughs at you and your video dice rolls.

    • Bryan Stroup

      Yeah, I had their latest on repeat for about two weeks. I used to listen to them during the Matos years, but they quickly bored me after a while. I also cannot stand Rhapsody (of Fire), but think Lione is amazing on Secret Garden.

  • Our Fortress Is Burning

    Not my preference in terms of style, but not the worst thing I’ve ever heard either. There are some good elements there. I do like the like the guitars and drums.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Thats a great tune and hysterical promo video, these guys are out powerwolfing Powerwolf.

  • JL

    I very much like this band. Easton Hope is awesome. The last one, “To The End” is good too. The opener, “The Frozen Few” is one of the best old school guitar anthems in the history of metal epicness. I’m very much looking forward to this album. The single sounds great and I agree that the songwriting is improving with each record. I expect big things from this record. Nice review.

  • Ernesto Aimar

    Orden Ogan has grown A LOT in me since I’ve first heard “To the End” (and that anthemic marvel named “Land of the Dead”) so I had big expectations for “Ravenhead”. After listening to it over and over, I’m blown away by it’s power. Orden makes the best interpretation of teutonic epic power metal I’ve heard in years with an incredible singer that yeah, sounds way too much like Peavey Wagner. The guitar work also reminds me of mid 90’s Running Wild (main riff from “F.E.V.E.R” sounds like a leftover of “Black Hand Inn”), maybe the Age of Legends of Power Metal. I’m guessing this will probably end of my end of the year list, likely below ne Blind Guardian’s epic ;)

  • I am a little late on this one, but I’ve finally found time to absorb this album, and I have to say that it really starts off strong. Ravenhead is an excellent song that has some “Gothenberg” melo-death guitars in it. I appreciate the mid-rage vocals instead of yet another high pitch power metal squeal. On several other tracks, I hear a definite Blind Guardian vibe too (which is odd considering there is a new BG album out now). But as a whole, this album really loses steam about halfway through. Its good, but not consistently good.

    • Kryopsis

      I actually just checked this page to see if anyone was still listening to Odin’s Organ. The album only came out in North America last week so I finally got a chance to hear it. You have a point: the the album is front-loaded with the two best tracks so the rest does not compare well. This said, the other songs are still quite good. For instance ‘Evil Lies In Every Man’ could do without the 40-second intro but is otherwise a really strong track. I do like this heavier, crunchier approach to Power Metal. It feels like a throwback to Speed Metal and early Helloween but you’re right about the Gothenburg-sounding guitars. Basically the band deserves a better logo (and probably a better name too) but the material is really solid. Definitely deserves the 3.5 review score.

      • Yeah, I agree 100% especially with the name and logo. Can we start a Kickstarter campaign to come up with a new name and logo or something? I mean come on…this is the most hideous logo ever. I could deal if the name of the band was just Odin’s Organ, but its so hard to read. They superimposed two different fonts on top of one another, both in a black and white mixed slew of curves and lines, and its completely unreadable.

  • antitayyip

    previous album’s intro was amazing…

  • Bryan Stroup

    This band randomly started playing on Youtube, or I probably would have never heard of them or paid attention to them due to their name.

    Blind Guardian meets Rage does about sum them up, but this is non flowery power metal; the only good kind.

  • Gotch

    “Stupid ass band name” Said the Angry metal guy.