With a flurry of trumpets and guitar German power metal band, Orden Ogan gallops into a Euro thrash frenzy. Now on their fifth album, the heavy metal highwaymen have already become a favourite on the European festival scene and this album is sure to gather them some more disciples.
The album whilst not technically a concept album, it certainly feels like one in terms of tone and content: the lyrical elements are born from the darkly supernatural and the sound is hugely Germanic, with epic choruses and powerhouse musicianship to match. The opening track Gunman demonstrates the ferocious shredding, speed drumming and symphonic elements you can expect along with some terrifically Teutonic metal lyrics like “find absolution with a bullet in your head”.
Fields of Sorrow is a behemoth balladeer track and Vampire In Ghosttown has a chorus perfect for the swirling epicenter of a mosh pit. Come With Me To The Other Side continues the romantic Gothic themes. There's an acoustic guitar element on the track along with a use of strings to create the feeling of a by gone era before the track runs head first into battle on one of the most adventurous tracks on the album. The guest vocal from Liv Kristine enters like a banshee, signaling the immediate death of our hero. The track has an unexpected defibrillation, jolting it back to life, rather than letting it slip quietly away. It evokes the idea of a battle hardy, violent death. Kristine's mezzo soprano vocal is the eternal light in the track as a key change helps drop the memento of the track and dual guitars in the final minute's hint at one last grabble for life before the inevitable death knell before a rousing ending full of polyphony. It would be a fitting ending to the album, but the band are far from done. One Last Chance brings a heavier sound back into the album and Finis Coronet Opus, is literally the crowning glory on the album giving that softer, mystical feel that was dropped into the album earlier.
Once again the album has been produced by singer and lead guitarist Seeb Levermann. Recently a lot of progressive and symphonic elements of metal music have become too mixed together, creating a cacophony of sounds indistinguishable from each other: Levermann manages to separate them and blend them perfectly into the musical canvas. Drummer Dirk Meyer-Berhorn shifts and turns his style throughout the album, playing with syncopation great effect helping to punctuate the album with rhythmic interest. Power and progressive metal can fall into the trap of sounding too chorally similar, and at times Gunmen is also guilty of this, and even though that's not quite a hang-able offense, the album offers substantial interest lyrically and musically that's enough to to give it absolution right from the opening track.