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Incredible - 93%

PorcupineOfDoom, February 8th, 2015

Power metal isn't normally my thing, but I think I can make an exception for Orden Ogan. This is some really neat stuff, very well executed and quite original with the little influences of folk metal. I was expecting to hear something like Suidakra, but I'm actually glad that Orden Ogan have their own style.

First things first, this is admittedly a little weird. Power metal songs are not often epic in the same way as anything by Equilibrium or Amon Amarth, but on To the End every song has that feel to it. It's also very sing-along, but not in the same way as you'd get from a typical Dragonforce song. The two styles of folk metal and power metal also shouldn't fit together (in my mind at least it seems like an odd mix), but yet they do. And they do in a very convincing manner.

The first element in the formula for success that this band have is an incredibly talented vocalist in Sebastian Levermann. His tone is really captivating and there is never a moment that what he does isn't interesting or worth hearing. The choirs are a nice touch to add to the vocal department and really add that extra bit of strength. Nils Weise does a neat job of providing some backing vocals for Seb (or rather "Seeb" as he's known), but it's really down to Mister Levermann that the vocals are so good.

The guitars are great as well, performing a wide mix of different styles. At times there are typically speedy power metal runs, but at others the tempo switches to almost thrash. Then there are the solos, which are some of the best I've heard. At this point they tend to switch to a full-blown power ideology with some really complex sections, but it always sounds like so much more than a Dragonforce-esque mesh of random noises. It really adds something extra that wasn't previously on display.

The keyboards are a big part of this record too, getting many quiet and delicate sections on their own to show just what they can do, sometimes accompanied by an acoustic guitar. When the main force is with the guitars they tend to fade a little, but they're constantly lingering and adding a little more to the overall sound. The music would not be anywhere near as good without that little bit of touching up that they do.

Drumming is also worth some attention, particularly from all the drummers that can't do anything other than repeatedly bash the snare or play blast beats for the entirety of an album. Dirk Meyer-Berhorn delivers a very varied performance throughout (much like the rest of the band, fittingly) and showcases some real talent too. I applaud the guy, simply because drumming of his calibre is not so easy to find nowadays with so many bands hiring someone who is just average. Dirk, meanwhile, is adventurous and really has something to give.

I can't pick a favourite here because it is all worth listening to. Every minute was well spent here, and it's tragic that this band is so overlooked. Orden Ogan have shown the potential that they've got here, and I'm left seeking more of the same.