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Ostrogoth Chapter 2: Power - 92%

DesecratorJ, September 2nd, 2018

A follow-up to my review of Ostrogoth's first release, "Full Moon's Eyes", this is the second part of my review of the band's early material. After the release of their EP, the Belgian guys of Ostrogoth did not fuck around, as they quickly went back in the studio to record what would be their first full-length album titled "Ecstasy and Danger". The album was released barely a year after "Full Moon's Eyes" in 1984, and feature eight tracks for a running time of 38 minutes. This album is probably the band's most popular one and is the first one to see their typical logo on the album cover. Compared to their first release, this album sounds a bit different, mainly because of the quick evolution in their overall sound. At first, they had a more speed metal vibe, but now what you can hear on this one is far more melodic and epic without making any compromise in the heaviness though. This album is pretty similar to what USPM bands like Omen, Savage Grace or the more underground Dark Age were playing at the same period of time.

Beside the little shift on the musical department, this album also has a significant change in the sound, production-wise. The biggest noticeable change is the more apparent bass in the music, which is a pretty cool thing, otherwise, I found the drums and guitars to be a bit less loud in the mix. However, it's actually not a bad thing as everything is still clearly balanced, just in another way. An improvement is also noticeable on the songwriting too, the tracks are longer and has more complex structures, which explains a less straightforward approach, unlike often seen in speed metal. Speaking of complexity and epicness, "Ecstasy and Danger" starts with the band's most popular song, which consist of nearly eight minutes of pure brilliance, and titled "Queen of Desire". This song really define the sound of Ostrogoth in overall, it has that catchy lyrics that follow the beat so flawlessly. Being the highlight of the album, it also has that famous epic part in the middle of the track that sounds smooth and melodic as hell. One thing for sure, having such track on the album is fantastic, especially when there are already so much variety on the album, just to say the least.

Among all the songs on this album, one of them is an instrumental called "Lord of Thunder". I'm actually not a big fan of this track, even though the musicianship is brilliant, there's nothing memorable unfortunately, thus making me skipping that one ahead when I am listening to the record. However, it's only a small part of the album because when you get to listen to the self-titled track "Ecstasy and Danger", you get a blast of energy in the ears with its evil vibe on it. Other definitive highlights of this album are "Scream Out" and "Stormbringer", both features mid to fast-paced beats and melodic guitar parts. Like most of their songs, they also has catchy verses and choruses, special thanks to singer "Marc de Brauwer" for his amazing voice and performance on these ones too! When listening this album in the order of tracks, it actually end in a rather unexpected way with the ballad "Do It Right". It's a decent song whatsoever, but definitely not a highlight, unlike the "A Bitch Again", which is a killer speed metal one, to tell you the truth.

Well, to sums it up, it's a really good follow-up to "Full Moon's Eyes" to be quite honest, it just shows a natural progression in their sound and I would put this album pretty much at the same level of intensity. If you liked the first release, you will definitely like this one too, and I think rightfully so. At this point of their career in 1984, Ostrogoth had yet to release anything bad, and it won't happen any time soon as their next record is also awesome, even if it's far less known. I really recommend giving "Ecstasy and Danger" a few listens if you like 80s old school heavy metal or USPM, you might find something very valuable on it.

Favorite songs:

A Bitch Again
Queen of Desire
Scream Out
Stormbringer