Orden Ogan – “Gunmen” (AFM Records)
Power metal legends in their native Germany, yet probably little known elsewhere, Orden Ogan might be striking out on this 5th studio album with a western themed concept that saw them even fly to Monument Valley in the USA to film one of their videos! That said, don’t be expecting any geetars, stetsons or spurs in the material, although there’s certainly plenty of fire in this release!! Whatever the inspiration behind the album – try Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns – this has to be Orden Ogan’s most thunderous while equally melodic release to date. But even more astounding has to be the sheer energy driving each one of the superb 10 tracks here – including one with renowned Leaves’ Eyes /Theatre Of Tragedy vocalist Liv Kristine. Songs like ‘Fields Of Sorrow‘ with its addictive futuristic riff, ‘Vampire In Ghost Town‘ with its dark, vigilante theme and the rich, symphonic bliss of ‘Finis Coronat Opus‘ are simply glorious, reveling in melodic folk majesty, heavenly vocal harmonies and yet driven at speed by chugging guitars and powering double bass drumming beats – unreal! A monster touring band on the Continent, the song arrangements, mammoth hooks and super catchy choruses are built to elicit huge crowd responses especially at big open air festivals and just listening to his in my humble home I was already freaking out to the energy of the songs even without 100,000 people standing around me ha ha! After the 4 disc package overload of “The Book Of Ogan”, “Gunmen” gets the band back to no messin’ metal and notwithstanding the dodgy concept experiment here, this album is a ripper from start to finish that excels in Germanic power metal energy and groove!