Orden Ogan – “Ravenhead” (AFM Records)
After nearly cracking the German album charts with 2012’s “To The End”, Orden Ogan toured Europe with Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody and must have experienced an epiphany so profound that this breathtaking album is the result. Slowing things down a tad to appreciate the breathtaking compositions and awe inspiring musicianship has resulted in one of the best epic folk metal albums I’ve ever heard in a long time. From the rich, textured guitar work of Tobin Kersting to the genteel vocals of founder Seeb Levermann, Orden Ogan have found a new found love and respect from me for their deep folk melodies on grand compositions like ‘Here At The End Of The World’ (with guest vocals from Grave Digger’s Chris Boltendahl), ‘A Reason To Give’ and ‘Sorrow Is Your Tale’ (with guest vocals from HammerFall’s Joacim Cans) graced by plenty of singalong choruses and made all the more grander by epic choral harmonies touched by a hint of melancholy. Produced and mixed by Levermann, the effect is nothing short of majestic, almost conceptual in its atmosphere where even instrumentals like ‘In Grief And Chains’ convey the brilliance of their inner beauty. Despite past comparisons to Blind Guardian and Running Wild, “Ravenhead” sees the band elevated in their own light, rising to create a legacy of their own making which they rightly deserve through his fine, fine album.