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‘To The End’ is the ‘delayed’ third album from German Power/Folk Metal band Orden Ogan (fourth if you count their 2004 self-released ‘Testimonium A.D.’) but the first time I have had a chance to experience their music properly and I’m pretty damn impressed with what I’m hearing. What hits you first, apart from the slightly unnecessary intro track ‘The Frozen Few’, is the clarity of the production which has been dealt with by vocalist & guitarist Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann. Joined by Tobin Kersting (Guitars), Niels Loffler (Bass) & Dirk Mever-Berhorn (Drums) all the instruments are beautifully balanced and this adds tremendously to the overall feel of the album. Secondly, the choruses of the songs immediately stand out, being extremely catchy and full of vibrancy and bounce. Thirdly, whilst everyone plays their instruments expertly, the guitar solos really are superb. It is, however, only when you’ve played the album a few times that the songs really start to bury themselves inside your skull, even the album’s least accessible track on first listen ‘The World Of Ice’ is now lodged firmly in the ‘play again’ section of my head, and I love it when that happens because you are discovering something new with each listen.

In the interests of fairness I went back and listened to some of the band’s older material and, whilst very good, it struck me that they have actually progressed by becoming ‘less progressive’! ‘To The End’ seems slightly more straightforward in composition and style and I think that works in the band’s favour. There is also diversity in song tempo with a good mixture of slow, medium and faster tracks and the running order of the album also seems to have been worked out with a lot of thought. Album artwork is also very nicely handled by Andreas Marschall (Blind Guardian, Running Wild). This is the third time he has worked with Orden Ogan and his style perfectly matches their music.

As for influences, the folk elements and some of the choruses bring to mind more recent material by Turisas (without the growled vocals) and there is also a good dose of Sonata Arctica, Freedom Call and Running Wild but Orden Ogan certainly have their own sound mapped out nicely. Unfortunately my review copy is only the standard version of the album (I know, I expect too much!) but I do notice that the digipak version will contain a bonus DVD of their gig at Wacken 2010 and that there is also a Limited Special Edition housed in a wooden box that comes with not only the album & DVD but scarf, comic, autograph card and, wait for it, SNOWGLOBE! They will also be touring as support to Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody on their upcoming European Tour, so I suggest getting there early to check this lot out. This is an album that could certainly appeal to not only fans of Power, Folk & Progressive metal but also to Traditional Heavy Metal and I’ll stick my neck out and say Melodic Metal as well. Do not be put off by the exterior of icy, cold artwork and song titles. Head inside and you will discover a roaring fire waiting to embrace you.
AFM Records
Review by Rick Tilley
26th Oct 2012
1) The Frozen Few
2) To the End
3) The Things We Believe In
4) Land of the Dead
5) The Ice Kings
6) Till the Stars Cry Out
7) This World of Ice
8) Dying Paradise
9) Mystic Symphony
10) Angels War
11) Take This Light
"Do not be put off by the exterior of icy, cold artwork and song titles. Head inside and you will discover a roaring fire waiting to embrace you."