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Orden Ogan – Gunmen

Orden Ogan
by Harry Green at 12 June 2017, 7:41 AM

ORDEN OGAN, a group of folk/power metallers from Arnsberg, Germany and formed in 1996, remain on the cusp of true greatness. They’ve released four full-length albums, beginning with “Vale” in 2008. Their second release, “Easton Hope” in 2010, was perhaps their most consistent album to date, with their subsequent efforts “To The End” in 2012 and “Ravenhead” in 2015 containing glimpses of the incredible. The band have folky melody, infectious choruses, driving rhythm, progressive-level riffing ability and a talent for composition, all of which mark them as fully capable of producing a modern power metal classic like Dynazty’s “Renatus”, Noble Beast’s self-titled or even “The Modern Age” from DarkTribe. Their new album, “Gunmen”, out on July 7th, is the closest they’ve yet come and further proof that it’s within their reach.

The album is about the Old West. So far, so good. As a New Mexico native your reviewer was excited by the notion of cowboy power metal. Suitably, ORDEN OGAN have taken substantial inspiration from legendary spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone for this album. The title track “Gunman” is a microcosm of the band’s approach as a whole. Its main riff is an inspired melodic power metal interpretation of a spaghetti Western theme that serves as a superb proof of concept. It does get worn out a little at the beginning of the song, but is otherwise well-placed. The song follows a pretty traditional structure, but the group’s input for the variables is solid in each case. The chorus and verse sections are melodic, with the band’s trademark gritty multilayered vocals driving the latter. The song achieves all it sets out to do – most importantly to demonstrate how well the spaghetti Western melodic sensibility integrates with ORDEN OGAN ‘s folk-influenced power metal.

The next few tracks show that they integrate quite well. “Fields of Sorrow” has a riff in the middle reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. “Forlorn and Forsaken”, has a banjo melody over the main riffs a little past halfway. The renowned ‘galloping’ power metal riff is brought to the fore in “Vampire in Ghost Town” wherein the leading riff is another Western-style melody. “Face of Silence” has several good melodies and a wonderfully triumphant chorus that calls to mind the archetypal posse riding into town, or a horse chasing down a train. The 75% mark is usually where an album runs out of steam, which proves to be the case here. The next three tracks are the weakest on the album. They don’t integrate well since they’re not particularly Western, and in the case of the latter two also not particularly memorable.

The ending track “Finis Coronat Opus” sees a return to the album’s formula, delivering a blistering Old West riff that flows into a bouncy, lilting bass and guitar permutation and gives rise to a chorus that’s grand even by the standard of this album. The creation and repetition of an alternate chorus from 5:30 until the end of the track seems strange and unnecessary but is largely inoffensive. This isn’t just the best track on the album, it’s also one of the best songs the band have ever created and proves how incredible the group can be when they’re hurling themselves into a tune.

The first few tracks demonstrate that ORDEN OGAN were up to the task of delivering on the album’s potential. The choruses on the album are largely pretty solid, if too similar in some of the weaker iterations, and the standouts are excellent. The band could have tightened the album into a shorter outing, worked the rhythm guitar a little harder and added a couple more prominent Western stylings and easily made a solid 9/10. Regardless, “Gunmen” is the group’s tightest album and possibly their best. Power metal could use a fresh motif, and here ORDEN OGAN have enthusiastically furnished us with such.

Songwriting: 7.5
Originality: 8
Production: 8
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Gunman
2. Field of Sorrow
3. Forlorn and Forsaken
4. Vampire in Ghost Town
5. Come With Me To The Other Side (Feat. Liv. Kristine)
6. The Face of Silence
7. Ashen Rain
8. Down Here (Wanted: Dead or Alive)
9. One Last Chance
10. Finis Coronat Opus
Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann – vocals, guitars
Tobin Kersting – guitars
Niels Löffler – bass
Dirk Mever-Berhorn - drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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Edited 02 June 2020

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