Orden Ogan

Easton Hope

Written by: PK on 20/01/2010 15:44:15

Now I don't quite know who came up with the title of Orden Ogan's latest release "Easton Hope", but it has certainly puzzled me. Phonetically it sounds fine, but it is only when you see it written down that you realise it is spelt like the 1980s pop singer Sheena as opposed to the point opposite to west. It means something to the band I am sure. Record title aside, "Easton Hope" is the third album from German melodic/power metal outfit Orden Ogan. Their previous album "Vale" was widely praised by the European music press, so the new release certainly had high standards to live up to.

The instrumental album opener "Rise and Ruin" seems to have been an attempt to create some sort of atmospheric introduction and an air of anticipation for what is to come. The orchestral arrangement could almost have been lifted straight from a certain silverscreen swashbuckling adventure and did have me double checking that I was listening to Orden Ogan and not the "Pirates of the Caribbean" soundtrack. However, the song that follows it, "Nobody leaves" is such a musical contrast to the opener that you do wonder slightly what the point of the first track was. I always thought that the point of an instrumental opening was that it leads perfectly into the second track...certainly not the case here anyway. Like several of the tracks on the album, "Nobody Leaves" is guilty of being a little too lengthy, and as such, parts of it are a little tedious and struggle to hold the attention of the listener. Six of the eleven tracks come in at six minutes or longer, which can be seen as either a little excessive, or just good value for money depending on your take on it...by the end of the album I was leaning more towards excessive. It has to be said though that very few bands are capable of writing albums comprised mainly of songs this long, so it was a bold move by Orden Ogan.

One of the songs that does hold the attention despite being the longest one on the album is the closing track, "Of Downfall and Decline", a song which sits more in the progressive metal camp. The introduction of the song, with its staccato palm muted guitar and drumming accompanied by a choral backing of "aahs" has Symphony X written all over it (which could explain why it held the attention, seeing as they are a band that can write fantastic long songs when they want to). "Goodbye" is more of a straightforward power metal number, and probably sees Orden Ogan at their best. The song serves up a memorable chorus, one of the staple ingredients of a good power metal track, and at just over four minutes long is positively short compared to many of the tracks on offer here, and it is all the better for it. "We Are Pirates" is a song likely to divide opinion, and the title says all you need to know about the track. The opening melody is so catchy and really does make you feel like you are sailing the high seas in search of buried treasure (or maybe that was just me) with its "dum dada dum dada dum" rhythm. The song also contains some superb guitar solos and harmony guitars...and an accordian.

"Easton Hope" is a very competent and likeable album, and is certainly worth a listen. Songs do have a tendency to go on a bit and things do get a bit muddled at times, but Orden Ogan certainly have the potential to become a very good band within their genre. Oh, and if people have any ideas on the slightly odd album title...answers on a postcard please.

Download: Goodbye, Easton Hope, We Are Pirates, Of Downfall and Decline
For The Fans Of: Blind Guardian, Kamelot, Helloween
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 22.01.2010
AFM Records

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