Orden Ogan is a most fine power metal band from Germany (where else?) that was formed by the musicians Sebastian Grütling and Sebastian Levermann in 1996 with the name Tanzende Aingewaide which then became Orden Ogan in 1997. Three demos followed but it was not until 2008 that the full debut album, Vale, was released and finally we had the real deal in front of us. What I have always liked about the band is that they are quick learners and are always improving and developing their sound and delivery. They are power metal for sure but the band has always had that spark of magic that marks them out and they also like to incorporate other elements onto their sound with a definite folk tinge in some of the earlier releases and a true progressive rock attitude to how their music grows and develops.
We now come to the latest and 7th album, Final Days, another themed album and one that will surely delight their ever growing army of supporters. Sebastian Grütling left the band in 2011 which left Sebastian Levermann as the sole remaining original member and there have been several amendments to the line-up with the latest version being Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann on lead vocals, guitar and keyboards (although a hard injury sustained in 2018 has meant that he has been mainly restricted to vocal duties); Niels Löffler former bassist but now on guitar, Dirk Meyer-Berhorn on drums and the two relative newcomers in Steven Wussow (ex-Xandria) who took over bass duties in 2019 and guitarist Patrick Sperling who joined the band last year. In truth, this is a band that is driven by Levermann and he ensures that the core ethic and sound of the band remains distinctly Orden Ogan. Probably the nearest band to them in terms of sound these days is Blind Guardian but they have very much developed their own sound, look and band identity in today’s ever increasing power metal market. They have all the trademarks required and a most bombastic delivery with huge drums and bass sweeping all before them yet they always maintain that perfect melodic blend that hints at symphonic metal too.
Orden Ogan also have a thing about concepts or themes with previous album Gunman having a truly wild, Wild West vibe with Final Days going all Sci-fi and apocalyptic and you only need to look at the song titles to get a flavour of where the album is going. Power metal and science fiction/fantasy just have to be two genres that were destined to come together in gloriously over the top concepts and we have seen enough of them over the years to see how well they work. The guitar work is fabulous and will have the massed hordes playing along on their collective air guitars with Seeb Levermann again being superb on vocals, a truly magnificent metal vocalist with a voice full of power and emotion. The album also features a couple of collaborations with the mercurial Gus G. adding to the mayhem on Interstellar with an exquisite solo. The track Alone In The Dark is a dark and brooding ballad made all the more intense by the addition of the beautiful voice of Ylva Eriksson from the Swedish metal band Brothers Of Metal and the addition of female vocals brings so much more out of the song. The album closes with It Is Over, a cheery little number about an asteroid strike on the Earth which plays out to the last radio broadcasts of mankind in various languages, I bet the dinosaurs would have loved this one but, at least, we all know that there is always Bruce Willis to save the day for mankind! Each track has that epic, Orden Ogan special approach with just so much effort and feeling put into every song. Not a note wasted or out of place, this is power metal of an extraordinarily high level played by a band in peak form.
The album was initially delayed due to the Covid pandemic but this seems to have imbued the band with an extra level of energy and determination to produce something very special and they have done that perfectly. This album will cement their already very impressive reputation and it is going to be something very special indeed when they get the chance to take these songs out on the road.
Final Days track list
- Heart Of The Android (4:31)
- In The Dawn Of The AI (6:06)
- Inferno (4:37)
- Let The Fire Rain (4:35)
- Interstellar (4:54)
- Alone In The Dark (4:40)
- Black Hole (4:32)
- Absolution For Our Final Days (4:28)
- Hollow (5:47)
- It Is Over (6:24)