Power Metal and the Wild West. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m in two minds about this one.
Orden Ogan have been around for two decades and are veterans in their field. So why not try something new and go with a Wild West theme? While the promo shots of the band dressed as bandits and desperadoes look the part and the lyrics are well written, the overall sound of the band doesn’t really fit the image. Obviously this is totally subjective, but it doesn’t work for me.
Some of the songs are great and will have a long stay in my everyday playlist, but this album has fallen into the ‘these songs all sound too similar’ trap and the album becomes a solid wall of sound which stopped me from appreciating the nuances of each individual track.
It put me off the album all together after a few listens. I kept at it though, and there were rewards as the album grew on me once more. Tobias Kersting and Niels Löffler do some incredible fretwork and drummer Dirk Meyer-Berhorn does a stellar job throughout.
The album opens with Gunman. I’m not a fan of a synthetic sounding orchestras. The song is catchy and memorable though, the guitars are fast and powerful.
However, this track suffers from the issue I have with the whole album: Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann’s vocals are constantly getting lost in the mix, which is a terrible shame as they are quite good. The chorus paradoxically sounds powerful but really weak at the same time. It’s lacking depth even though it’s really complex.
Fields Of Sorrow starts off perfectly. A good crowd participation song. Again though, the chorus sounds flat. It’s missing something. Like the vocals are too faded away, or someone turned down the vocal audio channel. This song is one of my favourites, sans chorus.
Forlorn And Forsaken – I like this song because I can finally hear the vocals. I’m hearing shade s of Mob Rules and I’m liking it.
Vampire In Ghost Town has a rather corny title, but it’s actually quite a good song.
Come With Me To The Other Side (feat. Liv Kristine) – Ballad time. Luckily it’s a powerful one. Lots of galloping guitars and double kicks. This one is one of the best of the album.
The Face Of Silence starts strong, but ultimately loses itself in monotony.
Ashen Rain features some great guitar work, but the opening line “We missed the moment” sums up the song as a whole.
With a more grandiose opening than the title track, Down Here (Wanted: Dead Or Alive) seems to be more washed out chorus than song. Which is disappointing.
One Last Chance – this one was just noise for me.
Finis Coronat Opus – I’m not sure the End Crowns the Work as this one is long and well…. Dull. Especially the soppy ballad ending. But Levermann is loud and clear on this track. So points for that.
Would I buy a patch? Not on the merits of this album. While quite good in places, it literally falls flat sonically with consistently one dimensional choruses that really betray the rest of the songs and the talents of the band. I know they can do better and I don’t know why they settled for less. Having said that, there are some really good songs on here. Just don’t try to listen to the whole thing in one sitting.
Gunmen is out now on AFM Records