Released: 2015, AFM Records
With the release of VALE in 2008, Orden Ogan has climbed near the top of the power metal heap in just six years. That is my opinion anyway, as the band has not yet seen the massive appeal of say Sabaton, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian or Hammerfall. They deserve it though, and RAVENHEAD is the fourth consistent and high quality release from the German band. Perhaps most noticeably, RAVENHEAD is unquestionably power metal, but the band does not sound exactly like anyone else, further propelling Orden Ogan to something more than just traditional power metal.
Band leader Seeb Levermann continues to lead the way, writing most of the music and quite capably producing and mixing RAVENHEAD. Seeb notes in a promotional statement that the band was more heavily involved in the songwriting process than on previous albums, and that added variety is present on the new album. Not afraid to show muscle or heaviness, songs like “Deaf Among The Blind” offer a snapshot of the album; heavy intros and verses transitioning to epic and melodic choruses. This is the template for RAVENHEAD, and one that is nearly devoid of missteps. Ballads are not always a highlight, but “A Reason To Give” is certainly one, and demonstrates why the band has often been called the logical successor to Blind Guardian.
As if the top notch musicianship and riffs were not enough, there are a few notable guest appearances as well. Joacim Cans of Hammerfall lends vocals to “Sorrow Is Your Tale”, while the ageless Chris Boltendahl helps make “At The End Of The World” the heaviest tune of the album. Some momentum is lost on the two closing, mostly instrumental tracks, while the old crone horror narration intro (40 frigging seconds of her annoying jingle) for “Evil Lies In Every Man” seems like a misplaced gimmick, as the tune is hardly sinister. Minor gripes aside, RAVENHEAD does not disappoint, Orden Ogan having enough aggression and keyboards to appeal to a fairly wide range of fans. Fans of the band and lovers of high grade power metal will definitely approve of this new release.