Released: 2017, AFM Records
I put Orden Ogan in the top 10% of active power metal bands, right up there with hallowed names like Falconer and Evergrey. GUNMEN is album #5 for the band, set in a wild-west themed fantasy world. The expected consistency is evident across all ten tracks, and for the first time contains no ballads. For the third album in a row, the lineup remains unchanged, resulting in obvious comfort and chemistry within the compositions.
Album opener “Gunman” sets the tone with its symphonic keyboards, chugging guitars and melodic riffs that arrive at a memorable chorus. “Fields Of Sorrow” follows as the signature track of the album, a power/progressive tour de force with a verse that equals or maybe even exceeds the epic chorus. GUNMEN contains an abundance of note dense riffs tempered with passages of heavy chugging that are carried by Levermann’s appropriate and not overblown vocals. “Come With Me To The Other Side” deceptively starts as a ballad, but quickly transitions towards one of the faster and more aggressive riffs on the album. The song also features guest vocals from the prolific Liv Kristine.
Metal-Rules considers a perfect album to be 5 stars, and if an album is not 5 stars then it has some issues. GUNMEN is no exception. The running time extends well over an hour, but the extra time seems to be mostly a result of more repetitions of the choruses. Sure, this probably works great during festival season, but it seems an artificial way to needlessly extend an album’s length. Another minor quibble is that by the last two tracks, it is starting to all blend together. In other words, GUNMEN is best appreciated by listening to one half of the album and then the other half later. It just does not lend itself well to full consumption in one sitting.
Still, with riffs and a production this potent, the minor warts of GUNMEN are barely perceptible. The band has clearly found its style, and the tweaking is now minor and more about refining. GUNMEN has proven that Orden Ogan reside near the pinnacle of the subgenre, while demonstrating that power metal can indeed be powerful in the hands of proper practitioners.