Orden Ogan has made an extremely enjoyable power metal record with Gunmen. Like fellow power metal acts Unleash The Archers and Witherfall earlier this year, the band manages to make their respect for the genre’s past clear while still finding new sounds to play with. Originally a small-time act in the folk metal boom of the mid-2000s, Sebastian Levermann, the mastermind and frontman of the group, has worked to make the act one of the most unique and fresh voices in the current power metal scene. There’s so much to talk about here not least of which is Levermann’s talent for writing choruses with lots of huge choirs. Just listen to the opening title track.
Crafting a great power metal album is a difficult thing. The genre is so steeped in thrills and adrenaline, it can be easy to create something too over-the-top and annoying. Writing the catchiest chorus, playing the fastest solo, and singing the highest notes aren’t going to mean anything if the music doesn’t have depth and meaning. Great power metal albums like Nightfall in Middle Earth, Land of the Free, The Metal Opera, and, more recently, Noble Beast employ subtly when necessary. They have memorable choruses and great riffs but also moments of real emotion. While less serious bands like Primal Fear, Dragonforce, and Sabaton have their proper place and legitimate enjoyment factor, they will never be remembered in the same way.
This week we have a super exciting guest! I'd try to slowroll it, but obviously from the episode title you can guess that it's Herman Li of Dragonforce. We discuss a variety of topics, including the upcoming Dragonforce album Reaching Into Infinity, success, haters, creativity, Babymetal, video games and more. Herman was a great guest! Also Eden and I discuss some news after the interview. Chuck Berry's passing and the way the coverage has handled his problematic legacy, a bunch of new music, and Earth's Hibernaculum and Machine Head's The Blackening turning 10 years old. The new music includes Somnium Vox, Bloodshot Dawn, Entheos (not that one), Witherfall, Northlane, Emmure, Gorod, Enslaved, Solstafir, Beyond Creation (kind of). We also continue last week's discussion on how the mentality focusing on new music sometimes makes us overlook albums, in this case Metallica's latest. In our cool people section we discuss Netflix's Marvel's Iron Fist and Better off Ted.
Witherfall may be the savior power metal has been looking for. The quartet (although currently a trio, due to the tragic death of drummer, Adam Sagan) plays technical and thrilling progressive power metal that is matched in quality only by a handful of veterans in the business. These guys do not sound like a new band and there’s good reason for that. All the members, except the bassist, have long resumes with power metal heavyweights like Iced Earth, White Wizard, Circle II Circle and Into Eternity. Even considering their extensive experience, their debut album, Nocturnes and Requiems, still passes expectations.