Orden Ogan unleash once more one of their concepts through melodic power metal, this time focusing their efforts on a tale of the end of days through a cataclysmic war between human and machine; Final Days. The German folk metal turned power metal outfit have steadily built a sound of their own, lending from the Blind Guardian-esque with hints of more dramatic flairs, like Powerwolf or even Alestorm in their folk-y moments. Final Days is their seventh full length, and it sees a couple of new names to the roster. Former bassist Niels Löffler is now current guitarist Niels Löffler, joined in the pursuit of the perfect riff by Patrick Sperling (Earacle) being as how front man Sebastian Levermann has decided put the guitar aside to focus on the vox and the keys, while Steven Wussow (ex- Xandria) has picked up the bass. The end result turns out to be… fairly predictable, as the guys haven’t really pulled any stunts different from any of their recent few albums.
There’s a slight stylistic change from the Americana-esque feel of Gunmen (2017) to a more technical setting, but the sound is every bit as much the same as Orden Ogan seems to have found their niche in the style. That niche being fairly middle of the road, playing it safe with power metal antics and anthemic blasts to set things off works well at times, of course. They pick up some serious momentum for the first half of the album, unraveling some badass anthems and mighty power metal; In the Dawn of the AI is a fierce, bombastic piece landing among the band’s finest moments, opening on intricate riffing and unleashing interesting vocal lines and a massive performance from front man Levermann. It all seems to stagnate sometime around Ylva Eriksson’s (Band of Brothers) guest spot in Alone in the Dark. She’s simply far too good to be wasted on a sluggish ballad with no heart or soul to it, and the album never is able to pick up where it left off after that. Eriksson’s guest performance is still great, just the song really isn’t; the next Come With Me to the Other Side it is not.
After that we’re stuck with a bunch of lackluster romps that try to emulate the firepower of the first half, but without a lot of success. Black Hole and semi title track Absolution for Our Final Days just plod on, and Hollow has a sweet solo section but little else going for it. Seriously disappointing to bigger fans must be the decision to release as singles every single great track (the first four) of the album before its release, leaving only the scraps and a few good moments for the full experience. This has been fairly consistent for Orden Ogan; pulling off a huge ass power metal anthem or three per album, while the rest of the material is lackluster (especially in comparison), derivative and just going along the same vein but without reaching the same heights. In all, Final Days is an enjoyable piece of power metal just like Orden Ogan keeps making them. The choruses are big and epic sounding, Levermann layering the vocals for the ultimate punch, especially during the first half. The second half drags too much, and makes the album feel ten minutes too long, though it clocks in at a modest 50 minutes; it’s time to end this review where Orden Ogan didn’t end their album; over and out.
Standout tracks: In the Dawn of the AI, Inferno, Let the Fire Rain