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Artist: Orden Ogan
Title: Vale
Genre: Folk Power Metal
Release Date: 12th November 2010
Label: AFM Records

Album Review

Those who know of ORDEN OGAN are probably no strangers to ‘Vale,’ which was originally released in 2008. However, the band decided to re-release the album with a few extra special features to make it worthwhile to pick up. For those who are new to the band, ORDEN performs a mix of folk and power metal, which is a fresh of breath air for those who think power metal is all about high pitched vocals and extreme guitar solos or keyboard solos. Think of ORDEN as a combination of ELUVEITIE and ELVENKING, bridging the gap between folk, melodic death, and power metal. The good news about ‘Vale’ is that it varies in sound. Some tracks are heavy and thick like ‘A Friend Of Mine’ with its thick, hard rock chug- raw and powerful. There are more modern sounding tracks like the electronic fused ‘To New Shores Of Sadness’ that is fused with the melodic death metal sound of a band like DUSKFALL. The vocals are about the only thing in the power metal vein while the rest of the track is full of atmospheric keyboard and melodic strums. Atmosphere is the key to ‘Vale’. While many other power metal bands try to go for the clearest sound possible, ORDEN use the keyboards and guitars to create a thick, almost dreamy atmosphere, especially during the choruses so it echoes the vocals more to make it sound more ethereal, but not so dissonant that its overshadows the other vocals.

The soft tracks are also a joy to hear for ‘Vale’ and thankfully scattered throughout the album. Some are just instrumentals like ‘Graves Bay’ and ‘This Was’ that uses a primarily acoustic sound. Then there are tracks like ‘What I’m Recalling’ which has a great piano sound to the keyboards and accompanies the soft vocals perfectly, or ‘The Candle Lights’ which showcases a great instrumental use of the keyboards - which sound almost depressing in their funeral tone - while the acoustic guitars bring in the hope. It isn’t too folk-ish like overusing bagpipes or making the keyboards sound like bagpipes either. As far as the bonus material goes, there are a few new tracks like ‘The Yearning Remains’ which is a great soft acoustic track, though the vocals feel a bit faded. A few tracks from ORDEN’S latest album are on there too, just different versions. ‘We Are Pirates’ is converted into a folk version that features some extremely uppity guitar melodies and really puts some more energy into the song; plus the vocals have been given a raw edge to mirror the title. The only real letdown would be the demo version of ‘Winds Of Vale’ simply because it sounds no different from the original save for being a little faded.

Ultimately, fans who already own ‘Vale’ probably won’t want to get the reissued version unless they are a die hard for unreleased tracks. New fans, however, should get this right up. ORDEN’s latest album, ‘Easton Hope’, sadly doesn’t measure up to this as it is more of the generic folk power metal and lacks all the variety and mixture of styles; the melodic death guitars are almost completely gone. ‘Vale’ is the perfect place to start for anyone looking for some enjoyable folk metal that sounds more avant-garde than just straightforward, typical stuff.


01. Graves Bay 1:16
02. To New Shores of Sadness 6:35
03. Winds of Vale 3:24
04. Farewell 3:51
05. Reality Lost 6:52
06. This Is 3:09
07. This Was 00:27
08. Something Pretending 5:53
09. Lord of the Flies 4:01
10. ...And if You Do Right 4:04
11. What I'm Recalling 3:56
12. A Friend of Mine 3:41
13. Candle Lights 5:13
14. We Are Pirates (folk version) 4:21
15. Winds Of Vale (demo version) 3:32
16. Welcome Liberty (orchestral version) 5:41
17. The Yearning Remains 8:59


Sebastian "Seeb" Levermann - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Tobias "Tobi" Kersting - Guitar
Nils Weise - Keyboards, Vocals
Lars Schneider - Bass, Vocals
Sebastian "Ghnu" Grütling - Drums, Percussion
Verena "Jinx" Melchert - Flute, Tin whistle, Vocals


Cover Picture


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10


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