Orden Ogan Share Their Dark Western Fantasy On ‘Gunmen’
30th June 2017, 08:00
Posted by Chris
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There are a million and one power metal bands from Germany out there, yet somehow Orden Ogan have managed to slam their flag into the top of the mountain that gets increasingly harder to climb. The band have continued to make an impression throughout continental Europe, and slowly the world. We spoke to the band about how they’ve managed to stand out in an over-saturated market, and how their upcoming album ‘Gunmen‘ stands against the rest.

I first listened to Orden Ogan on the release of their ‘Easton Hope‘ album. First impressions usually come from judging a book by it’s cover – it’s all too typical in the metal world. ‘Oh, another power metal band from Germany? Will they sound exactly like Helloween or Manowar this time?’. The band were an all too familiar German sound – well-produced, thundering rhythms with sing-along choruses, but something was different here, and it took me a while to put my finger on it.

After a few listens, it’s how Orden Ogan managed to translate their unique, fantasy oriented ideas into their music that made the band stand out. How they made visionary representation of everything that was going on in the track, almost a Weber-esque musical, but far more aggressive, and a truly tougher output than what one would be used to in power metal.

 

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Every album thereafter Orden Ogan have managed to produce something great musically and lyrically, making whatever stories they create in their head truly stand out on record. Not to mention providing a grandiose atmosphere for the live stage. Nothing much has changed in that respect on the upcoming album, ‘Gunmen‘. Having the opportunity to speak to guitarist / vocalist Seeb and drummer Dirk, I could get some answers on where exactly the band are coming from when developing their music, and how it has gotten such a wide reception. Of course that’s the first question I asked:

 

“For me Orden Ogan is not a typical power metal band. You could say it’s a power metal band, but with more heavy riffs…a more modern approach, and a new generation of power metal.

It was not necessarily the idea to have something entirely new however. We are doing what we do, because we love what we’re doing. It’s not like we’re forced to make music because we have to make music to earn a living or something like that.

When I started doing this, we made the music as the stuff that I would like to hear. At the time I didn’t think there was a band around that had the same sound – combining these really heavy riffs with this really melodic type stuff. You’ve got heavy bands, and you’ve got melodic bands, but none that do same thing that we do.”

 

If anything speaks volumes about the vision behind the band’s records, it’s the album art. Especially with ‘Easton Hope‘ and ‘Ravenhead‘, the intensity and use of colours really seem to paint a picture of what Orden Ogan are trying to accomplish with their music. I asked the band to explain if that really were the case, and to explain some of themes and motifs they use to try and develop their music.

 

“Well, we are reinventing ourselves each album. There’s always like a concept, I wouldn’t say a concept record…maybe a general topic. This time it’s our dark fantasy version of the wild west, with ‘Ravenhead’ it was a gloomy medieval atmosphere, and with ‘To The End’ it was like a post-apocalyptic ice world.”

 

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Every album portrays a unique theme as it seems, and of course the band have a new album coming up. Releasing a stunning new track in under the vise of the title ‘Gunman‘, but the video is what struck fans more than anything. It’s probably the first power metal band to add a western backdrop into their visuals. Have Orden Ogan turned into cowboy metal? Is it a concept album?

 

“We’ve never really seen cowboys in power metal before, or metal altogether. Especially ghost cowboys!

The idea came with the songwriting – Seeb had the idea for a long time, but we recognised after the first couple of songs that there was definitely a western feeling behind the music. We said that now was the time for the dark fantasy western! We had a lot of melodies that sounded a little western, stuff that sound like an Enno Morricone soundtrack from the western films.

It was not planned, it was dictated! It still sounds totally like Orden Ogan though – we’ve had people a little afraid thinking ‘Oh god what is this going to sound like, banjos or country music?’. There is actually a banjo in the ‘Forsaken’ song, but nobody realises, it’s very well hidden!”

 

And elaborating on the video, turns out the band flew all the way out to Monument Valley in Utah, USA to film the video for ‘Gunmen‘. A long way to go to fulfil a vision for a ‘dark fantasy western’. But in Orden Ogan’s eyes, it had to be done:

 

“This is the one and only really classic western location. A lot of great movies have been shot there. We we’re like, ‘OK, if we’re going to do a dark western fantasy style movie clip, we have to go there. The biggest part of that was shot there, the other part was filmed in an adventure park called ‘Fort Fun’ with an old saloon and western city.

Funny thing is if you ever went in there you would never believe that it is the same place as in the video. The lighting and film crew did a tremendous job.”

 

And asking the band if there was a story in the video, and if this actually reflected some sort of story for the entire ‘Gunmen‘ album…

 

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“It is not a concept story. The whole thing that binds ‘Gunmen’ is that all the stories in the music are in the same setting. There are a lot of lyrics that have metaphors and double meanings. The title track, ‘Gunmen’, doesn’t have that. It’s more or less our homage to the whole western genre, and the video is a story of a guy who takes justice into his own hands and goes out for revenge.”

 

As with all Orden Ogan albums of past, a lot of time, effort and passion have been poured into this vision. Each album has stood on it’s own, but as the band have been increasingly popular, perhaps pressure is on to make a surpassing album, whatever that may be. I ask if ‘Gunmen‘ is perhaps the band’s greatest accomplishment yet…

 

“No. Let’s put it like this, I think we are at some sort of a turning point in our career. When the ‘Ravenhead’ record was released, we supported Hammerfall on their European tour, we supported Powerwolf, basically we seemed to make an impression through the whole continent – now people really know who we are. That was basically the moment where we thought that headlining would work really well. I hope this album makes the next step”

 

A touch of modesty from a band that would always put 100% into their records, and would possibly never be able to define their best. What is notciable though, Orden Ogan are getting bigger, and the huge sound that ‘Gunmen‘ presents, that is certainly not going to slow down. I saw them perform at last years Wacken Open Air, and they were immense. The German power metal starlets can certainly put out a good record and can even more surely put on a great live show, with band and fans sharing a vision that the music has created. It’s even more present with ‘Gunmen‘ and it’s every more reason to love Orden Ogan.

‘Gunmen’ is available July 7th via AFM Records – order it here!