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  POWERWOLF/ORDEN OGAN
Gebr De Nobel, Leiden, Holland
6th September 2015


Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


powerwolf

Other commitments forced me to arrive at the compact Gebr De Nobel in Leiden too late to catch opening act Xandria but I was in plenty of time to catch German symphonic power metallers Orden Ogan.

Many of the bands in the power metal and symphonic metal genres are very intense about what they do and take themselves very seriously but Orden Ogan look at things differently. They are still full of power, energy, razor sharp riffs and some highly memorable tunes but they never forget that music is meant to be fun and smiles and laughs abound on and off the stage throughout their set.

Forced to play in almost semi darkness by the headliner's curtain hiding the stage set and (accidentally I hope) all the stage lights they don't let that put them off their stride and singer and frontman Sebastian Leverman soon has the crowd punching the air and clapping along to power metal anthems with almost folk metal-like melodies such as 'F.E.V.E.R.' and 'We Are Pirates'. However a three band bill means a short set so it's not long before it's time for traditional set closer 'The Things We Believe In' and the cheerful crowd singalong line of "Cold, dead and gone" delivered well by an audience totally behind the band by this time.

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Orden Ogan have been around for nearly twenty years but tonight they showed that there is plenty of life in them and they really deserve exposure to a larger audience. The vocals aren't the strongest in the world but they have some really memorable songs and that sense of joy in what they do just cements what a good live band they are.

This venue was one of the smaller stops on Powerwolf's 'Wolfsnachte' tour but they managed to squeeze the full stage set into it anyway. When the curtain dropped and they powered into the title track of latest album 'Blessed And Possessed' we could see it was a full backdrop, ramps and all the works you'd expect from a Powerwolf show.

powerwolf

These German metallers surround their music with images and lyrics about werewolves, vampires and the dark side of religion. However despite taking the religion side into their image and calling their gigs metal masses and invoking their audiences to join them in preaching for heavy metal this is all tongue in cheek. This is a band who specialise in producing catchy metal anthems seemingly written with the stage in mind and the whole vibe is one of let's party together. The crowd are up for it and to be honest I don't think I've ever been at a gig where the crowd enthusiastically clapped along to so many songs.

The on stage presentation was pretty old school looking(echoes of Dio stage sets of the eighties came into my mind) but the line up the band use is pretty unconventional. Singer Attila Dorn is dressed like a priest and sings and performs like an old fashioned frontman and Charles and Matthew Greywolf on the guitars run around and do their bit to get the crowd involved as does drummer Roel van Helden from his perch on the tall riser.

powerwolf

Keyboard player Falk Maria Schlegel however does more than his bit and spends as much time out front exhorting the crowd to get involved as he does behind his two keyboards set up either side of the stage. So playing keyboards seems like a part time position but live they don't have anyone playing bass at all. Declining to add another member Charles Greywolf plays bass on the albums but live they just don't use one. I assumed drummer Roel van Helden triggered bass samples from his kit as I couldn't hear any real gap in the sound but it's certainly the first well known metal band I've ever seen to work like this.

The lack of a bass player was a curiosity to me but to the vast majority of the few hundred mostly pretty young metalheads in attendance it made no difference to their enjoyment whatsoever. They punched the air to 'Amen & Attack', they headbanged furiously to 'Army Of The Night', they chanted the band's name between almost every song and they even cheered and clapped along to that abomination that will not die, the drum solo.

powerwolf

To my ears there are many similarities in writing style with Sweden's Sabaton although the delivery is very different. Quality tunes will always shine through though and I thought the measured stomp and hooklines of 'Let There Be Night' was as fine a slice of melodic metal as you'll hear from a stage anywhere.

There is something a bit cartoonish about how Powerwolf put together a live show. They certainly look after the attention to detail as when the original backdrop fell to reveal a new one roadies changed the cover round the drum riser to match. However when you dig under the metal religion and werewolf imagery there is a band who write extremely catchy, melody friendly metal anthems with lyrics which are hopefully meant to be as fun as they sound. I certainly left the hall smiling with the chorus to final song 'All We Need Is Blood' running round and round in my head. It's a shame we don't get to see more metal masses in the UK.


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14.9.15











 


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