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Ogre : Seven Hells

'Seven Hells', the fantastic follow-up to this Portland, Maine power trio's 2003 debut 'Dawn of the Proto-Man', has been garnering heaps of praise all over the net from reviewers and music aficionados alike. And for once everyone's right: This is a masterpiece!

When is Maryland-style old school doom NOT Maryland-style old school doom? When it's from Maine. Otherwise, OGRE shares a lot with Pentagram, Bedemon and their evil children: a love of riffs, a love of 'Sabbath, and a love of classic heavy tuneage from the (early) 70s. With 'Seven Hells' the group has taken their highly successful version of this blend and kicked it up, say, about 10 levels. Part of the success of this disc is that it has much better production than 'Dawn...' in attaining that 70s vibe without getting too anal about it. It's a nice balance between respect and slavish imitation. But the lion's share of OGRE's achievement comes from two things that cannot be faked: outstanding playing and fantastic songwriting. Both are first rate, in a way only hinted at on their first disc. Each song is a gem. 'Dogman (Of Planet Earth)' begins the disc with a shot of late 60s/early70s metal evoking the greats like Jethro Tull, Blue Cheer, 'Hendrix, and Zep. It's killer classic 70s riffage with some wicked wah. But OGRE uses the talent of the past as a launching pad only, nothing more. 'Soldier of Misfortune' is heavy, with lots of Pentagram, cowbell, and a groovy Robin Trower/Band of Gypsies feel. The lyrics, sung with passion and fire, are a thoughtful take on the issue of war, coming down against it while acknowledging the achievements of those who fought in the past. That's another thing about this record that places it a cut above: the storytelling lyrics. They rank with the best. 'Review Your Choices' is an excellent salute to one of OGRE's prime influences, Bobby Liebling and Pentagram. The vocals are a bit too over-the-top here, but otherwise the song is done with love and respect. 'Sperm Whale' boasts some fine drum fills that call Bill Ward to mind; in fact believe it or not the second half of the song boasts a good-old-fashioned drum solo. 'Flesh Feast' is nautical doom (is that a sub-genre?) with lyrics detailing a vividly horrifying tale of cannibalism and damnation. The drawn-out, Melvins-like "when is it REALLY going to end?" song finale may put you off, but it also mirrors the narrator's anxiety-filled mental state.

'Seven Hells' is heavy, tone-licious, and respectful of the past while creating its own musical vision. It effortlessly calls to mind hard rock and doom-out masters past and present such as Pale Divine, Cactus, Blue Cheer, Budgie, Pentagram, and Cathedral. It's all executed with prime songwriting and musical chops that go waaaaaayyyyy beyond the average. And you just know they smoke live, even if you've never been lucky enough to hear 'em. One of 2006's best. Recommended!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Dogmen (Of Planet Earth)
2. Soldier of Misfortune
3. The Gas
4. Woman on Fire
5. Review your Choices
6. Sperm Whale
7. Flesh Feast

Duration : Approx. 56 min.

Visit the Ogre bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
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