Ogre – The Last Neanderthal

ogre

Rating

I actually saw one of the last shows Ogre played before they originally broke up, at Rochester’s Born II Late doomfest in ’09. Didn’t know much about the band beforehand, but their performance was so impressive that they stopped the show for a one-hour intermission afterwards. Their then-swansong, Plague of the Planet, quickly became one of my favourite records released that year… so suffice to say, I’m pretty stoked for this comeback effort.

After a brief intro, the countdown to extinction gets underway with “Nine Pieces in Amber,” an up-tempo, 70s style stomp, albeit with a nod to modern-day groovemeisters such as Roadsaw and Lo-Pan. Yuuup, this is still the band that kicked out “Colossus” and other such chestnuts. I dig it!

“Bad Trip” slows things down for 8+ minutes of creepy, crawling trad doom, bringing the likes of Blood Farmers to mind. Frontman Ed Cunningham still sounds like Ozzy with a severe head cold, but it suits the music perfectly. Hell, this one wouldn’t sound outta place on Plague of the Planet — ditto “Son of Sisyphus,” its successor. The band then pokes fun at its less-than-original moniker, covering a tune called “Soulless Woman” from another band called Ogre from the 70s. Can’t say I’ve heard the original, but their version’s pretty decent.

The album culminates in 11-minute epic “The Hermit,” which starts off slow and melodic, meandering along like a Sabbathian power ballad (no, not “Changes”), before taking a turn down a darker path with some looming, ominous stop-start riffs. About halfway through, it drops down to a whisper, a lone guitar ringing out beneath longing vocal lines, then explodes into an emotive guitar solo. Not as doomy as the rest of ’em, but this is one ballad that doesn’t suck!

(Minotauro Records)

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

8.0 Rating