Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ogre-The Last Neanderthal

Minotauro Records

Portland, Maine's Ogre are no strangers to all of us here at Heavy Metal Time Time Machine. We've covered their classic debut album, 2003's "Dawn of the Proto-Man" (a real must-buy folks!), and even have an interview with these talented doom rock and rollers buried in our archives! Still, every new release from Ogre is like stepping out into the unknown and "The Last Neanderthal" is no exception! With Ed Cunningham on bass and vocals, Ross Markonishon guitars and synthesizers and Will Broadbent on drums and percussion Ogre waist no time in getting down to busy with instrumental opener "Shadow Earth". When Ed's vocals do kick in on "Nine Princes in Amber" I couldn't help but envision a truly warped (and yet less stoned and much-clearer headed) Ozzy Osbourne, but the track is more indebted to classic rock and seventies heavy metal then Black Sabbath could have ever imagined and even when confronted by the eight minute plus "Bad Trip" (in which Ed really sounds like Ozzy and the HEAVY doom really gets turned up to 11!) it's like Ogre are on an entirely different planet/realm of existence then any mortal power trio out there, past or present! And speaking of HEAVY (and for that matter FAR OUT!) it certainly seems as if a track like "Son of Sisyphus" is Ogre's way of saying "We can be just as HEAVY as FUCK as the next act out!". With Markonishon's guitar solos being among some of the best he's ever laid to tape and Will Broadbent keeping this power trio on task we get excellent numbers like "Warpath" and "The Hermit". Along the way this trio takes a stab at funk with a cover of  "Soulless Woman" by a different Ogre (this one a 70's bar band from the Pacific Northwest!) and even tips their collective hats at country with "White Plume Mountain"! Sporting an almost Neil Young meets Crosby Steels Nash and Young "White Plume Mountain" is the album's second instrumental number and it perfectly ushers in the epic closing number "The Hermit". At ELEVEN minutes in length "The Hermit" is just awesome and Ogre prove once again why they are such a well-respected doom metal/stoner rock band! With the album's many different elements (doom metal, stoner rock, seventies hard rock, classic rock, funk and even country!) "The Last Neanderthal" pushes the envelope as far as what a band like this is capable of achieving and yet it all sounds so remarkably normal and coherent (even on the obscure cover track) that it gels perfectly! So far this is one of the BEST doom release of 2014 and by the end of this year I can't imagine any albums beating it in that regard! This one is a must-own!

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