You’d have Ogre.
The Doom/Stoner group from Portland, ME’s fourth full length release,“The Last Neanderthal” boasts power and thunder with plenty of balls. Between the vocals and guitars, the band sends you through a time warp into the age of early heavy metal.
Piano keys, strange fuzz and possibly a raven’s crow intro called “Shadow Earth” set the album’s mood, beginning with the overdriven galloping horse “Nine Princes in Amber.” A nice moderate amount of riffing gets one going and takes the imagination on a journey that screams the old “Heavy Metal” comics. The chorus is fun while the wah-wahing solo is a nice touch.
Then the doom settles in on “Bad Trip,” which is arguably the most appropriate title Ogre could have chosen. Lyrically, it isn’t great and eight minutes seems like a stretch on paper, but the fuzzy guitars and the vocal intensity make it work. “Bad Trip” in fact sounds like a bad trip. The tempo changes at the right moments and slows down when you want it to. Fans of the genre will headbang in approval.
“Son of Sisyphus” is a highlight of the album. This straightforward doom blues song is arguably the strongest track on the album as well as the simplest. This is what people think of when they think of doom in any capacity. It sounds like a world coming down and it’s terrifying.
“Soulless Woman” has to be the most interesting song Ogre has to offer. Not only is it a cover, it’s a cover of a 70s band that is also named Ogre.
M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t write a twist like that if he tried.
“Warpath” brings back the groove of the first few tracks. It’s a great fist banging anthem reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “Into the Void” with some great hooks and pounding drums.
“White Plume Mountain” is an interesting instrumental featuring a nice arrangement of banjo, drums and string ambiance that sounds almost like a sitar, but it’s not clear enough to know for sure. Whatever it is, it’s trippy and it sets up the albums final track, “The Hermit.” “The Hermit” is a slow, droning send-off that lasts almost eleven minutes. There’s a mystique about it that keeps your ears listening and your finger off that skip button. Once that four minute mark hits, you’re in for a nice, doomy treat.
Ogre is a band that sounds very organic. The best assets the band has are its guitars and vocals (especially the vocals). Ogre also boasts a rhythm section that keeps great time. “The Last Neanderthal” captures the raw feeling of a band recording a weekly practice. It doesn’t sound over-produced, like most albums of today. The overall sound is so unique one could bet money on Ogre spending a little more to have recorded in analog. The mastering touches are a big plus. Whoever engineered this gets a boiling cauldron of whatever they want- because it doesn’t sound like 2014 at all.
Ogre’s “The Last Neanderthal” takes us all the way back to 1978- that, is, awesome.