Release Date: 27 th July, 2018
Format reviewed: CD
Oh wow! What the bloody hell’s going on here then? Freshness. Uniqueness. Boldness. An outlier! Call it what you like, but this is anything but your typical run of the mill, bog standard, meat and potatoes, vanilla-like metal. In fact, that last sentence is awash with deliberate review clichés in an attempt to convince you that what we’ve got going on here is totally the opposite!
Out of Athens, Greece, OH! is Olivia Hadjiiannou – a one woman multi-instrumentalist songwriter and musician that is responsible for everything you see and hear on this, her third release ‘Metallia’. Now, ‘Metallia’ may only be a 6 track affair affecting 25 minutes of your precious time, but such is its depth and intricacy it feels like it has around 80 minutes of ideas threaded throughout its length.
Trying to provide the reader with some sort of idea of where this album sits musically is fraught with danger. The danger of leaving something out. But for the purposes of leading you down the right path, if anything that resembles multi-layered eclectic prog-metal remotely floats your boat, then ‘Metallia’ sits somewhere IN that ball park. But also OUTSIDE it! Yes, without question, at its core ‘Metallia’ is instrumental progressive metal laced with Olivia’s distinctive choral chants and emotive vocal wailings but I’ll be damned if that’s not also selling it a little short.
The One-Person led musical endeavor is extremely trendy at this moment in time, with varying degrees of success. Some howl at the lack of ‘band spirit’ or ‘live to tape’ feel that some of these acts convey, but in this case, it is blatantly clear that Olivia is keen to dispel any suspicion that her work suffers from the same malaise. Together with a visually stunning CD presentation, and well-constructed video promotion, Olivia displays her adept musical skills across all instrumental
modalities – guitar shred, bass lines, percussive rhythms through to Violin, Keyboards, Bongo’s and Toumperleki. Again, all of this has been seamlessly constructed to form a musical entity that sounds frightfully intriguing and quite literally, like nothing else. That being the case, it won’t be up everyone’s alley!
Then there is OH’s thematic angle. According to Olivia, ‘Metallia’ is a “Six-part ‘Spiritual Journey’ to extract from your mind pure visions, to mend your mental pictures, preen presumptions and to elicit an element of the unexpected because that is what will transmute your subliminal mind map into a remarkable blueprint which will lead you from wherever you are now, to wherever you want to be. Yep, this is channelling some deep internal reflection – The CD booklet and packaging ties up this whole ‘awakening to rediscovery/reinvention’ theme ever so nicely and for those who wish to delve into the themes explored here, Olivia conducts some further illumination of the concepts over at her webpage.
I suppose to truly experience the full impact of ‘Metallia’ as intended, there needs some acceptance to expand your mind and effusively absorbing the energy conveyed here – musically, lyrically and spiritually. Yet, if this isn’t the path you follow, then it is still safe to conclude that the former (musically) will be more than enough to convince you that OH has something special going on here.
There is a subtle beauty about ‘Metallia’ – yes it rages hard in places, yet is quite virtuous and angelic in other moments that showcases Olivia’s broad musical palette. Repeated listening will reveal loads of intricate nuances and you suddenly find yourself drawn to a different flavor and mood than the time before. If you’ve reached the end of this review and feel as though you might have a handle on what this might sound like, then let me assure you I have probably only scratched the surface. Time for you to explore… 8/10 KMaN
8/10 To Greatness and glory!
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