Ordog - The Grand Wall review


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Band: Ordog
Album: The Grand Wall
Release date: November 2016

01. Open The Doors To Red
02. Sundered
03. In The Looming Bitterness
04. The Perfect Cut
05. Wings In Water
06. The Grand Wall

I've been to the Great Wall, and it was pretty great. 10/10, would wall again. I still haven't seen The Great Wall, but it looks like Zhang Yimou lost his eye for imperial extravagance and tragic heroism in unexpected places beneath layers of overextensive eye-catching and Western-style explosion saturation. The Grand Wall sits somewhere between those two. Probably. I'll update you when I've seen The Great Wall.

Ordog exists somewhere on the convergence of death doom, funeral doom, and regular doom, which draws the band into competition with itself over committing fully to any one direction. The Grand Wall, like older Ordog, can be funeral doom minimalist, but it isn't quite funeral doom slow, nor is it funeral doom atmospheric; it doesn't work up to death doom complexity and usually stops just shy of epic doom grandiloquence. I have lamented on every Ordog release that their music never feels expansive enough. The songs are often ponderous and melancholy enough that I want to be drawn into something vast, but the sound is too thin for me to completely submerge myself; at the same time, the song structures lend themselves far more to immersive contemplation than active participation, leaving the listener in something of a no man's land.

The Grand Wall suffers from this same problem, but is better at taking the initiative in engaging the listener; the album definitely drags in places, and I can only wish that the band had some thicker production, but in that department, the album is at least a step up from previous years. It comes at the expense of some of the atmosphere that their first few albums did manage to achieve quiet well, but this musical evolution is not a zero-sum game, and for its missteps, The Grand Wall does succeed in more areas.

The up-tempo "Wings In Water" is easily the best track on The Grand Wall; after the grim hesitation of the previous tracks, whether warranted or not, "Wings In Water" feels packed with vitality and higher-quality melody lines. All Ordog really needs is more layers; more keys, especially, but a few extra crunchy guitars would go a long way in bulking up these riffs and giving them the power they need to last. The piano, organ, and synths that are present on The Grand Wall shape a mysterious, gothic-style atmosphere around the simplistic riffs, and when they're paired with strings as in "Open The Doors To Red" or "The Perfect Cut," Ordog swells with a convincing expression of magnitude.

For me, the album's other highlight is "Sundered," which ekes out a sludgy, murky grunt of an existence before transitioning into a crushing love letter to early Amorphis. The 11-minute title track, closing out the album, also offers a taste of something very different, aiming for somber reflection over gurgly chugging. By prizing atmosphere over songwriting, with restrained clean vocals and quiescent melody, the song achieves the sense of doom that Ordog has been striking at all this time. The mood doesn't quite survive the transition into full-blast death doom, but "The Grand Wall" remains a powerful piece and the one most suited to closing out the album.

The Pretty Good Wall may not achieve the level of magnificence its title aspires to, but it belongs to a distinctly Finnish tradition of melancholic doom and likely won't disappoint the adherents of this scene.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 5


Written on 28.03.2017 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 71 users
28.03.2017 - 22:14
Bad English
This album and band never will vanish from scene, its like all doomsters must have , but same time it wont be plaid so often as old ones
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

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29.03.2017 - 01:47
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Bad English on 28.03.2017 at 22:14

This album and band never will vanish from scene, its like all doomsters must have , but same time it wont be plaid so often as old ones
this band and album are totally superfluous in the doom scene and people who like good doom can ignore the band.
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996


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