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OH. - Metallia CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.33 | 20 ratings

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5 stars "Metallia" is a new EP-album by Olivia Hadjiioannou, Athens based composer, song-writer, multi-instrumentalist, and sound-producer who under the name OH. has been creating and publishing music since 2013. "Metallia" is the third release in the artist's discography. And this is my first experience of listening to OH. music on a physical disc (top- quality manufactured CD-digipak with 16-page booklet).

It's said that "Metallia" is a single 25-minute epic composition while each track on the CD is just a part of it. In accordance with the booklet, each Part/track depicts a symbol or a scene with several symbolic elements. For example, "Red Lion" is presented as a holder of the inner Fire; he inspires intelligence, imagination, and life but he can't escape the prison of the Earth plane and can't free himself with his own power. Or "Bee" who is a collector of spiritual gold which in fact is experiences obtained under the varying circumstances of life. Or "Dragon" who is an epitome of the universal unconscious and can give the wings to travel within the inner realms. In other words, the album's (or to be more correct, the composition's) dramatic concept is pretty close to the Tarot card game, while the album's idea is to reveal it through purely instrumental music.

In general, "Metallia" fits well the subgenre category of Experimental/Progressive-Metal but the specific elements of music are changing from one Part of the composition to another. Whether the accent throughout this multi-layered and texturized sonic content is placed on fierce time-shifting electric guitar soloing, massively grooving riffs, ecstatically blasting beats, or acoustic guitar flamenco patterns, delicate violin passes, bewitching toumperleki splashes, and sultry esoteric vocalizations - everything is subordinated here to the purpose of revealing a dramatic symbol or a scene of several symbols in its multicolored, emotional and esoteric density and complexity. No lyrical vocal here, though judging from "Sleeping World" EP (2013) and a series of four non-album singles (2016-2018) Olivia H. is an amazing dramatic singer. I would say that her ethereal wordless vocalization performance sounds perfect in the context of "Metallia" and brings more expression to the instrumental music. In some sense, Olivia H. follows the same pathway than Lili Refrain, female composer, multi-instrumentalist, and sound-producer from Rome, Italy (not featured at ProgArchives, I guess). But I mean only general creative principles and visions, as OH. music is less dark, ominous, delirious, and arguably more "progressive".

It's still a mystery to me, how a young lady like Olivia can invent, perform, and produce such a gorgeous piece of musical art. I suppose she got somehow a blessing from the forgotten gods of Olympus... No, really. It's a wonderfully creative and inventive EP which sounds much more substantial and thought-provoking than many recordings from well-known grandees of modern instrumental Prog-Metal. My only complain is that the album is way too short. The ideas and visions of this music definitely need to be expanded and developed. Nevertheless, if you dig into conceptually illustrative Experimental/Progressive-Metal with mastery and mystery, heart, intellect, and passion - get "Metallia" for sure!

raigor | 5/5 |


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