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Ola Englund made his first perceptible steps into the metal spotlight when he joined the ranks of two rather big, yet infamous bands – Six Feet Under and The Haunted – around seven years ago. He’s been maintaining a YouTube-channel since even way before that, a channel which has grown so much in recent years, that by now Ola has become one of the most well known guitar-personalities within the online metal(-guitar) community.
Even though Ola already threw his first solo album upon the world in the earlier months of last year, I’ve only decided to check out his music with the release of his new non-album single The Sun & the Moon. The musical style shown here is usually not quite part of my typical listening forays, yet here I am, enjoying this little progressive adventure quite a bit and so it just felt right to write down a few words about this single.
While this dude’s on-screen character feels more at home in a certain bubble of goofiness and flatulent jokes, his musical output is to be taken seriously as a quality product of modern metal. Progressive flourishes within somber lead and clean guitar passages flirt with downtuned groove-heaviness and post-thrash riff-constructions. I do find the lack of vocals to be slightly infuriating at times (told you I’m not a sucker for this style and do have my roots in more traditional endeavors, usually coming with vocalists) but the ability to build a decently atmospheric soundscape without overstretching my endurance is a formidable skill. With the track ending its spin around the 6 minute mark, there’s barely a second left for boredom and aimless strolling around – courtesy of the serviceable craftsmanship on display. Comparisons could be drawn to more recent Devin Townsend output, yet without the utilization of several what-the-fuck moments that Devin is known for, or perhaps a closer look was taken at how Dream Theater used to structure their material in the past. Ola had Jeff Loomis as a guest in his online show a while ago, so it’s certainly possible that he also left an impression on Englund’s writing, since a few Nevermore references seem to shimmer through the material.
No matter what genre-tag you want to throw at this one, to me, The Sun & the Moon is a well-produced progressive/groove metal track directed at Ola Englund’s very own fanbase and he definitely did not fail to deliver some goods. It’s easy-listening prog for caveman traditionalists and melancholy-suckers like yours truly.
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