Metallia (Album Preview and Commentary)

“If you put Kate Bush, Auf Der Maur, Ayreon, Chiasmata, Igorrr, old White Zombie and Amogh Symphony in a blender with several metronomes running different time signatures, add a healthy dash of thrash riffs to the proggy mix and baked the resulting mixture for several hours you probably wouldn’t even come close to the sound.” – Lee DavidsonProg Metal Madness

Cover Art of “Metallia’ – A New Progressive Metal Album by Oh.

‘Metallia’ is what it is, not music for fragile souls but an evanescent storm of instrumental music (the voice being used not for words, but as sound) that will suit the enthusiast of powerful, progressive and experimental music.” – Rinco Ennema ~ Rock Affairs

“Do you get bored quickly by the standard prog metal music offer? that will not happen to you with ‘Metallia’! – Herman Beunk – Xymphonia

Metallia has already drawn the attention of progressive circles, but they have yet to analyze the enigmatic, versatile, bold, suspiciously attractive style of its music. This is one of those circumstances where you think you have heard something similar before, but you can not parallel it with something recognizable. Her material sounds “metallized”, adventurous, and has a cinematic affinity. Above all, however, the sound is disruptive, the vocal injections arouse this impact. Clearly interesting, in a sense, it could be co-production of Shrapnel and 4AD. Check it out. ~ George Politopoulos – Flight of Pegasus

RELEASE DATE: July 27, 2018

Metallia

I. Red Lion (4:30)
II. Bee (5:08)
III. Androgyny (3:21)
IV. Resurrection (3:56)
V. Dragon’s Kiss (5:03)
VI. Triumph (3:24)

Instruments: Oh.
ELECTRIC GUITARS, ACOUSTIC GUITARS, VOCALS, DRUMS, VIOLIN, KEYBOARDS, BASS

Composer: Oh.
Mixing & Mastering: Oh.

Recording Location: Greece

Available on Bandcamp

Description

“Metallia” is an epical prog-metal composition in six parts. A multi-layered sonic piece of ravishing solo electric guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, grooving bass lines and deranged drums.

This instrumental progressive metal album will reveal its intricacies and hidden depths over time. It will 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.

Oh. song, Oh. Musician, Oh. music, Oh. Progressive Rock, Oh. Progressive Metal, Oh. Olivia Hadjiioannou, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, Oh

I. Red Lion

The sonic journey begins with the fiery “Red Lion”. Dazzling, dynamic prog-metal guitar solos amidst the haunting ancient rhythm of a bewitching toumperleki, groovy bass lines and eerie portentous vocals set the musical sojourner on his quest from the Prima materia to the creation of the Magnum Opus.

 

"Bee" from the Metallia Album by Oh.

II. Bee

An acoustic flamingo based guitar introduces an abstruse beat forged from multi-layered vocals which lead to frenetic harmonic guitar solos shifting in time-twisting riffs collecting the delirium of the mind-matter and as a “Bee” transforming it to spiritual gold.

 

"Androgyny" from the "Metallia" album by Oh.

III. Androgyny

An ominous ethereal chorus introduces the stage of “Androgyny” – one’s conquest over duality. An ironic, menacing and taunting riff incites the seeker, as a celestial chorus awakens the hero on his journey. The blossoming of a self-expressive electric guitar meets the forces of inertia, apathy and the oblivion of nothingness. The unsteady hero though rises from the emptiness with a twisted, spiralling enraptured guitar solo as the celestial beings rejoice.

 

"Resurrection" from the "Metallia" album by Oh.

IV. Resurrection

Undulating beats and transparent steely violins proclaim the entrance into mastery in “Resurrection”. A rock guitar reels in ecstatic head-banging measures leading to an explosive, exuberant climax of tempo-shifting multi-instrumental solos.

 

"Dragon's Kiss from the "Metallia" album by Oh.V. Dragon’s Kiss

Kissed by the Dragon but not dissolved by it. “Dragon’s Kiss” is an epic propulsive build of percussion, guttural and lilting vocals, riffing electric guitars, fantastical violins, grooving bass lines and furious drums traversing dark sonic landscapes and imagery.

 

"Androgyny" from the "Metallia" album by Oh.VI. Triumph

Delirious high pitched screaming vocals celebrate the “Triumph”. Finger-twisting guitar riffs soar in multi-layered sonic solos while a distorted demoniac guitar propels a spellbinding bass and drums to the ultimate state of immutability.

Commentary

We all want to have answers to the ultimate meaning of why we are here. There’s a time when you need to set aside everything you already know.

We collect experiences and impressions with our minds and this increases the presence of our soul.

There is a duality not only without but within because the mind receives information from both the body and the spirit.

If the connection is weak between the spirit and the mind – there is no possibility to see the whole or our state and place in existence.

Our minds – our everyday consciousness is cluttered with judgements, repetition, echoes of apprehension and fear, debates and doubts. If left on its own without the guidance of spirit; we exist in a negative world, alienated, in conflict with reality.

Let’s isolate the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are produced by the physical body first. Then we can isolate the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are given by our spirits and be restored to our primal state of awareness.

Here is where Metallia comes in…

Metallia is purely for your mind. It attacks your judgements and expectations. It is an alchemical journey transmuting the base metal of your mind to gold.

This instrumental progressive metal concept album is a six-part 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.

Listen

Reviews

Here’s what some early reviewers say about ‘Metallia’:

“If you put Kate Bush, Auf Der Maur, Ayreon, Chiasmata, Igorrr, old White Zombie and Amogh Symphony in a blender with several metronomes running different time signatures, add a healthy dash of thrash riffs to the proggy mix and baked the resulting mixture for several hours you probably wouldn’t even come close to the sound.”~ Lee Davidson – Prog Metal Madness

This is not a garrulous display of technique. There is inspiration, delineations, intense vision, to the point of fever pitch chaos, which will delight the “metal” senses and is altogether a monumental showcase. The girl seems to have more riff in her, than half the Greek heavy metal scene of the past 10 years. ” ~ “Pan Pap” Rocktime.gr

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. ~ Igor Gorely – R.A.I.G. Records (Progarchives)

‘Metallia’ is what it is, not music for fragile souls but an evanescent storm of instrumental music (the voice being used not for words, but as sound) that will suit the enthusiast of powerful, progressive and experimental music.” ~ Rinco Ennema ~ Rock Affairs

“Do you get bored quickly by the standard prog metal music offer? that will not happen to you with ‘Metallia’! ~ Herman Beunk – Xymphonia

“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.” ~ K-MaNriffsBlessed Altar Zine

“Chaos becomes order, the mind blowing ‘Metallia’ by Oh.  ~ Martin Hutchinson Progradar

An interesting well thought out project from a talented-mult-instrumentalist ~ Geoff Penn Progplanet

“Cacophonous, complex, illustrative, dense, awash in radiance, terrifying, challenging- all of it driven by the taut, ferocious guitar work and instrumental mastery demonstrated by Ms. H. Waves of feminine choral sounds weave in and out of the tapestry, washes of intensity rarely relenting, leading me to recall why at one point in my younger days I was strongly drawn to consider using psychedelic drugs. Mind expansion, spirit expansion. Transcendence. Enlightenment. ~ Stephen Conrad – Progressive Rock Fanatics–Progarchives

After some interrogations the EP grows on you, which gives us music in a little different vintage, so for the curious, just release the handbrake and discover! ~ Conny Myrberg – Artrock.se

Metallia has already drawn the attention of progressive circles, but they have yet to analyze the enigmatic, versatile, bold, suspiciously attractive style of its music.This is one of those circumstances where you think you have heard something similar before, but you can not parallel it with something recognizable. Her material sounds “metallized”, adventurous, and has a cinematic affinity. Above all, however, the sound is disruptive,  the vocal injections arouse this impact. Clearly interesting, in a sense, it could be co-production of Shrapnel and 4AD. Check it out. ~ George Politopoulos – Flight of Pegasus

Listening to Metallia, expect to be unexpected. Nothing is obvious here, nothing sounds as you would expect, and surprise is surprising. ~ Artur Chachlowski MLWZ

Neither guitar hero nor singer metal, OH. invents a progressive rock art metal where Olivia’s guitar is queen, sometimes supplanted by her war cries sung like a second guitar. An extraordinary musical experience, extreme for canterbury fans, so to discover absolutely. ~ Jean-Christophe – Neoprog

What Oh. screams out of her guitar is not for the faint-hearted, by the constant stream of trash riffs this is a dirty Steve Vai or a vicious Joe Satriani but with balls or better said without balls or at least as well. It is unsettling in the metal scene when a longhaired guitarist turns out to be a woman in the end…Her voice meanders from mood to emotion. From fear to love. The songs do not have a standard structure but are textures like the wandering Etesian winds that so often thrash the Aegean Sea. ~Jos Driessen – Progwereld

An excellent example of how instrumental guitar albums can still sound inspired and interesting. Jupiter Variation

“In 2008 Jannick Top sent a shock wave through progressive rock community with the release of “Infernal Machina”. The sound that he created on that album was absolutely unique, a fascinating collision of zeuhl, metal and primal screams. Now after ten years I found the same formula rediscovered and applied, again with astonishing result, by OH. (Olivia Hadjiioannou) in her new album Metallia.” ~ Tomasz Grzywalski Secret Exhibition

“The hidden leitmotives and recurring patterns in the compostion reveal themselves only after multiple listens and make this EP a real grower that you will return to over and over again and still be surprised and impressed every time you hear it. With Metallia, Olivia Hadjiioannou has proven to be an incredibly gifted and creative composer and technically talented musician. If you are tired of progressive bands repeating the same old stuff over and over again, look no further – Oh. has you covered.” ~ Matt S. Metal Soliloquy

“Only after a few passages does the open music lover begin to discover that the pieces are multi-layered and rich in detail and that the electric guitar is only used as one means of expression among many. Besides the parts for the guitars and drums, one discovers the ethnically coloured percussion, the creative rhythms and breaks and the polyphonic, mostly very wild vocals as well as the more extreme and unusual sounds that one can elicit from the human vocal cords.  ~ Siggy Zielinski – Babyblauen Seiten

“With top notes of Dream Theater and the intensity of Liquid Tension Experiment, Olivia takes the listener on a dark yet vivid journey that intersects the mind of Edgar Allen Poe and the imagination of Stephen Gammell” ~ Vinny Iacocca The Closet Concert Arena

“Stunning, raw and uncompromising” ~ Sébastien Bonnays Prog Female Voices

“Time to tell you about this stratospheric lady who comes from nowhere or from another planet, that of metal-prog-fusion-trash-dream-haunting and not only!” ~ Alain Massard – Profil Prog

The most important adjective is “powerful”. Everything oozes power. The compositions, the sound effects, the arrangements, the use of dynamics in mixing; everything has received a large dose of attention, creating an epic sound. These elements make a grandiose mix, where nothing stays the same, except the powerful impression that it all leaves.” ~ Jerry Van Kooten – Dutch Progressive Rock Page DPRP

Olivia Hadjiioannou is always up for a surprise… After the quite heavy “Synemotion” album, she released a couple of distinctly art rock oriented singles. However, her latest EP is quite different from everything we have heard of her before: It’s a tour de force into high-grade prog metal realms with shredding guitars, sinister vocal layers, and unexpectedly transforming rhythm patterns. All music composed by Oh. All instruments played by Oh. An overwhelming one-woman show! Favorite track: Androgyny. ~ Sven B. Schreiber – Bandcamp

This girl isn’t afraid to sound unique with this gorgeous, mind expanding instrumental feast of experimental prog metal gifted with shredding riffs, eastern vibes, ethereal interludes and dramatic shifts in pace and complexity. There’s no empty virtuosity here though, since everything flows together into one sonic experience that never ceases to sound warm, emotional and organic. An ambitious and compelling endeavour. Favorite track: Androgyny. ~ Sauro Fabi – Bandcamp

“The whole thing is realized through multi-layered vocals, frenetic but harmonious guitar solos, ecstatic pounding riffs, imaginative violins, rhythmic basses and wild drums. It should Metallia hijack the listener in a wondrous acoustic landscape, which should make him forget everything around him.” ~ Joan Degener – Betreutes Proggen

A symphonic approach for “Dragon’s Kiss”, in truth a melodic melting pot to better blur the tracks, Olivia wanders according to her inspirations and goes from a nostalgic rock to a screaming and fusion metal, revealing an amazing skillfulness. The last “Triumph” track, which is a real slaughter, exudes a great freshness of inspiration and shows, if necessary, the imperial mastery of the lady.Impregnated with a heavy atmosphere, an eclectic and electric music with a fast tempo, this “Métallia” is a very beautiful album where the lovers of Olivia Hadjiioannou and the others will find what they are looking for! ~ Gabriel BadelierProgcritique

“Time signatures change, bombastic elements come in and out, and it really feels like the listener is being swept along in a maelstrom, or being put inside a washing machine when it is at full pelt.” ~ Kev Rowland – Firebrand radio – Framemusic

“Truly mindblowing. And speaking of mindblowing, here we have a musician that seems to excel at everything she does. Fluent in drumming, bass, guitars, piano and violin!” ~ Peter Cox  – Your Music Blog

“She has developed a musical style of her own, which can best be placed in the utmost corner of extreme prog metal” ~ Henric van Essen Dutch Metal Maniac

“Olivia Hadjiioannou shows us the female side of progressive metal, muscular and aggressive like that of her male colleagues, but the Greek musician is also attracted by the contrasts between primordial chaos and latent tension that this can produce….The music does not stop at progressive metal with a symphonic touch but inside there emerge inflections that point towards Middle Eastern, operatic and Hellenic stylistic elements, all fundamentals that contribute to increase the melodramatic depth of the work. It must not have been easy to design the complex stratifications that make up the pieces in solitude.” ~ Lorenzo Barbagli – Open Magazine

“Olivia begins the Great Work by pouring the devastating fury of the Erinyes into inhuman vocalizations that fully invest the listener, annihilating him definitively with Sabbathian riffs and a killer groove. The sound is repeatedly fractured by acid lashed metal and by a percussive tribalism that the traditional toumperleki dominates, underlining its oriental features.” ~ Antonio Menichella Hamelin Prog

 

Progradar

“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.”  – W. Somerset Maugham

Think about that quote for a moment, it is telling us that all of the greatest things that have ever happened in art are not due to order, they are due to the beauty that can be created from and by disorder.

Greek multi-instrumentalist songwriter and musician Olivia Hadjiiannou (more commonly known, by her initials, as OH.) has created some quite intriguing and wonderful albums that stem from a certain disorder, if not completely but, with her new release ‘Metallia’ she has finally decided that there shall be no holding back!

Here is OH’s description of this mind-bending work:

‘Metallia’ is an epical prog-metal composition in six parts. A multi-layered sonic piece of ravishing solo electric guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, grooving bass lines and deranged drums. 

This instrumental progressive metal album will reveal its intricacies and hidden depths over time. It will extract from your mind pure visions, to mend your mental pictures, preen presumptions and to elicit an element of the unexpected….

I am sure that this album will not be to many people’s taste but from the first track, the sonic maelstrom of Red Lion, I was hooked by the immediacy and sheer power of the music. The turbulent anarchy of the angry, crushing guitar riffs and drums pounds you into submission but, after each further listen, you begin to recognise the subtleties as well. The high octane thrills continue with Bee although it’s traditional style intro throws you for a few seconds before the scatter gun guitars seek to pierce your soul.

I’m beginning to feel as if I’m trapped in a maniacal musical tornado from which there is no escape, slowly losing my grip on reality and not giving a care in the world that it’s happening. The crunching riffs and almost choral vocal overlays of Androgyny carry on the full throttle aural assault, it’s like being in a performance of Dante’s Inferno but one that is put to music. The thing is, I’m really starting to enjoy this, am I a masochist? no, it’s just that beneath the layer of lawlessness and disorder you can feel an intelligence at play, one that begins to reveal more of itself through the thunderous dynamism of Resurrection.

There’s tribal feel to Dragon’s Kiss as the tumultuous guitars shred the very semblance of your being, the rhythm swaying in time to the music and the hypnotic vocal overtones. This quite incredible musical experience comes to a close with the aptly named Triumph, a short, intense blast that finally removes any semblance of resistance from your soul as you willingly submit to the masterful chaos that surrounds you.

Phew! That is one highly intensive listening experience that, like all the best, gets better the more you are willing to listen to it and understand every nuance and subtle distinction. OH. has really given all of her musical being to us with ‘Metallia’, a powerful statement of intent from this impressive young woman, just don’t say I didn’t warn you! – Martin Hutchinson ~ Progradar

Progarchives

Don’t shoot ME, I’m only the messenger- This is a spiritual journey.

Here are words to describe Olivia Hadjiioannou, otherwise known as OH.:

Obsessive. Thorough. Perfectionistic. Musician. Artist. Driven. Thoughtful. Reflective. Spiritual. Brilliant. Profound. Guide. Provocateur. Prophetic. Seeker. Thinker. Student. Teacher.

It’s important to know this when listening to “Metallia”, and no, it has no relationship with a heavy metal outfit you may have heard of in other sectors.

“Metallia” is the third album released by Ms. H. with her musical career apparently taking wings in her childhood. She is a multi-instrumentalist from Greece.

Titles and concepts in this fairly short EP are drawn from alchemy, and although I am not a scholar of that lore, nor of C. G. Jung, Ms. H. does appear to be one.

Therefore, for better or worse, I found myself doing some background reading on alchemy and some of the terms mentioned in explanatory materials Ms. H. provided.

Although the entire EP is around 25 minutes duration, it is a dense, complex work that made me work for it. A lot.

Every minute of the background study and the multiple listenings were well-worth it. Although musically far distant from that found in “Orbitas” from Chilean band TRYO, I thought the intentions and concerns of each are closely related.

OK. Back to that term “Spiritual Journey”.

Ms. H. explicitly states her intentions are to take listeners on “a six-part 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.”

She uses ancient alchemical terms and ideas in the titles and subtitles to illustrate this journey. I think it’s commendable that Ms. H. took considerable time and energy, as well, to describe and illuminate these concepts in her website.

The quest for the “Philosopher’s Stone” is the stated aim, and in essence that means becoming spiritually integrated and aware, able to transcend forces that attempt to crush and destroy the human spirit.

An old saying from the recovery world goes something like this: We are not human beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having human experiences.

For me, this album focused on that idea.

Now, the music.

Cacophonous, complex, illustrative, dense, awash in radiance, terrifying, challenging- all of it driven by the taut, ferocious guitar work and instrumental mastery demonstrated by Ms. H.

Waves of feminine choral sounds weave in and out of the tapestry, washes of intensity rarely relenting, leading me to recall why at one point in my younger days I was strongly drawn to consider using psychedelic drugs. Mind expansion, spirit expansion. Transcendence. Enlightenment.

I thought the music must be considered a language of its own, and interpreting another’s language is risky and delicate.

Yet, if you do take time to listen and not only listen, but HEAR, you will be rewarded, even, perhaps, transformed.

My rating

5 out of 5 precious gems.

-Stephen Conrad ~ Progarchives & Progressive Rock Fanatics

Xymphonia

The Greek beauty Olivia Hadjiioannou makes under the name Oh. (with point, indeed) progressive metal-compositions that she plays entirely on her own. In addition, the guitar is her most important instrument, but she also supplies her extremely packed arrangements with multi-layered vocals (where the voice is used as an instrument and thus not the words), violin, piano, bass, drums and percussion.

She released a few EPs, singles and an album since 2013.

Her latest release is again an EP, entitled “Metallia” (without a c, indeed). In the six compositions, the combining of instrument layers and music styles in six extremely concentrated packages has become art. This raises especially the observation that it is very well done, but the EP (no longer than 25 minutes) listen in its entirety leaves you completely consumed.

The most accessible track is, very clever, placed at the beginning. Chopping metal guitars, a funky bass rhythm and harmoniously in the background sounding singing choir are the most striking ingredients, but the fullness of the whole guarantees that professional listening brings out more details. Do you get bored quickly by the average (progmetal) music offer, that will not happen to you at “Metallia”! – Herman Beunk – Xymphonia

 

Rock Affairs

“The first number immediately kicks ass. ‘Red Lion’ is a powerful song that uses traditional instruments such as guitars, drums, violins and bass, but also a toumperleki (also called ‘goblin drum’) is used. In addition, the voice of Olivia can be heard, not singing but her voice ‘playing’. There is a nice rhythm in this song, a beech festival where you quickly feel at home.

‘Bee’ starts a little quieter but do not be mistaken in the inner strength that is about to be released. With sufficient volume from the speakers this is a treacherous hypnotic musical sculpture. Delightful riffs and teasing strokes on the guitar create a tension field that is abruptly canceled when the song stops.

‘Androgyny’ would tell the story of a person who has divided thoughts but later comes into balance and experiences unity by constantly wondering whether his / her reflections are correct. So far the intellectual.