Review of Oh.’s “Metallia” on Betreutes Proggen
by on September 12, 2018 in Metallia Reviews
Betreutes Proggen

Betreutes Proggen is a very fine German-language Prog web magazine covering all progressive music sub-genres with news, interviews, reviews, tour dates, festival and concert news. The site launched in February 2015.

Below is a translation of a sincere and sensitive new review by Joan Degener about the new “Metallia” album. Don’t forget to follow Betreutes Proggen on Facebook and on Twitter

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Oh. Wow. – You can not think of much more when you realize that Olivia Hadjiioannou, better known by her initials, plays acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboard and violin herself. The young, Greek songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has something vocal to offer.

Her current album, “Metallia”, is therefore a completely independent work, as well as mixing and mastering Olivia has not let up. Let’s see if such a multi-talent can even find a catch.

“Metallia” comes in six parts, and – so much is said at the beginning – it is highly recommended to listen to them in one piece. Their concept of conveying musical power and a feeling with the multi-layered instruments and directions, the whole without words, or text, is so easy to get started. Then there are avant-garde ballads, prog metal instrumentals and symphonic prog rock melodies. 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. If that’s difficult for you, you can use the booklet called “Oh.racle”.

There are little stories to each song, with matching, mystical images, all in all a rather wild but exciting experiment.

“Metallia” is definitely an intense experience and there is a lot to discover, but it is understandable if that is too much of a good thing for one listener or another. ~ Betreutes Proggen

Betreutes Proggen

etreutes Proggen - Metallia

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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

‘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-MaNriffs- Blessed 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

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

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

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

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. Now and then symphonic keyboard chords shimmer through and seem to suggest recognizable structures in the often shamanic songs. In such moments the voice of Oh. may remind of some well-known singers, most probably Kate Bush.

Thus, in parts the music reveals a rather experimental character. Like “Bee”, for example, which begins with solos for the acoustic guitar and then develops into an almost apocalyptic-appearing, sometimes industrial-influenced moods, which give an idea of the considerable depth that seems to have been created for the spatial mixing. ~ Siggy Zielinski – Babyblauen Seiten

Olivia Hadjiioannou Musician Oh. music

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