“She puts every ounce of her creative being into her art, so it is part progressive and part avant-garde, but ultimately it is breathtaking in its emotive beauty. She does not confine herself to genres or labels” – Rustyn Rose Metalholic Magazine
OH. – is the alter ego of a female composer who lives in Athens, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and a sound producer with the unpronounceable name Olivia Hadjiioannou. She announced her arrival to the international music community in 2013, releasing a 24-minute debut EP “Sleeping World” — the song “Trials” later becoming one of the top-50 events to mark Greece at the end of the year after winning an international music video award.
“Sleeping World” (2013) is a cross-over progressive lyrical-song album. Her release caused a stir in the international music press, who compared her vocal talents to stars like Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Happy Rhodes, Céline Dion, Melissa Auf der Maur, Sharon Den Adel and Anneke Van Giesbergen.
Two years later she followed up with a 34-minute conceptual instrumental prog metal album “Synemotion” which was released on a Double Limited Edition vinyl record. Between 2016 to 2018 OH. released four successful single-ballads about love (“Love Will Heal”, “Love of Avalanches”, “I’m In Love” and “Deserted Eyes”). “Love of Avalanches” music video was one of the first handmade virtual reality videos whose innovative workflow was showcased at NAB in 2016 by Mettle. The 3D WebGL interactive experience for the launch of the single “I’m in Love” was nominated on Awwwards.com in 2017. Finally, “Deserted Eyes” has three international music video awards, most recently in the London Greek Film Festival in 2018.
Her new album: “Metallia” was released on July 28, 2018 in the format of a luxuriously designed digipack-CD with a 16-page booklet. The EP includes 6 new tracks with a total duration of just over 25 minutes.
One reviewer said, “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.”
Frenetic harmonic guitar solos, sultry multi-layered harmonic vocals, ecstatic head-banging riffs, fantastical violins, grooving bass lines and furious drums paint the myriad and intricate sonic landscapes of Oh.
Oh. plays guitar (electric and acoustic), bass, drums, violin, piano and percussion composes, performs, produces, mixes and masters in Athens, Greece.
Sultry multi-layered harmonic vocals leading to frenetic harmonic guitar solos, ecstatic head-banging riffs, fantastical violins, grooving bass lines and furious drums paint the myriad and intricate sonic landscapes of Oh.. She conjures up magic song potions of avant-garde ballads, prog metal instrumentals, symphonic prog rock tunes. Her guitars whisper of Satriani and Vai and her vocals, the timbre of Sharon Den Adel, Anneke Van Giesbergen and Tori Amos. Her music evokes intense imagery, entices the listener to journey into epic sonic landscapes and finally escape into intense ecstatic oblivion.
The real story about Oh. and her music is not disguised behind her moniker or cultivated in the place she was born. What drives her to play a half-dozen instruments or insist on mixing and mastering her own music isn’t revealed in a succession of external events — rather, driven by a passion to musically reveal an “inner-story”.
Yes, she calls herself Oh. because those are the initials of her real name Olivia Hadjiioannou *, – unpronounceable to most except other natives of Greece, where she was born.
And though, some hints as to why she became a musician can be found scattered in snapshots of instruments on her childhood wall. She says: “I never felt as if there were ever a question of whether I can play music or not, music is always a question of whether you have something to say.”
Her time in her studio is spent in crafting a sound, as she says. ‘epic enough’ to touch the soul, whether in the darkest recesses of sorrow or heights of elation.
Within those wild and thrashing guitars and ecstatic voices, there is a faint but powerful voice of hope — you are left transformed in a subtle way.
There is so much more to Oh., you just need to listen and listen carefully — because there are many twists and turns in her progressive rock and metal landscapes.
Reviewers have compared her voice to Sharon Den Adel and Anneke Van Giesbergen, others to Happy Rhodes and a cross between Kate bush, Tori Amos, Melissa Auf der Maur, and Eivør. They emphasized her quite unique style, as one said, “she defies analysis somewhat as Queensryche” with distinctive sound of her own. Elements of bands like Sacrilege, Black Sabbath’s “Zero the Hero” period and a bit of Exciter have been mentioned in various commentaries.
So, what does it actually sound like then? Well, in short I can’t say if you like ‘x’ band you will love this as there really is a lot of influence and styles melded in to its 25 minute run time yet I can say that if you put Kate Bush, Auf Der Maur, Ayreon, Chiasmata, Igorrr, old White Zombie and Amogh Symphony in a blender with serveral 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 wouldnt even come close to the sound…did that help? Nope? OK then check this out ~ Lee Davidson – Prog Metal Madness
Oh. is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar (electric and acoustic), bass, drums, violin, piano and percussion) who composes, performs, produces, mixes and masters her own music from her studio in Athens, Greece.
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
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)
“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. ” – Panayiotis “Pan Pap” Papaioannou ~ Rocktime.gr
‘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
“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 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 Badelier – Progcritique
“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
“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
“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.” ~ Stephen Conrad – Progarchives
Wonderful melodies and the constant flow through complex spaces stimulate impassionate moods and emotions; sometimes hammock, sometimes bed of nails, but always full of hope.” ~ Peter “Brutus” Habermann – DEAF FOREVER
It is well worth spending about 40 minutes of your time to take this journey, with the talent of this 25 year old Greek-American. With lots of music, with few but essential words, and with originality. Something tells me that we will soon be hearing again about her even larger (music) plans … ~ Elias “DEMON” Papazoglou – Hard Music
“Something rare and unique about this artist. A young female multi instrumentalist composer and vocalist in the realm of progressive rock. Makes me a bit misty in this day of EDM muzak. Lovely textures throughout, from acoustic guitars, haunting melodies behind the powerful narration. Solid Prog cred on the arrangement, with stellar production value head to toe on sound and image. OH is force to be embraced with gratitude by any ProgArt rock fan, of which I am one.” Mark Alan Dooley ~ Fluence
Definitely a piece of progressive art by a very talented young woman. ~ Angelo Hulshout – Background Magazine
OH. – A Bombshell. Take the time to listen and see this album is a bombshell to the world of guitar! ~ Progcritique.com
OH. Yes! Providing proof positive for all time that Greek women rock, here is OH. with a tune from her 2015 album Synemotion. It’s clear that OH. is a significant talent, sure to impress again. ~ Jon Davis – Exposé
Anyone that is into guitar virtuoso types of music will love this release. Some of the tracks I found exhilarating and others interesting but in the end an appreciation for the overall talent this artist brings to the table. You can count on some amazing six string runs throughout this listen.
She has my utmost respect for such a huge accomplishment. ~ Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck – MuzikMan Productions
The gorgeously packaged double vinyl record is a worthy addition to any collection. The heavy music is powerful and explosive, and OH truly leads you on an emotional journey.
The song synchronizes the emotional journey into something tangible and accessible, and you get to hear a bit more of OH’s gorgeous voice which she highlighted in her 2013 debut, Sleeping World. When you know someone can sing, but yet they eschew that for the larger vision, which is to wring emotion out of the listener on the strength of the music alone, that takes courage and confidence.
I told you OH was precocious and creative. She’s also strikingly beautiful, as one can experience in her sensual and artistic music videos that accompany this release (check out the track Run Away on Youtube. OH is definitely an artist to keep an eye on. With her talent, vision, and drive, she is definitely going to make a name for herself in the music world. ~ Dave – Virtuosity
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