Translation from Google translate
Today – another release of “hybrid music”, which is created by unique nuggets alone using advanced software and sound recording technologies on the ideological foundations of the modern “do it yourself”. On July 27 a new EP-album “Metallia” was released by the Greek “ensemble of one performer” called OH. (the dot at the end of the abbreviation is part of the name).
OH. – this is an alter ego of a girl-composer living in Athens, a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, a songwriter and a sound producer with the unpronounceable name Olivia Hadjiioannou. In the international music community, she announced herself in 2013, releasing a 24-minute debut EP “Sleeping World” (the song “Trials” hit the national top-50 chart at the end of the year). Two years later she followed up with a 34-minute conceptual vinyl album “Synemotion”. And in the period from 2016 to 2018 OH. has released four successful singles-ballads about love (“Love Will Heal”, “Love of Avalanches”, “I’m In Love” and “Deserted Eyes”). And now, it’s time for the new album: “Metallia” released in a format of a luxuriously designed digipack-CD with a 16-page booklet; includes 6 new songs (nothing from the “single” series in the album was included) with a total duration of just over 25 minutes.
Actually, the album is not even 6 new songs, but 1 epic song called “Metallia” in 6 parts. She composed, performed and produced in a personal studio in Athens by the sole efforts of Olivia H., who plays electric guitars, acoustic guitars, basses, keyboards, violins, electronic and acoustic percussion and percussion on this album, and also vocalizes. The professional competence of Olivia H., as a composer, arranger, performer and sound engineer, is not subject to the slightest doubt. The new material is conceived, performed and sounded great. And even the most sophisticated audiophile is able to please. As for the nature of the music, then OH. once again delighted with the desire to search for new forms of self-expression.
For those who have not heard the previous recordings of this young audio artist, I will briefly describe the milestones of her creative path. “Sleeping World” (2013) is a lyric-song album with an excellent production of vocal parts. Her release caused a rather wide resonance in the international music press, which not without reason compared the singing of Olivia H. with “starry divas” such as Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Céline Dion, Melissa Auf der Maur, Sharon Den Adel, Anneke Van Giesbergen. A series of 2016-2018 of the four extra-album singles continued the song line. Although the appearance of these songs was preceded by an almost entirely instrumental prog-metal album “Synemotion”, thanks to which OH. immediately “registered” on specialized “prog” and “metal” informational resources, but at the same time they were awarded a rather modest rating (which, in my opinion, is a consequence of prog-snobbish bombast, for the album “Synemotion” is more interesting than many “rating” sympho- prog-metal and shred-prog-metal albums). In general, Olivia H. could well break into the top league of commercial major show business. But there is only one bright talent for this – we need producer relations, which obviously are not yet established (the reverse side of DIY ideology, by the way). But from record to record, a huge talent Olivia H. showed herself more confidently and as a result led to the release of “Metallia” – another instrumental prog-metal album.
It is possible that the notorious “commercial potential” of such music is much weaker than that of song-vocal pop-rock music. But from the point of view of the original artistry of music – this is the best, in my opinion, album of the project. Each of the parts of the monumental composition “Metallia” (“Red Lion”, “Bee”, “Androgyny”, “Resurrection”, “Dragon’s Kiss” and “Triumph”) is dedicated to revealing a very specific symbol-image in the esoteric refraction of its personal significance. Accordingly, each part has its own individual content-artistic profile. For the most adequate perception, listen better by checking the name of the parts – in this case it will be more clear which performer’s techniques and content best reflect the essence of the symbol, for example, “Lion” (identified with “inner fire” supporting the mind, imagination and life itself – it is necessary, however, to be able to “release this fire”) or “Bee” (collects the “gold of spirituality”, which is formed with the acquisition of everyday experience on the path of bold trials, fatal mistakes and dizzying successes), or “Dragon” ( identification with “universal unconscious”, which tempts, motivates, encourages and gives wings to fly to the unknown) … In the booklet release. the value of each character and each of the pieces painted in detail. In general, if you combine music with metaphysical content, then “Metallia” will appear as a very difficult musical and artistic work.
If we talk about the forms and content presented on the album, then I will note the following. First, Olivia H. is more active than ever, experimenting with forms, striving for the sharpest sound recording of not only the image-symbol but also inherent in this image of internal conflicting dualism; intrigue is tied extremely interesting (I would even compare in this respect Olivia H. with the Italian multi-instrumentalist Lili Refrain, although the music is basically different). Secondly, Olivia H. markedly expanded the palette of pictorial means, preparing this album; in particular for the first time in such a volume as a kind of “instrument” of the sound recording is used a voice – not singing, namely expressive vocal enhancement of the instrumental content. Well and acoustics – not only guitar but also percussion – in music it became more, that partly strengthens esoteric character of the meanings touched in it. In general, for me personally, in how a twenty-five-year-old girl plays various instruments, how she thinks and creates her music, there is undoubted mysticism (at least, without the “divine gift” of one of the “celestial beings from Olympus” there is clearly not cost). I would like to emphasize that although the music is widely used for performing progressive-aggressive guitar-metal shredding, the music itself is completely devoid of any cold narcissism and detached mechanism – the album sounds surprisingly natural, alive and sensual.
But how I would like the disk to sound longer! Actually, transience is the only drawback of the release. And given the highest level of the album, this drawback is very depressing. Yes, I will not be offended by my lamentations Olivia – she makes music, in any case, excellent, and her skill truly admires. Thanks, respects and applause to the author of the music. Urgent recommendations – listeners interested in modern forms of musical prog-metal experimentalism, modernism and esotericism. I really hope that the next album OH., Which is already in the works and whose release is titled “Prog Unshaven” is scheduled for the spring of 2019, will be a full-length album. – Igor Gorely