Review of Oh.’s “Metallia” by Igor Gorely of R.A.I.G. Records on Recyclable Sounds
by on September 5, 2018 in Metallia Reviews

Igor Gorely R.A.I.G. Records on Recyclable Sounds

R.A.I.G. Records on Recyclable Sounds

Igor Gorely is the founder of R.A.I.G. Records. When I went to his website to read about his record company and review site “Recyclable Sounds”. I stumbled upon his commentary where he states that reviews “..at a minimum, they should cause interest in music and literally turn the “reader” into a “listener.”  What impeccable intent. He says:

Over time, I came to two important conclusions for me. The first – any notes about music – whether it’s previews or reviews, reviews or encyclopedic references – should be functional. That is, at a minimum, they should cause interest in music and literally turn the “reader” into a “listener”. Second – no notes on music can not be subjective. Not only because each of us hears, sees and feels in his own way. But also because music is one of the most expressive and emotionally charged art forms, and you can write about it only in a state of either a strong mental uplift, or deep disappointment and even irritation. It is unlikely to be objective and unbiased.

I truly appreciate how well he articulates the challenging aspects of the review process. Lately, with all the reviews I have received I am left speechless and then so grateful for the time, attention, depth of soul and their expansive ability to describe the amorphous aspects of music.

Thank you Igor Gorely. I was blown away by such a compelling 5-star review of “Metallia’ on Progarchives and not only that but a second even more in-depth account on “Recyclable Sounds”

Recyclable Sounds

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

Progarchives

R.A.I.G. Records on Recyclable Sounds Progarchives

For the Scrapbook

R.A.I.G. Records is an independent international record-label based in Moscow since 2002. It is created by musicians and for musicians, operates on behalf of the member-artists and has complete control over the releases. It advocates distinctive, challenging and deviant music in a wide range of modern instrumental, psychedelic, progressive, experimental & avantgarde subgenres. RAIG aims to release music that otherwise might not be heard. They publish only professionally manufactured CD-albums, and only on exclusive basis. Any profits made are put back into the label and the growing roster of new talented artists. Selected RAIG’s releases can be found and streamed for free on Official R.A.I.G. Bandcamp.
Subscribe to R.A.I.G. mailing list for important updates

Since 2014, R.A.I.G. Records have been supporting and sponsoring “Recyclable Sounds” muzblog.
the only daily review-resource in Russian covering the best novelties of underground music from the globe.

About R.A.I.G founder Igor Gorely from his website:

Over time, I came to two important conclusions for me. The first – any notes about music – whether it’s previews or reviews, reviews or encyclopedic references – should be functional. That is, at a minimum, they should cause interest in music and literally turn the “reader” into a “listener”. Second – no notes on music can not be subjective. Not only because each of us hears, sees and feels in his own way. But also because music is one of the most expressive and emotionally charged art forms, and you can write about it only in a state of either a strong mental uplift, or deep disappointment and even irritation. It is unlikely to be objective and unbiased.

The last five years on the website R.A.I.G. Authors’ headings “Announcements” and “Reviews” were conducted, in which I published short notes on the novelties of the international rock underground, which we did not directly distribute. The archives of the categories have grown so much that for their adequate systematization, storage and presentation, the software platform R.A.I.G. was unsuitable. So in the summer of 2014 the blogger’s resource “Recyclable Sounds” was born.

 

Listen

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

Available on Bandcamp

Weird and Wonderful World of Oh.

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