Recent Reviews

November 2020

October 2020

[ More Music Reviews ]


OZ: Forced Commandments
OZ - Forced Commandments Art

OZ: Forced Commandments

Heavy Power Metal
4.0/5.0

My last venture into the land of OZ, the Finnish metal band with roots in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM), dates back to their reformation and comeback album, 2011's Burning Leather. It was a noble return for the band, but a rather lackluster album of tedious heavy metal, and I wondered if they shouldn't have stayed in retirement.

But time and experience have a way of changing a band. In 2015, original drummer and only remaining original member Mark Ruffneck reinvented the band with a whole new cast of musical characters. 2017's aptly titled Transition State followed which, if recollection serves, I passed over based upon the previous album. Now OZ returns with their follow up, Forced Commandments. So why not give them another go?

OZ - Click For Larger Image

OZ

And I'm glad I did. OZ's Forced Commandments is a fine album of classic and traditional heavy metal, and far superior to my last experience. The band is working all the proper musical elements to their proper metal conclusions. OZ delivers the twin guitar harmony, blazing solos, metal gallop and rock groove from the rhythm section, and strong and soaring, perhaps a tad screamo, yet clean vocals from Vince Kojvula. Of all these thing I was mostly impressed with the depth of the song arrangements and the strong guitar work.

Speaking to some of those elements, and so the songs, I really appreciated that classic heavy metal combination of gallop and groove. You'll find this across the album, but particularly self-evident within the catchy Goin' Down, the bass driven Switchblade Alley, the rather riff heavy bonus track Break Out, and the steady Revival where the twin guitars add to the groove. Yet the best track for this motif is easily Spiders, a true heavy metal rock tune. If you can't tap your toe while you're banging your head, you're probably too old to rock n roll.

Alternatively, OZ can get their power metal groove going with The Ritual and Liar, both songs being simply fast, heavy, and assertive with roaring guitar solos to finish. With Long And Lonely Road, OZ takes a turn with a heavy metal anthem where moments of voice over acoustic guitar butt heads with heavier riff parts. Of course, being an anthem, guitar solos rise throughout. All in all, with Forced Commandments, OZ has reached deep into their musical souls and delivered a solid and entertianing album of classic and melodic, heavy power metal. Recommended.



CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

All in all, with Forced Commandments, OZ has reached deep into their musical souls and delivered a solid and entertianing album of classic and melodic, heavy power metal. Recommended.

Find A Review

Alphabetical Index

a b c d e f g h i j
k l m n o p q r s t
u v w x y z #
Album of the Week
Read the Read the Magic Dance - Remnants Album Review

After numerous EPs and two long players, Jon Siejka's Magic Dance project caught the ears of Italy's Frontiers Music, dropping his third studio album, New Eyes, two years ago. Starting largely as ... [ Read More ]