Ola Englund - Master of the Universe
Self released
Progressive Instrumental
6 songs (41'50")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Alex

Once I heard that Master of the Universe is the creation of Ola Englund (Feared, The Haunted), but the album is instrumental I truly didn’t know what to expect. Ballsy death metal sans vocals? Ambient acoustic musings? Turns out Ola goes for some dense progressive journey, but not full of meaningless wonkery, but rather laden with riff-mastery and attractive melodicism.

Compositions like Pizza Hawaii deliver some strapping brawny moments between mostly dreamy stuff and arpeggios, where you get a sense right off the bat that Master of the Universe will be about one man’s vision and his take on guitar playing. Cerberus, after a quick wake up from slumber, also jumps into some predatory riffs, but nothing is too angry either. In fact, just listening to these two compositions, which are very accessible, I thought mostly I would have a lot of fun connecting song’s titles with imagery in my head. I don’t really like pineapples on my pizza re Pizza Hawaii, and the helldog in Cerberus is less about snarling and more about wallowing around and trying to stretch out.

If I was Ola Englund (and of course I am not), I would order the compositions on the album differently, and definitely start with Solar, Pt. 1. From dark piano and electroacoustic strum to gathering strength syncopated riffs to mesmerizing Egyptian melody – Solar, Pt. 1 travels from epic to jazzy in effortless 11 min. The second part Solar, Pt. 2 yields to introspection after triumphant exuberant beginning, before a harsher melody starts driving the song’s progression. Saxophone presence on Solar, Pt. 2 is both crazy and dark. Solar parts are separated by an even darker machinegun chop propelled That YouTube Song, and thinking that Ola Englund is a YouTube star with his channel, perhaps this is the origin of the composition. At any rate, That YouTube Song ratchets the pressure up and double bass here destroys any notions of frailty. The quiet piano opening of Slutet pa skivan may also give hints of soulful closure, yet guitars and drums quickly dispel Master of the Universe ending up on a softer note.

Taking on instrumental albums is never easy for me. Not being a musician myself I always feel deficient describing how someone else did it, and I am also hesitating whether I understood the intent/mood properly. So, I normally then stick to two simple criteria. Is this stuff listenable? Is it interesting without vocals? The answer in the case of Master of the Universe is a pretty resounding “yes” on both counts. Just put the same compositions in slightly different order and the hookiness will be achieved faster, for my ears anyway. Once I got to Solar, Pt. 1 I always wanted to hear more.

Killing Songs :
Solar both parts
Alex quoted 78 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:34 am
View and Post comments