Orna Annon - Demo 2005
Epic Folk / Viking Metal
4 songs (26'10)
Release year: 2005
Orna Annon
Reviewed by Ben

This week’s demo review comes from Virginia and I have to say, Orna Annon bring some high caliber metal to my stereo. These four guys and lone girl play some very inspired Viking metal that is stirring and a treat to listen to. References to bands such as Amon Amarth, Bathory, and even Blind Guardian are justified but what sets Orna Annon apart from simple idolatry is that they have combined elements from all the aforementioned bands into a new musical entity. Vocals range from harsh growls to soaring choir sections and every song is filled with a wide variety of guitar riffs to bang your head to and enjoy.

For simplicities sake I am going to break this review down into two chunks, the good and the “needs improvement” section. The vocals on this demo are by far the best feature of the band. Kyle McCrane has the talent and the ability to deliver a harsh, deep growl and when the song needs it a solid clear clean tone. Much of what makes the songs memorable is his voice, such as in the opener Heir to the Throne. While musically this is a straightforward melodic metal song with some harsh tinges to it the huge epic chorus seals the deal and makes this one of the best moments on the demo. Guitars are rich and full and have just the right amount of bite in them to make the songs aggressive without being too overbearing to the point where they are heavy just for the sake of it. There are plenty of riffs to enjoy but the band never feels the need to have a riff a minute so that they can show off their technical proficiency. What is also endearing is that Orna Annon have the ability to capture a sense of epic grandeur in their songs and keep them under the seven minute mark. Forodor is one such track and is a nice mid tempo tune with predominately clean vocals. About halfway through the blood is quickened by a drastic time change and a rousing chant section that brings the energy levels all the way up and keep them at this fever pitch until the conclusion.

Despite these high marks and comments there are parts of this demo that need improvement. The first and foremost detractor is the relatively dry production. Sometimes the harsh vocals sound brittle as if the singer’s throat is bone dry and about to tear open from the strain. The mix is a little muddy as well and gives the impression that there is a blanket over my speakers and this takes away a bit from the epic nature of the band. Also, the keyboards need some work, they practically ruined The Black Sea: March of the Cephalopds for me. They sound too airy and light, instead of filling me with a sense of awe and wonderment I just thought about my friends Casio back home. I am aware that not everyone can hire Fredrik Nordstrom or be endorsed by Korg and because of this I don’t want to berate the band that forcefully for these two shortcomings.

Even though the production is sorely lacking, the songs themselves are strong enough that I find myself enjoying this particular cd more and more with each listen. The most important part of any band is the collective talent of all the members and their abilities to write good songs and Orna Annon have that by the bucket load. Time is on this band's side, I believe that they can only get better as the years go by. I look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.

Killing Songs :
Heir to the Throne and Forodor
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:07 pm
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