Finnish power metal act OZ have been in existence since the late '70s, but haven't released any new studio material since 1991, so here they are with a new line-up put together by drummer & founder Mark Ruffneck and a new album for AFM Records, titled Transition State. The current incarnation of OZ consists of:
Mark Ruffneck – Drums & Percussion
Vince Kojvula – Vocals
Johnny Gross – Guitar
Juzzy Kangas – Guitar
Peppy Peltola – Bass
What we have here in Transition State is, for the band anyway, a transition into this new configuration, but the recent additions have fit right in and have helped Ruffneck deliver another very solid platter of melodic power metal, chock full of anthemic hooks and crunchy musical arrangements. Kojvula is quite the find, a powerful singer who can deliver soaring high pitched wails as well as a venomous mid range snarl, which you can hear both on the addicting "Heart of a Beast" as well as the vibrant heavy metal opener "Bone Cruncher". On "Drag You to Tell", Gross & Kangas toss in a wealth of tasty lead harmony solos and riffs, while both "The Witch" and "We'll Never Die" are Judas Priest/Primal Fear styled rippers, complete with kick ass vocals from a shrieking Kojvula. "In the Shadow of a Shotgun" and "The Mountain" follows suit, though perhaps with a touch of Iron Maiden inspired majestic gallop, "Whore of Babylon" adds in a touch of doom, and the savage "Demonized" is raging Euro-power metal at its very best, an easy recommendation for any fan of Helloween.
For a band who haven't hit the studio in over 25 years, not to mention have gone through an almost complete line-up overhaul, Transition State is an absolute winner, and easily one of the best comeback albums of 2017. Highly recommended!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Bone Crusher
3. Heart Of A Beast
4. Drag You To Hell
5. Whore Of Babylon (Bonus Track)
6. The Witch
7. In A Shadow Of A Shotgun
8. Never Close Your Eyes
9. The Mountain
11. We'll Never Die
12. Sister Red (Bonus Track)
13. Midnight Screams (Bonus Track)