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Englund, Ola: Master Of The Universe

Swedish guitarist, producer, member of The Haunted and Feared and YouTube sensation, Ola Englund has stepped away from his computer to release a 6 track album. Master Of The Universe is Ola’s first solo album and he self-described this piece of as, “something else from what I’ve previously released and where the style could be described as a mixture of Progressive Rock and Metal with both 80’s and 90’s influences, yet with a modern sound”. That is exactly what you get with Master Of The Universe, Ola’s signature heavy and saturated guitar tones mixed with elegant cleans and subtle nuances.

Ola Englund indeed digs deep with this instrumental album and explores different aspects of his playing on this first foray of his solo career. You expect the heavier styles of his bands like The Haunted, but what you might not expect is the spatial and textural side of things like the suite of “Solar Part 1 & 2” (both parts are over 11 minutes long each). Ola channels his inner Opeth (…well they’re Swedish too!) and delves into an almost 70’s like Prog Rock ride with beautiful clean tones and warm songwriting sensibilities, but don’t him fool you because then he enters back into the heavy world of modern guitar with some tasty lead work. Ola even gets some funky chops in there, which adds a nice bit taste along with the Petrucci-like fueled runs.

“Pizza Hawaii” (which I have constantly kept calling Pizza Highway for some reason!) is a good opener for this record and sets up the pace nicely. There are some well executed guitar lines in this melodic opener and quite a ways away from anything that I would call “shred guitar” and I for one am quite pleased. Ola instead paints a tapestry of tones and lets you digest it all, as opposed to bluntly hitting you over the head with a barrage of note dense runs. “Cereberus” steps into a heavy detuned, chunk that is more Ola-like. The main riff is so thick and full of teeth that it grabs you and doesn’t let go.

The main thing you get from Ola Englund’s first solo effort is a dose of heavy melodic playing within some diverse music that allows him to play to some tasty runs without being self-indulgent. Master Of The Universe is a well written and produced album that is heavy, melodic and thoughtful. It is well paced and not at all boring, which can be a problem with some instrumental guitar albums. Ola got this one right.

Track Listing
1) Pizza Hawaii
2) Cerberus
3) Solar Part 1
4) That YouTube Song
5) Solar Part 2
6) Slutet på Skivan

Added: June 22nd 2019
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 287
Language: english

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