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Orphanage: Driven (remaster)

Driven is the 2004 release from Dutch gothic metal band Orphanage, originally released on Nuclear Blast and now remastered and reissued by Metal Mind Productions. Orphanage broke up a year after this, their fourth release, and sadly never achieved the acclaim other acts from their country achieved, such as Within Temptation, Epica, and After Forever. The band featured the dual vocalist approach in the form of Rosan van der Aa and George Ossthoek, guitarist Guus Eikens, drummer Sureel, keyboard player Lasse Dellbrugge, and bassist Remko van der Spek. As has been the norm in the whole 'symphonic gothic metal' genre for quite a while now, Driven is filled with the dueling ethereal female vocals / harsh male growls/grunts/screams, heavy guitar riffs, and atmospheric keyboards.

There's a good reason why Orphanage never hit the same level of acceptance that their contemporaries did-it's all about the songs, and while Driven has its fair share of enjoyable tunes, there's nothing here that's going to be deemed as 'classic' five years from now. Oh wait, it's already been five years since Driven was released, and still most of you have probably never heard of this band? My point. Despite this, there's a lot to like here. Ossthoek's growls are pretty damn good, in fact, he more than overpowers Aa's vocals on most of these tunes. She has a pleasant voice, but it's just not strong enough to combat the lethal growls of Ossthoek. A perfect example is on the throbbing "Prophecies Of Fame", where each time Rosan starts to acent to the heavens, George comes crashing in with this evil grunts and lays her to waste. One of the great things about Epica and After Forever is that the female singers more than hold their own, and really are the focal point, while the growls add a great secondary element. Ossthoek's growls are very strong, but with the female vocals just not compelling enough, and the songs themselves just not very memorable, the overall picture suffers a bit.

Fret not, expect some solid gothic metal here, especially in the form of "My Master's Master", the crushing "In Slavery", the mysterious "Black Magic Mirror", and the compelling title track, the latter easily Rosan's best vocal performance on the CD. After hearing her gorgeous delivery on this one, you'll wish she sang more like this on the rest of the CD. Overall, this is a decent release, and worthy of a purchase if you like the whole symphonic gothic metal genre. It ain't Epica, After Forever, Nightwish, or Within Temptation, but it has its merits.

Track Listing
01. The Sign
02. Black Magic Mirror
03. Cold
04. Prophecies Of Fame
05. Dead Ground
06. My Master's Master
07. Back Gate
08. In Slavery
09. Truth Or Lies
10. Driven
11. Infinity
12. Addiction
13. Beyond The Fall
14. Ender's Game

Added: November 3rd 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Metal Mind Productions
Hits: 1306
Language: english

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