Tucked away in the most northeastern part of the United States in Maine, the members of Ogre have taken on the resilient nature of the place they call home.
Upon their 1999 formation, the trio of Ed Cunningham (bass/vocals), Ross Markonish (guitar) and Will Broadbent (drums) penned “Age of Ice,” a rallying cry and anthem reflective of Maine life. The song exemplifies the Ogre live experience — their shows often require attendees to trudge through piles of snow just to get there — conjuring up a unifying spirit when the first doom-edged guitar chords are hit.
The band’s embrace of all things Maine has carried them through their existence, all the while helping them forge a path as a doom outfit unwilling to bend to convention. It shines through on their fifth full-length and first for Cruz Del Sur Music, Thrice as Strong.
Thrice as Strong is a collection of time-honored doom mixed with classic metal, roping in obscure ’70s rock to top it all off. The Thrice as Strong album title comes from their namesake song “Ogre,” which is found on their Dawn of the Proto-Man debut. Given that the song is written about the last living Neanderthal, Broadbent zeroed in on the line “thrice as strong” and proposed it as the title as a summation of the way Ogre has endured for the past 20 years. Furthermore, it hits upon the fact that, according to Markonish:
if it’s not a trio, then it’s not Ogre at all!
The album will be released on October 25th 2019.
What an interesting listen Thrice as Strong is. For starters, it’s very much an early doom album but not immediately clear. Instead The Future showcases a band with an ear for the old-school rock and metal too. The guitar riffs and the vocals sound positively aged and it’s so damn catchy. The shaky rhythm over-laid with a deep and throbbing doom sound is wonderful.
Momentum is very high as the three-piece head into the Hive Mind. Initially it’s more of the same until around the halfway point, it slows down for a delicate handling of guitar led doominess. Darker and much more moody, it’s very impressive.
Back to the bouncy rock and roll side of things for Big Man, an energetic blast from the past. Judgement Day then deals with the strong topic of religion and power which adds weight to the already hefty groove. Blood of Winter follows that with a humongous’ trip into the mind of Ogre. A little bit psychedelic, a whole lot of molasses covered doom and injections of rockier pace to cleanse the palette. Just in time for the band’s tribute to Maine legend, Stephen King.
Following King of the Wood, Cyber-Czar then ends things in very groovy fashion. High energy up to a point and then Ogre slam the breaks on for a filthy break into low doomy riffing. Bloody awesome.
Ogre – Thrice as Strong Full Track Listing:
1. The Future
2. Hive Mind
3. Big Man
4. Judgement Day
5. Blood of Winter
6. King of the Wood
Ogre - Thrice As Strong (Cruz Del Sur Music)
The Final Score - 8.5/10