Metal, Progressive Metal

Ola Englund – Master of the Universe (Review)

Band / Artist: Ola Englund
Album: Master of the Universe
Genre: Progressive / Instrumental Metal
Country: Sweden
Release date: 24th of March
Self-released
Cover artwork © Ola Englund 2019

It’s Saturday of the Easter weekend and it’s time for my first review here on the Transcended Music Blog.
Okay, which album could be the right one? Let’s think about it: It’s Easter, on Easter we are all sad because of Jesus.
And when I remember Jesus, I always need to think of Ola Englund. Do you know him? There you go…

Ola Englund is not just a Jesus-lookalike but also guitarist for bands like The Haunted or Feared and played guitar on the 2013 album Unborn by Six Feet Under as well. He is also a You-Tube phenomenon (yeah, I like his channel), and owns his personal guitar brand with Solar Guitars. On the 24th of March he released, on his own, his first ever solo album named Master of the Universe, a fully instrumental album, six tracks long, with a playtime of roundabout 43 minutes. We have two long tracks, named “Solar Pt. 1” and “Solar Pt. 2” with 11:42 and 11:21 minutes playtime, which built half of the album, the other tracks last a little more than 5 minutes, except the last one “Slutet pa skivan” (translation: End of the album), which is the shortest track with 3 minutes.

To be honest, as I read the titles first I wasn’t that happy, because I think that “Pizza Hawaii” and “That YouTube Song” aren’t good titles for this kind of music. When you think of the other bands Ola plays in, you would expect some sort of Death Metal – but then you would be wrong. Olas first solo album is a quite progressive piece of music. Of course the guitar is the most important instrument on the album. It is not just playing hard staccato riffs, but also more tastefully lead-lines. However, because of the non-comedic music the titles make you think of a wrong direction of music. I’m not sure if this is well-calculated, Olas kind of humor or just the way it is.

“Solar Pt.1” surprises with a calm and sad piano intro, some clean guitars and even some jazzy bass and guitar parts starting at 8:18 minute. I really didn’t expect this. Forget about Death Metal on this album, and start think about a Dream Theater without the awful singer and the exaggerated keys. Ola doesn’t try to do the Petrucci, don’t get me wrong. Ola does his own thing here on this album, tries to go his way and doesn’t fear experiments, like the saxophone on “Solar Pt.2” and even more jazzy parts.

Ola plays Sax? No, he doesn’t, he has invited some guest musicians. Jonas Kullhammar is a real jazz saxophonist playing on this album. The drums have been played by Delta Empire, a masked man with a YouTube-Channel of his own, full of drum covers from very different artist. Ola plays piano? Yes, he does. That was the first instrment he learned to play, and I think he does a good job here. Mixing and mastering was done by Ermin Harmidovic, who worked for bands like Periphery, Animals as Leaders or Devin Townsend as a producer and mixer.
So you see, we don’t need to talk about the quality of the sound, do we? Ermin also released a book called The Systematic Mixing Guide which got quite famous
in the home-recording community on the internet. I can really recommened this book to everybody who wants to start recording and mixing his own music.

I cannot only recommened the book of the producer of this album, though, but also the album itself.
Good job I would say, and everbody who likes progressive music should take the risk and give the album a chance.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

8 / 10 in my opinion

As usual, we added the two favorite tracks to our Transcended Review Playlist

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