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OSTROGOTH - LAST TRIBE STANDING

Review by George Falconer

 

This band makes us Belgians very proud. Formed in 1976 and having delivered their first demo in 1983, these guys can be called veterans. Their latest release dates from 1987. Ostrogoth is known around the world for some fine classics and memorable tracks. In 2012 the band was asked to do a show at the Keep It True festival in Germany. It was such a success that Ostrogoth decided to stay together and move on. With two original members, (Mario 'Grizzly' Pauwels and Rudy 'Whiteshark' Vercruysse) an amazing new vocalist (Josey Hindrix), a very talented axe-grinder (Dario Frodo) and a swifting bass player (Stripe) they released a new EP in January 2015, called Last Tribe Standing. It was brought out by the Empire Records label from Belgium.

 

Before I am going to talk about the music on this EP, you should take a look at the breathtaking cover art. An amazing painting was used, made by Velio Josto. He combined light blue colours together with darker ones. The scorpion, known from the Ecstacy And Danger album is also present. On a flag pole we can see the lightning bolt logo. Personally I can't wait for a vinyl release which will make this piece of art even more outstanding. The Ostrogoth logo is the same one as the debut EP 'Full Moon's Eyes', a wink to the old days.

 

There are four new songs on the EP. The B side offers recent live versions of the songs on the debut. The first track is called 'No Risk Taken'. It opens with a well-composed and melodic intro. Then we get a short period of silence, followed by a very slow and heavy guitar riff. When the drums kick in, the song sets off. This is not your typical Ostrogoth, but is very progressive and has been geniusly composed. What follows is the song "Clouds". A real fast riff breaker. Pure heavy metal and neck breaking. Melodic vocals by Josey fits the song very well and gives it a touch of Power Metal. The third track is called 'Return To The Heroes Museum'. A name that sounds very familiar, and so does the song. I won't tell too much about this one, go check it out! The final song and title track 'Last Tribe Standing' is my favorite. Starts with awesome bass sweeps and seems very progressive as well. I love the way they evolved and the musical direction Ostrogoth is going.

After the four new songs follows the raw live recordings of the four old songs found at the debut EP. Definitely worth checking out!

 

Conclusion: Ostrogoth did an extremely very well done job. Hopefully the band keeps moving on in this direction and will deliver another full album in the near future!

 

My ratings: 90/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

 

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OSTROGOTH - LAST TRIBE STANDING

(Empire Records)

Review by Stefan

 

By the death of Rudy ‘WhiteShark’ Vercruysse, Belgium loses one of its Classic Heavy Metal figureheads – he was the first guitarist of Ghent based Ostrogoth fame and during the last few years, he was a member of cover band Wolfgang as well. Rudy lost the fight against the incurable disease, liver cancer and will be missed for sure. Even in his battle against this bizarre illness, Rudy continued to perform live until the last of his strength. The last show dated from December 6th. where Rudy and Ostrogoth played for the very last time together as one big family ! The venue located in Wippelgem was totally sold out – it was a night the present Ostrogoth fans won’t soon forget.

 

WhiteShark has always known that, when the connection with Ostrogoth would go down due to unpredictable conditions, his replacer must be Geert Annijs. Back in the days, Geert was the guitar player in bands like Thunderfire, Stainless Steel and Universe. A significant fact and FYI, he also participated in the recordings of the Mystery’s debut album. Mystery was a Belgian Melodic Hard Rock band featuring Peter De Wint (ex-Crossfire).

 

Since established back in the early 80s, my respect and dignity to Ostrogoth has always been warmly, that’s why I feel excited spreading the word of their brand new effort entitled “Last Tribe Standing”. The release is planned for January 23th. 2015 and the cut will be produced by second axeman Dario Frodo (also active in 23 Acez and Gemini Season) and mixing master Pete Musch. Jacob Hansen (Pretty Maids, Volbeat, Evergrey, Epica,…) took the mastering duties for his account. The fact that this is their first album since 1987 makes “The Last Tribe” even more special, be prepared for 4 new songs and four live recordings of their masterful, legendary EP called “Full Moon’s Eyes”, officially unleashed in 1983 through Mausoleum Records. The live songs have been recording during the last few years, with new line-up basically. A reflection, a remembrance, actually an homage to the good old days of Belgian Heavy Metal… Ostrogoth still rules with an iron hand !

 

“Last Tribe Standing” introduces the new guys Josey Hindrix on vocals, bassist Stripe and guitarist Dario ‘Mister’ Frodo. These new players are surrounded by original veterans Mario ‘Grizzly’ Pauwels on drums and of course the deplored Heavy Metal hero, Rudy Vercruysse … the end result of “Last Tribe Standing” is phenomenal !

 

Ostrogoth’s good old style Heavy Metal has remained as it was back in the 80s, the new songs are in the line of “Full Moon’s Eyes” / “Ecstacy And Danger” albums. The nowadays vocalist of Ostrogoth does reminds me of the first Tokyo Blade singer named Alan Marsh or even Blackie Lawless during the early days of WASP. The slightly vibrating vocal use of Ostrogoth’s new frontman fits perfectly with the overall package, great job Josey ! Also the new guitar player Dario Frodo delivers the best of the best, riffing and soloing all the way out and the melodic togetherness with Rudy Vercruysse to work out contagious.

 

Opener ‘No Risk Taken’ has a dark character and give the perfect picture of Ostrogoth anno 2015. Heavy guitars including technical leads, great original vocals, killer bass lines and deafening, hard-hitting drums. The magic, widely coveted ‘Heroes Museum’, family to us from the Full Moon’s Eyes cut, gets a successor by the title of ‘Return Of The Heroes Museum’. The early Iron Maiden influences and fast guitar rhythms still grab me by the throat, Ostrogoth has made a good decision to give this legendary number a second life, it exudes pure class ! The guitar riff on ‘Clouds’ make me blazing enthusiast, for some reason I’d like to compare with Dave Mustaine’s legendary riffage on the song ‘My Last Words’ (album: ‘Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying” – 1986). The title track displays the ideal exemplary of a mighty good band which, after the release of their last album in 1987, proves that they still belong to the absolutely greats of Heavy Metal music. What a beautiful song to close out the series of new songs.

 

To conclude I can only speak with much praise and appreciation about Ostrogoth’s new effort “Last Tribe Standing”. A hot burning fusion of both old and brand new compositions… trust me on my word of honour, the end result is vertiginous good ! We unfortunately have to say goodbye to a much appreciated musician named Rudy ‘WhiteShark’ Vercruysse and despite the grief of all band members, Ostrogoth announced that they will be back soon to spoil us with more authentic, brilliant Heavy Metal music born and elated in Ghent-Belgium!

 

CD release of “Last Tribe Standing” is planned for March 7th. 2015 at a venue called De Kreun, Kortrijk where they will lead the bill of Up The Belgians! Fest, a great initiative of Alcatraz Metal Festival. Check out the other bands and more info at: http://www.alcatraz.be/nl/clubshows

 

Order your own “Last Tribe Standing” CD/LP via: https://www.facebook.com/empirerecordsbe. Ostrogoth’s official homepage can be viewed at: http://www.ostrogothofficial.com/ , Facebookers check out THIS link. A strong album that’ll get high ranking in my own 2015 Top 20 album list, that’s for sure. A big welcome back to one of the greatest bands in the history of Belgian Heavy Metal, OSTROGOTH !

 

My rating: 92/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

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