Wim R. : I still remember reading info and reviews on Finnish metallers Oz in magazines in the early eighties, when their album ‘Fire in The Brain’ was quite a cult classic. But time goes by and in 2017 only drummer Mark Ruffneck remains as the last of the Vikings. Even that bald lead singer Ape DeMartini has left the band not that long ago. Still the band is alive, and proves this with their new effort ‘Transition State’.
Most of the thirteen songs on ‘Transition State’ have been written by guitarist Mark Cross. And relax, the songs are well rooted in the eighties period when metal was a big thing and Oz was a big name.
The new singer Vince Koivula fits the band perfectly with his metal vocal chords. Been a while since you heard true metal screams? Call Koivula, he will deliver. Opener ‘Bonecrusher’ and ‘Heart Of A Beast’ remind me of early Accept during their ‘Breaker’ period. And that is meant as a positive remark to be clear. Guitarists Kangas and Cross really shine on this album with true metal riffing, soloing and screeching sounds; lovely! Ruffneck and bass player Peppi Peltola deliver a more then solid base. ‘Whore of Babylon’ is a slow and heavy track where Koivula really shines calling out that whore. And it is a short step from a whore to a witch in the Oz camp. ‘Witch’ again flattens you with its pace and furious riffs. But the real highlight on this album to me is ‘Mountain’. With some acoustic guitar added and epic backing vocals this song is the most convincing to my ears (you got to choose, don’t you?). ‘We’ll Never Die’ is! guaranteed to get the fans singing if they play it live.
What a comeback Oz makes with ‘Transition State’! Sure, it is a blueprint for music made may years ago, but who cares if you do it this way? I do not know if Oz was ever booked fort he Keep It True festival, but if they never played there; book them right now I say. And where did I leave my denim metal vest? Old school metal is back baby!