Let me get all the stereotypes out of the way for you. I was a latecomer in regards to Ola Englund and The Haunted years ago, I wasn’t there from the beginning of his band. He’s a phenomenal guitarist who’s highly underrated and more diverse than people want to give him credit for. Yeah he can play some cool melodic leads and some quicker stuff, but man…..the guy has always been a riffer. And yeah, his first solo album isn’t what you’d expect…..point number 2. He isn’t that flashy guitarist who is doing his darnedest to rip off Michael Angelo Batio. England wrote SONGS, not guitar clinics. Some people shy away from guitarist adventures, because they actually can be shred-a-thons and not focus on songs as a whole. That’s where one of his strengths come into play….his riffing and songwriting, not overdoing guitar leads ON EVERY PART.
Here’s my third point…..it’s not obscenely heavy, believe it or not. It’s actually a big nod to progressive music even classic prog rock from the 70’s and years gone by. There’s even some brass and piano on some of his songs! No, you’re not getting an instrumental death metal offering it’s actually extremely versed. Again I’ll hammer home the point he’s more diverse than most people think he is. It’s a truly unique display of music that is his own, and has a broad sound that is far from sounding like he’s imitating anyone. There’s even some slight moments of jazz here and there, as well. It’s a truly great experience. Ola is himself, and boy does it ever show in this unique album.
Let’s not forget the fact he’s a successful Youtuber in this modern age, and not only makes informative videos with a stellar side of comedy…..but also has his own guitar company Solar Guitars. This man is a modern day Renaissance Man in regards to music….not only writing and playing, but making videos AND a guitar company. Oh, and he PRODUCED this album too. Again….the versatility of Englund shines as bright as it ever has right now. He puts his heart and soul into his music, and it was put on huge display for his first solo album. The album is absolutely crammed to with melodic sections, clean guitar parts and stellar drumming as well. The occasional keyboard parts and specifically the sultry sweet saxophone in “Solar Part 2” is a ridiculously beautiful and moody addition to a well rounded album.
“Master Of The Universe” is such a cool album that goes against these stereotypes you’d expect from a metalhead in a successful band, and shows sides you don’t really see in The Haunted. If you want to try something new, give Ola’s debut a serious look. The album officially will be released on March 24th, so get your preorder in and dive into the deep creative mind of Ola Englund.
Here’s one of the epics, incase you weren’t convinced.