OH Suite - OH Suite (2013)
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
OH Suite is a relaxing progressive symphonic rock and metal project by Olli Hurskainen, known as the mastermind of the particularly soft Finnish metal band Epiclore (on hold right now). As with that band, OH Suite is on the edge of neoclassical and symphonic music, along with progressive rock and maybe a slight dose of power metal. There really isn’t much metal in this project, but it’s absolutely great music. For this one-man project that Olli had been working on over many years, he practically did everything on his own, from performing vocals over playing acoustic, classical, electric, and bass guitar; taking care of all keyboard, piano, and programming; and writing and composing all lyrics and all music. Not to mention the production and mixing of this output.
The final result is a dreamy neoclassical escape to different spheres of laid back happiness and spiritual peace in eleven parts. I must underline that despite its positive and calm sound, OH Suite is nowhere close to most “flowery” metal bands that may sound similar, thanks to a more intellectual and sophisticated approach. OH Suite also sounds a lot less goofy and far more mature than the sometimes too-happy approach of Epiclore. It sounds, in fact, like an improved version of Epiclore that finds its very own niche in a collision of different progressive and symphonic genres. The hypnotizing music here has amazing growth potential and offers a lot to discover between catchier tracks like “Renaissance” to ambitious epics like the more than thirteen-minute long melodic closer “A Pioneer’s Tale”. Another track that I might point out is the Stratovarius-inspired bonus track “The Mirage”, which is maybe my favorite song on the record. It’s a calmer track, but at the same time the most vivid piece of music here. It differs excitingly from the ten regular tracks, but still fits in perfectly. The melodies are quite catchy, and give this track potential to be a single in my opinion.
This record has grown on me with each spin, but you must be in the right mood to open up to this album. As a comparison, I would probably cite Timo Tolkki’s laid back solo albums as well as calmer records by progressive rock icons such as Genesis, Pendragon, or Yes. If you like these bands, OH Suite is exactly your kind of thing, and this album is better than Tolkki’s controversial solo records. I hope that Hurskainen keeps working on this unique style. Epiclore and OH Suite are definitely bands and projects that I will never get out of my mind, in comparison to so many other exchangeable progressive and symphonic metal bands, thanks to their very own style. No matter if you like it or not, this sound is something one can’t deny, and it might yet give these projects a very special status in the history of rock and metal music one day.
4.0 // 5