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Ogre’s Strength Grows Threefold with “Hive Mind,” Solidifying into Rock

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The name Ogre is perfect for a traditional metal band with classic rock sensibilities. The image of a lumbering, grotesque, powerful, and solitary creature fits in perfectly with the expected Neolithic riffs and plodding tempos. It was such an impeccable moniker, actually, that an Idaho bar band took the name in the early 1970s — the Portland, Maine group that later took the name showed their respect by covering one of their songs “Soulless Woman” on 2014’s The Last Neanderthal.

It took five years for the band to release the follow-up Thrice as Strong (hitting shelves on October 25th). That’s not too surprising since the band has always been deliberate: since forming in 1999, this is only their fifth album, though a hiatus from 2009-2013 didn’t catalyze things (the preceding LP was the culmination of their comeback). What is surprising is how Ogre has always kept a consistent line-up (Ed Cunningham on bass and vocals, guitarist Ross Markonish, and Will Broadbent on drums) and how, 20 years after forming, they now find themselves with Cruz del Sur Music, perhaps their biggest opportunity yet.

And it makes sense, because Thrice as Strong is the strongest album the trio has released. The band’s overwhelming love for Black Sabbath is made abundantly clear; however it’s more than just Markonish wringing out proto-doom from his guitar and Cunningham’s nasal wail. A lot of bands approximate Iommi and Osbourne, but Ogre instead more delicately captures the atmosphere that seminal bands heretofore have conjured.

Those feelings of “sludgy hash smoke” influenced Gothic music and a few witty metal bands, with Ogre executing on one of the finer jobs capturing that essence. This is made no clearer than on Thrice as Strong‘s second track “Hive Mind,” premiering exclusively below. Ogre feels out the Brummie boogie quite nicely, letting a rollicking riff and Broadbent’s crash cymbals genuinely swing. The song also shares Sabbath’s well-known tropes of modernity gone tragically wrong, something beneficially present on the rest of Thrice as Strong. Dig in.

Markonish said the following regarding Thrice as Strong and “Hive Mind”:

“Hive Mind” is a song that we first started working on four to five years ago, shortly after we released our prior album The Last Neanderthal, making it the “oldest” song on Thrice as Strong. At the time, we were flirting with the idea of writing a more straight-up rock album with shorter songs and “Hive Mind” stood out as the best of the bunch (you can decide for yourself whether or not a nearly six-minute track should be considered “short,” but it certainly is in the Ogre universe!) — it’s got all the classic Ogre elements, a balance of heavy 1970s rock and doom elements and plenty of riffs. It has gone over really well with our hometown crowds, fitting right in with our older material. Lyrically, this album focuses a bit more on present-day woes, rather than our usual tales of the distant past or far future; “Hive Mind” is no exception. Here, Ed tackles the issue of how we’ve become slaves to our technology, a familiar tale for sure, but one that still needs to be told.

Thrice as Strong releases October 25th via Cruz del Sur Music. Vinyl preorders here and CDs here. Stream another single below:

Ogre celebrates their 20th anniversary (and the album’s release) with a hometown show at Geno’s Rock Club in Portland, Maine on December 14th.

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