OSUKARU – Triumphant (2013)
* read comments, Oz speaks
For the last five years, Swedish guitarist Oz Osukaru has been tirelessly fighting to position his band at the top of the Melodic Rock / AOR field.
After two albums, several line-up changes (including different vocalists) and the aim to refine and polish the songwriting to achieve a unique sound resulted in OSUKARU’s brand new CD “Triumphant”.
This new Osukaru not only features a new singer in Fredrik Werner (who also plays guitar), there’s also a female singer – Cecilia Camuii – sharing the leads. Musically, the experiment in previous recordings adding sax lines to the mix has been accentuated, which works really well giving to Osukaru a different approach than the rest of the acts in this genre.
Talking about genres, “Triumphant” shows the band much more inclined to Melodic Rock than the characteristical AOR sound of Osukaru’s origins. Of course, there’s ever present keyboards and melodies strongly Scandi sounding like in “Heaven In Your Eyes” (one of the best tracks here) and even some Westcoast scent in “Cruise Control”, but this album mostly go for Melodic Rock.
The dynamic “Mafia Rules” is one of the hardest songs, while title track “Triumphant”, “I Won’t Let You Go” and specially “The Fire Burns On” are catchy melodic rockers, while “Never Play With Fire” is an original composition worked in a quite different way that you expect from this type of bands / genre. “Believe” is a cool ballad, with vocals shared between both singers, as on many tracks on this recording.
Oz Osukaru is a talented musician and a very generous person, as on “Triumphant” he gives to the rest of his crew a lot of room to develop these songs. Fredrik Werner isn’t only relegated to his vocal duties, he shares some lead guitars as well, and the sax Jens Björk can be heard all over (a really good musician), but this, ironically, leaves Oz guitar work too much buried in the mix on many tracks, subtracting punch to the overall delivery.
One of the problems with “Triumphant” is the lack of impact, few songs have that ‘instant’ kick essential in Melodic (Hard) Rock. Besides, and not a minor point, both singers are pretty weak in my opinion. Werner does his best on the more uptempo numbers, while Cecilia Camuii may look really gorgeous on stage, but vocally she rarely hits the mark.
I loved Osukaru previous works, but I am not sure if “Triumphant” is a step forward in this band’s career. As said, Oz is a skilled musician and a really cool guy, surely he will untiringly try to improve this flaws next time.
“Triumphant” has its moments, if you’re into Scandi Melodic Rock give it a listen.
01. Dawning (Intro)
03. Heaven in Your Eyes
04. Prisoner of the Night
05. Walk in Balance
06. Holding On to Memories
07. Cruise Control
08. Mafia Rules
09. I Won’t Let You Go
10. Never Play With Fire
12. The Fire Burns On
Oz Ozukaru: guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Fredrik Werner: vocals, guitars, backing vocals
Cecilia Camuii: vocals, backing vocals
Jenz Björk: sax
Adrian Lopez: piano, keyboards
Ryan Cole: drums on tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 7. 8, 11
Axel Ryberg: drums on tracks 4, 9, 10, 12
Erik Heikne: guest guitars on “Mafia Rules”
BUY IT !
If you buy the CD version; there’s 2 exclusive bonus tracks to enjoy: