It really is a time of transition for Finnish heavy metal cult act OZ. The band, founded and led by drummer Mark Ruffneck, now finally appears back on the surface with a new studio album – which is not only their first all new songs release since 1991 (!) but also featured a new line-up.
“When OZ’ North American club tour ended in May 2013 and we were flying back to Sweden, we were facing the worst reality shock in our lives. Our family members were fighting against cancer and they were losing their fights”, OZ drummer and founding member Mark Ruffneck recalls. “All core members of OZ were getting that kind of family issues so we saw ourselves forced to put the band on the hold. To get control over our situations was very time consuming and simply didn’t leave us any time to concentrate on music sadly. Our Swedish guitar players Michel Santunione, John Berg and also Jay C Blade stand-in Johannes Sandberg were focusing their own music projects and then also it turned out that Ape DeMartini (vocals) wouldn’t find the time to write the next OZ chapter with me. Things in a way came full circle when I got in touch with a pack of young, hungry musicians from OZ’ old home town Pori/Björneborg in Finland, so we can say that we were going back to OZ roots. We organized a band meeting with Johnny Cross (guitar), Juzzy Kangas (guitar) and Peppi Peltola (bass), made some plans for the future and started rehearsing together”, Ruffneck states.
The new line-up started writing new songs right away and not so much later already had enough songs for a new album. As a replacement for Ape DeMartini, Vince Kojvula took over the vacant position.
“Transition State” shows a new incarnation of OZ which will disappoint no fan. OZ doesn’t fail to impress with thirteen cracking and fresh, traditional metal tracks of immensely high quality. They are as strong as ever and continue to haunt you with the relentless, uncompromising sound they are known for!
With the help of engineer and producer Mika Borgersen as well as the mixing/ mastering skills of Lars Chriss (Lion’s Share) and Mike Lind, “Transition State” became a must-have for all heavy metal maniacs! Six years after OZ returned from their long hiatus with the “Burning Leather” compilation release (which featured re-recorded classic tracks and a bunch of new songs), OZ now prove with their all new song album since 1991 that they are still a powerful force to be reckoned with. Enjoy this transition!
OZ formed in the late 70‘s in Finland. Their debut album “Heavy Metal Heroes” arrived in 1982. Only a year later, OZ implemented a milestone of Scandinavian heavy metal with “Fire In The Brain”, whose influential effect should become obvious years later. Using the “Turn The Cross Upside Down” EP and its title track, OZ then gained the peak of their popularity. Even today it is very much this song that metal fans connect with OZ.
And the band, whose members by then had moved from Finland to Sweden, stayed reliable with album releases: “III Warning”, “Decibel Storm” and “Roll The Dice” until 1991, before the band split up.
The long hiatus was over in 2011, when OZ signed with AFM to release the “Burning Leather” compilation and 2017 finally sees the band releasing a brand new heavy metal gem in “Transition State”.
01. Bone Crusher
03. Heart Of A Beast
04. Drag You To Hell
05. Whore Of Babylon (Bonus Track)
06. The Witch
07. In A Shadow Of A Shotgun
08. Never Close Your Eyes
09. The Mountain
11. We’ll Never Die
12. Sister Red (Bonus Track)
13. Midnight Screams (Bonus Track)
– Vince Kojvula – vocals
– Mark Ruffneck – drums
– Peppy Peltola – bass
– Johnny Cross – guitar
– Juzzy Kangas – guitar