It can be quite easy to forget in all our excitement to return to normal life, just how extraordinary and traumatic the pandemic was for us all. And while some of us are in a hurry to forget and move on, others remain skeptical, not looking to forgive or forget so soon. It’s no secret that not all is what it seems, and in the past few years it has become clear that we don’t have the control over our own lives we thought we did. Those that work in the dark do not have our interests at heart, and while some of us, content with our restored freedom, will go gentle into that good night – Ohpen Ahrms are here to shed light, and to fight.

Ohpen Ahrms have cooked up quite a treat for us in the form of their debut album Lying Beside You. Recorded from 2021-2023 at Narwhal Studios and Hypercube Studios, this labor of love is set for independent release this March 15. Both the band and album title are in reference to 80s legends Journey and their classic album Escape. And while they share the same stadium-sized flair for the dramatic, Ohpen Ahrms are Journey if they lived long enough to see themselves become the villain. Sitting somewhere between heavy progressive rock and shoegaze, Ohpen Ahrms harken to a golden age of theatrical rock and iconic riffs, complete with anthemic power and imagery of grand destruction. Lying Beside You is a brooding journey of introspection, and tackles themes of societal trauma, mental health, and governmental tyranny. I’m certain this is an LP worth getting hyped for, and it is my distinct pleasure to unveil to you today, “Spun in the Dark”.

“Spun in the Dark” is, in the words of vocalist and frontman Alan Strathmann, ‘a call-to-arms and a spitting at our complicity in allowing ourselves to be dulled.’ It’s a truly epic track, aimed at conjuring images of the giant, all consuming machine that is the evil intentions of our governments, and our just uprising, fighting back from the shadows. The track begins with melodramatic overdriven guitar, tone straight from the heyday of power metal, set on a backdrop of percussion that booms like war drums. Opening up quickly with soaring guitars, and complex riffing, I was immediately reminded of prog titans King Crimson and Mastodon. In the same way the latter band was able to use modality and complex sonic tapestries to invoke Tsarist Russia in Crack the SkyeOhpen Ahrms sets a soundscape of disarray and destruction as far as the eye can see, an image of the governmental cogs rolling over the dregs of a downtrodden society. The feeling is not of complete doom and despair though – there’s a sense of uplifting rebellion, that is as Strathmann says, ‘something of a retaliation in itself’. “Spun in the Dark” seeks to show that things aren’t normal, and they aren’t right, but we still have some power to fight back, and we will.

“Spun in the Dark” joins the previously released lead single “Don’t Look for Me There“, on the eight-track album Lying Beside You. It’s gearing up to be an epic contribution to cinematic and heavy progressive rock you won’t want to miss.

Lying Beside You is set for independent release on CD and major streaming services March 15th. You can preorder it at Ohpen AhrmsBandcamp page, and if you’d like to see what the band is up to in the coming weeks and months, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.


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