Ou – 蘇醒 II: Frailty

Ou - Frailty



4.1/5 Pros

  • Very new and fresh sound
  • Far beyond "just" progressive metal
  • Very well produced Cons

  • May be rather confusing here and there

I feel this is the first album review I ever did from a band in China. Ou (spoken as “O”) release their second album 蘇醒 II: Frailty on 26th April 2024. When I received the album from a promotion agency, I just felt to take this musical trip to Asia with you.


Ou – About The Artists

Ou is a Chinese progressive metal quartet. 蘇醒 II: Frailty is their second album so far, after One released in May 2022. Lynn Wu is the singer of the band. She is accompanies by Jing Zhang (guitar), Chris Cui (bass) and Anthony Vanacore on the drums. Their debut album one just got rather limited attention outside China. However, especially their single Purge, when they collaborated with the Canadian musician Devin Townsend, changed that quite a bit.


Ou – 蘇醒 II: Frailty – Track by Track

The nine track album lasts 43 minutes

1. 蘇醒 Frailty

The album opens with two single releases, the title track of the album takes the lead. While the Chinese introduce their music with a keyboard line and some heavier riffs, you quickly recognize that Ou is much more than progressive metal. The band uses metal elements, but creates a much wider sound finally. Some parts feel very harmonic, like a piano ballad, some remind of pop songs. Lynn Wu’s gentle voice is leading to a very special touch. I had no idea about the music of Ou before I listened to this album. The first step feels surprising, but promising.

2. 淨化 Purge (feat. Devin Townsend)

Roaring guitars open for Purge, which even leads to a slightly industrial sound. What a cool collaboration by Ou to work with Devin Townsend in here. The song creates a cool atmosphere, feels a bit of dark and frightening initially. Purge comes with some distortion, almost psychedelic parts, which surprisingly turn into synth melodies, like a retro video game soundtrack. The Chinese lyrics don’t feel to bother too much, even if you don’t know the language. The production as such is amazing and leads to a nice flow within the song.

3. 海 Ocean

After the two first songs, all other songs previously unreleased.  The first one of them is Ocean. It feels very virtuous, the plot even has a touch of jazz music. The angelic vocals by Lynn Wu dominate the attention of the listener. Here and there, I am confused for a moment while listening, but the quartet brings back my attention quickly. The song has a nice exotic touch. The heart of Ocean, however, is the lovely dream-pop alike chorus.

4. 血液 Redemption

The vast variet on Frailty is, for example, illustrated in the first part of Redemption. The lead singer is majorly supported by a piano. Later some strings may be added. Especially if you expect a progressive metal album, you might expect that this is disturbing of confusing. However, the sound Ou are creating is magical. Without getting a bit of the story of the song, it is still touching you and feels almost meditative. Fascinating one.

5. 衍生 Capture and Elongate (Serenity)

Electronic sounds and typical dancing beats start the fifth track. Key and synth sounds dominate the majority of the song. Right when you feel being in a lounge pop environment, Ou suddenly pushes for the riffs and wakes you up with metal power. The magic of the song is that this is working. The song does not feel like two trcks somehow put together – even f an initial listen might suggest that.

6. 破魂 Spirit Broken

The 5:30 minute track Spirit Broken is the longest song of the album. Even though the song does have rocking elements, the fragile and melodic ones are the ones which fascinate me more in this one.

7. 歪歪地愛 yyds

With yyds, the album has a jazzy, but also very dramatic again. The keyboard / synth sounds are very present, especially in the first part of the song. However, metallic elements occur later in the song as wel, when Jing Zhang is doing some virtuous sounds on his guitar.

8. 輪迴 Reborn

With just a bit more than three minutes, Reborn is the shortest song on the album. The fine, pop-ish sound of the song reminds me of the very intense soundtracks of the Final Fantasy video game series. You won’t find any guitar riffs or other instrumental rock elements in this one, which also contributes to a very special experience.

9. 念 Recall

Recall inititally works with very accentuated, somehow mixed vocal and instrumental elements. This felt quite confusing to me. The style continues over most of the song. Another style presented by Ou – but I have to state that I struggle with this final track quite a bit.


Ou – 蘇醒 II: Frailty – Spotify

Here is the album on Spotify:


Ou -蘇醒 II: Frailty – My View

Frailty is thrilling and entertaining. The band’s sophomore album creates some very fresh and new sound in the progressive metal scene. If you majorly want to have loud and hard riffs, this album is not your choice. But the somehow unknown amd exotic, very versatile blends of this album does give you back some magical feeling. I have to admit that Ou completely confused me at the beginning. But I more and more like what they are doing.

Favorite Song: Ocean


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