Oriz is a Swedish melodic hard rock/heavy metal band, and II is their creatively-titled second album. The band plays a slick style of melodic metal that draws extensively from Swedish melodic hard rock, retro metal, and even pop/rock - as a matter of fact, I'd venture to say that II is virtually a pop album disguised as heavy metal. Even though Oriz is a very talented group, their sound is derivative and unoriginal, and the songwriting isn't something to write home about either. Fans of melodic hard rock/metal may want to check out II, but it's not interesting enough to get more than a passive recommendation from me.
All of the songs on II are pretty straightforward, riff-based compositions with a firm foot in verse/chorus/verse-styled songwriting. Although I don't necessarily have anything against this, the songs are surprisingly unmemorable. For the amount of hooks and choruses here, there simply aren't enough memorable ones to keep me entertained. I also have a slight issue with some of the keyboard tones used throughout the album. It seems as if Oriz tried to find the most cheap, plastic-sounding synth tones and put them far too high in the mix - a bit more of a focus on powerful riffs, rather than cheesy synth lines may have improved my enjoyment.
II has a good production and it's undoubtedly a professional effort, but I really think more originality and memorability will be crucial to Oriz's success in the crowded Swedish melodic hard rock scene. Though there's not too much particularly 'wrong' with this album, it's not something that excites me in the slightest. 2.5 stars seem pretty fair in this case.