Released: 2014, Indie
Periodically over the years I have written regional review spotlights on bands from my part of the world, Western Canada. It is time for another such mini-feature and this month we are looking at six bands; Device (Vancouver, BC), Kobra And The Lotus (Calgary, Alberta), Lucid Scream (Calgary, Alberta), Omega Crom (Vancouver, BC), Striker (Edmonton, Alberta) and Viathyn (Calgary, Alberta) Please enjoy all six reviews of these recent releases in this feature.
Like Striker I have followed Omega Crom from very early on in their career when they were just formed. It hasn’t been that hard because the band has only had two albums since forming in 2002. It has been four years since their excellent debut, BLOOD, STEEL & FIRE hit the racks and there have been some pretty massive changes. Everyone from the last album is gone with the exception of founder, lead vocalist and guitarist, Johnny Ketlo and the band is now a trio. New members include Colin on drums and Sylvain on bass and they have Celine (ex-Scythia) appear as a guest vocalist.
The band is still doing it on their own with a new 10-track, hour-long collection of songs of the truest Metal. Once again, the vocals are such a strong highlight, screams, roars, growls and the male-female mix...it is almost impossible to suggest there is a single vocal style, it is like the vocals are changed to meet the need of the song, not the song trying to meet the ability of a singer who has only one style. Is a fast part needs a growl, you get a growl, if the melody is strong and soaring, the vocals climb into the stratosphere in no time flat, like an F-15 with the afterburners on. I suppose on the negative side, some critics could say it contributes to a schizophrenic listening experience because the multiple vocal styles and unconventional delivery, but that is exactly why is works so well and sets the band apart from one that might just have a 'conventional' vocal delivery.
Musically the band is still really adventurous. Several songs run into the 6-7 minute range, lots of good changes, different arrangements. They let a good central idea or two be the core of the song, but they avoid overusing a simple, verse, chorus, verse chorus style. When it does come time for a chorus, there are some good identifiable (ie. sing-along) parts and some multiple/gang vocals. The band has progressive elements but not really in the traditional sense of for example a Dream Theater, but something more like a Coroner or Mekong Delta where they throw a musical idea in, just to keep you off guard and engaged. There are some slower parts, some acoustic parts like at the beginning of 'Chaos Theory' and the drums are all over the place. It's hard to pinpoint but the band touch on thrash, power, little hints of death and progressive styles a mix it into a lethal musical concoction.
The individual performances are all Metal-solid, the pace of the album is largely fast but using juxtaposition nicely to add some variety. I'll admit BEYOND CONTROL is not really a 'casual' listen, there is a lot going on and sure, it is challenging, intense maybe that's why they named the album what they did. Since this is the bands second album, I'd suggest they have really started to own a signature style, which is hard to define, and that is a good thing! Much like the debut, BLOOD, STEEL & IRON, BEYOND CONTROL it is a brave and ambitious album, one that ultimately very enjoyable.