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Blood, Steel & Fire
Released: 2009, Reversed Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Formed in 2002, Vancouver, British Columbia's four piece of metal warriors Omega Crom offer forth their debut full length BLOOD, STEEL & FIRE featuring a killer album cover by vocalist/guitarist Johnny Ketlo (Talk about DIY). I've seen mentions of power and thrash metal in reference to Omega Crom, neither of which I would personally endorse. From the second I popped this disc into my player it was apparent that this was pretty far left of field. Vocalist Johnny Ketlo incorporates mid-range and falsetto traditional metal vocals alongside gruff extreme metal growling. Musically the metallic genre splicing is all over the playing field, which in turn makes for a pretty unique listening experience.
On "The Passing of Azazel" drummer Dan La Pierre delivers a heavy hitting onslaught, seamlessly shifting tempos as the tandem of guitarists Johnny Ketlo and Wayne Holden mix some acoustic nylon string sounding riffage amongst distorted rhythm guitar and blazing lead fretwork. There are some neat vocal harmonies and phrasing on "The Prisoner (The Drawing)" a song that slowly builds in its ballad-like intro before double kicking its way towards some pit inducing breakdowns. A song like this really demonstrates the vast amount of riffs that encompass an Omega Crom composition. "The Parliament of Stone" sounds like a Yiddish folk song interpreted by an escaped mental patient on a freebase crack cocaine binge. Is that a good thing? I don't know... but I suppose it works in spots. "Metal Revolution" closes the debut full length as the band's token metal anthem. At just over ten minutes, this epic, at one point or another, recalls the many twists and turns the seven songs that precede it have offered. Piercing high screams, gravelly throated extreme vocals, soft acoustic guitars, distorted galloping romps... If you had to pick one song to play for someone to fully understand what Omega Crom is about, it would be "Metal Revolution"... Given, they had ten minutes to spare.
Obviously these four have invested a lot of themselves into the finished product that is BLOOD, STEEL & FIRE. From the cover art and layout to the epic and endless riffing to be found within the albums eight songs, this was no doubt an enormous effort. Although certainly not the norm, the mixture of melodic and extreme vocals has been done before with varying results from bands like Germany's Sacred Steel to fellow Canadians 3 Inches of Blood. As a listener I think I would have preferred Johnny to decide on one style and stick to it for the album's duration, but I really can't fault these guys for making an album that stands apart from the paint by numbers crowd. This album should help to garner the Omega Crom guys some due attention and hopefully we will hear more from them in the future.
3. Calling Of The Dead
4. The Passing Of Azazel
5. The Prisoner (The Drawing)
6. Playing God
7. The Parliament Of Stone
9. Metal Revolution
Johnny K- Vocals
Dan La Pierre-Drums
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