|Musical Style: Power Metal/Thrash||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: Puerto Rico|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 68:21|
With first Pacto de Sangre and now After Omega, Puerto Rico has become quite the source of quality Christian metal in recent years. After Omega is a group of particular merit. Initially forming in late 2001, the band developed a solid fan base as a result of gigging locally and even gained reputation as one of the better metal acts to come out of the country. After Omega did not put out its first demo until 2004 and, despite a constantly revolving line up, managed to record and release its full length debut – appropriately entitled After Omega – two years later. Regardless of selling several hundred copies locally, After Omega struggled to secure a record deal and, as a result, made the decision in the summer of 2007 to release the album for free online: http://rapidshare.com/files/47041407/After_Omega.zip.
What we have in After Omega is a classic joining of technical power metal and thrash with the occasional symphonic tendency. And it works. Inviting a comparison to Boarders, Antithesis, Deliverance, Oratorio and Divinefire, After Omega puts its best foot forward on the straightforward power metal of “I Am”, “Inferno’s Curse” and “Fire In The Night” in addition to the symphonic flavorings characteristic to “Sands Of Time”, ”Broken Soul” and “My Judgment Day”. The bands thrash influences, at the same time, can be found in “Black Haired Maiden” (a track shored up by the occasional death metal-like growl) and the double bass driven monster “Betrayer”. After Omega even delivers a good old fashioned power ballad, “When Angels Cry”, along with a modern sounding track entitled “Confusion”. All in all, I would advise anyone prior to approaching After Omega for the first time to be a bit patient in that it took several listens – roughly a half dozen to be exact – for its material to grow on me. But it proved well worth the time and effort.
While lead vocalist Juan “Jay” Rodriguez may not quite posses the range of Boarders vocalist Egi or versatility of former Antithesis frontman Ty Cook, he brings his own unique gritty and raspy mid-octave style that adds to the bands aggressive sound. I find the lead work of guitarist Emanuel Cotty to be a real treat, particularly his soloing that graces the final two minutes of “I Am” or the bluesy leads with which he adds to “When Angels Cry”. Robo-drummer Eli Manuel Bonilla contributes the non-stop double bass action (just check out “Fire In The Night” and “Betrayer”) and rounds out the rhythm section with bassist Mario Cesar River. Finally, it must be noted the very fine keyboard work of Julio Vazquez whose highlighting touch of piano brings out the best in “Sands Of Time”, “Black Haired Maiden” and “When Angel’s Cry”,
Production values, quite sound for a self financed project, join a forward wall of rhythm guitar with a clean mix of lead guitar and full and heavy rhythm section.
“Sands Of Time” begins to an instrumental based introduction carried by a symphonic blend of rhythm guitar and keyboards. Gaining momentum for its first verse, the song rollicks ahead to a plethora of double bass until evening out for a sweeping chorus resonating a surprisingly smooth sounding feel. I enjoy how at its halfway point “Sands Of Time” tapers off for a passage gently shored up by a piano- putting in place a nice contrasting environment in the process.
The piano continues to make its presence felt as “Black Haired Maiden” gets underway. The song calmly flows ahead until a bluesy rhythm guitar takes a hold of the mix, the pace not picking up until the way is paved for a heavy duty chorus fortified by extreme backing vocals. Yes, the extreme vocal delivery can boarder on the overbearing, but I find so many good things happening throughout the song that this is no reason to dismiss it.
“I Am” opens to a crunchy rhythm guitar before abruptly tapering off to a steady mid-tempo clip for its first verse. Gradually building in initiative, the song culminates for an assailing chorus highlighted by the gritty feel to Jay’s vocal delivery. Emanuel imbues the instrumental section closing out the final two minutes to “I Am” with his blistering lead work. Very well done.
Commencing to a stretch of quietly played guitar, “Broken Soul” slowly drifts ahead until a forward swell of rhythm guitar steps forward. The song proceeds to take off at an upbeat tempo, charging ahead in a resolute manner until slackening for a very fine melodic based chorus. Again, what we have here is a contrasting environment in which aggressive verse portions oppose a chorus of a more even nature.
“Inferno’s Curse” also starts quietly before a pounding rhythm guitar kicks in. Launching into a double bass driven riff, the song sustains the energy laden aura through its hard and heavy verse portions. A rhythm guitar driven instrumental section ensues before a chorus repeating the songs title in assured fashion is obtained. Emanuel contributes more blinding lead work as “Inferno’s Curse” closes out its final minutes.
The metal power ballad “When Angels Cry” embarks to a joining of acoustic guitar and bluesy lead guitar only to transition to a piano at the start of its first verse. As initiative builds, the rhythm guitar smoothly flows into the mix, the taciturn scene upheld until the song breaks out for an emotional chorus bolstered by a cascading wave of pounding drums. The blues lead guitar returns to bring out the best in an extensive instrumental section.
“Fire In The Night”, a six and a half minute explosion of non-stop energy, starts at once to a forceful guitar riff before moving its full distance with an excess of assertiveness. Quite the technical piece, this one combines a driving chorus with a deluge of up-tempo impetus to establish an environment of a predominant capacity. Emanuel decorates the ardent scene with more of his riveting lead work.
“Confusion” is the shortest piece here at just under four minutes. The song actually brings a slight modern feel with its restrained guitar sound and use of harshly delivered backing vocals. While the modern comparison represents more of an observation as opposed to a critique, this actually proves the only track here I have been unable to grow into. Perhaps it is the songs lack of energy – in comparison to the rest of the albums material – or all around laid back fee, but more often than not I hit the skip button.
The acoustic guitar at the start of “My Judgment Day” continues to make its presence felt until the relaxed scene gives way to a hammering amalgamation of rhythm guitar and double bass. A tireless atmosphere is established as the song roars ahead, the intent initiative maintained throughout a chorus guaranteed to draw you in with its unrelenting appeal. Another stretch of torrid lead work helps this rank with the albums better compositions.
The best advice I might have when listening to the double bass driven “Betrayer” would be to buckle up and hold on tightly. Seriously. As no-nonsense of a track as you will ever find, this one defines the word “energetic” in no uncertain terms with its breathtaking pace and chorus backed by heavy duty backing vocals. After Omega puts its best foot forward here in delivering a blend of thrash and power metal with a slight touch of the symphonic.
The albums title track stands out as a very well done six and a half minute instrumental. The song proves a complex number with its numerous time changes, switching back and forth between calmer, mid-tempo passages and others driven by intensely delivered drumming and tight sounding riffing. Emanuel, of course, takes the opportunity to display his abilities on lead guitar as well.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Sands Of Time”, “Black Haired Maiden”, “I Am”, “Broken Soul”, “Inferno’s Curse”, “When Angels Cry”, “Fire In The Night”, “Confusion”, “My Judgment Day”, “Betrayer” and “After Omega”.
Juan "Jay" Rodriguez - Lead Vocals
Emanuel Cotty – Guitars & Extreme Vocals
Julio Vazquez - Keyboards
Mario Cesar Rivera - Bass
Eli Manuel Bonilla - Drums