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Review: Omen - Hammer Damage
Hammer Damage

Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2016
Duration: 44:38
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 2.5/5

Review online: July 21, 2016
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers Rating
Hammer Damage

Rated 3.3/5 (66%) (20 Votes)

I really, really struggled with myself to rate this one. I absolutely adore the albums released by Omen in the 1980s and consider them – with the exception of Escape to Nowhere – classics. After releasing Eternal Black Dawn in 2003, the band went quiet and it was only in 2012 that speculations about a new album surfaced, and four years later here we are with Hammer Damage.

"So, what's with the bad rating?" you might ask. Well, let me start by saying that I am very fond of raw, under-produced albums, especially when dealing with bands like Omen. This album, however, goes way beyond being just under-produced. It feels like the songs were recorded inside a barrel of oil with the worst tape recorder of all time. Actually, the result of that would be better than this production, now that I think about it.

The drums sound electronic, the guitar work is powerless and muffled, the bass is almost inaudible, and those aren't even the biggest problems with the album. The gold medal goes to the bad vocals by Kevin Goocher, which just get worse in the mixing process. The songs themselves are rather uninspired and don't offer anything new; there are some good bits like "Knights" and "Cry Havok", but nothing that truly stands out.

This album is harmful to your ears. It's sad to see a band so beloved in the underground scene displaying such a poor effort at making quality music, and I really don't know what Kenny Powell was thinking when he was mixing this. Hammer Damage is way more 'damage' than 'hammer'.

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