|Review: Omega - The Prophet|
Label: Rock Machine
Year released: 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: December 6, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 4.6/5 (92%) (10 Votes)
Despite generally being charted as starting in the late '70s, the impact of the NWOBHM movement extended as far as the mid-80s, with many acts arriving at the tail end of the initial wave that sadly got overlooked due to the shifting trends in the scene paired with nature of the underground as a whole. Omega were one of those bands, starting life as Apocalypse before being forced to change their name, and their solitary full-length, The Prophet, is exactly the kind of album the term "lost classic" is made for.
Omega were definitely working in that NWOBHM sound, but I don't think I've ever seen it approached in such a broad manner before. You get straight-ahead rockers like "Drive Me Crazy" and a shockingly good cover of The Beatles "Day Tripper", and more traditional Metal tunes like "Shadows of the Past" and the blazing "Yesterday's Children", which is hardly unexpected of the style. However, this band really shines when it works in moody, almost progressive epics like the gorgeous title track and the awesome album closer "The Child", songs that of all bands, make me think of Pagan Altar if they traded their folk influences for Prog Rock. Hell, band leader Steve Grainger even sounds a good bit like Terry Jones if he had more range, and his guitar work is a real highlight of the album, capable of being direct and rocking while also containing a fair bit of melodic shading. The band's lyrics are generally pretty strong too, very moody and poetic while being simple and direct (outside of the silly "Drive Me Crazy", of course).
I will say their forays into a more conventional sound, despite their quality, come at odds with the rest of the album, and opener "The Dark" is a bit stodgy, but overall this is a fantastic album of classic NWOBHM that sounds vintage rather than dated, and at points is genuinely timeless. A buried gem well worth digging up.
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