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Review: Omen - Eternal Black Dawn
Eternal Black Dawn

Label: Mausoleum Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 44:41
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: August 26, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 3.29/5 (65.71%) (14 Votes)

Omen are one of the classic metal bands that I have only gotten into after the fact – back in the day I missed them almost entirely (except for the misbegotten "Escape to Nowhere" album, eeew.) The band was inactive for a long time after the breakup in 1988, and singer JD Kimball passed away from cancer in 2003. So fans were surprised when the band re-emerged in 1997 with a new album "Reopening The Gates". This album drew on the then-current 'modern-metal' sound a la Pantera, and was a resounding flop. So for their second 'comeback' Omen have gone back to the formula that made them big to begin with.

So "Eternal Black Dawn" is a conscious and obvious attempt to recreate the sound of the Omen of old, and it isn't bad for all that. The efforts to make this sound vintage are impressive: New singer Kevin Goocher sounds a lot like JD - and the 'medley' track of bits of old songs shows he could sound even more like him if he wanted to – and even the production is similar to the old albums, right down to the lead tone. So if you didn't know the old stuff, you could be fooled into thinking this was it – it's that close. There are some cool songs on here, like the title cut, "1000 Year Reign" and "King of the Seven Seas", and the album as a whole is generally fun, with no tracks you want to skip. But there are no songs as good as "Teeth of the Hydra" or "Hell's Gates", and the album never really gets kicking. The performances are good, the songs are good, but there is just something a bit laid-back about the whole thing. I think they counted too much on matching the songwriting of the old days, and they didn't quite manage. A crunchier recording job would have punched this album up a notch without hurting the songs any. The last track is a medley of old songs that mostly serves to point up how much better their old songs were.

If you like Omen's old stuff, you will like this too, if not as much. If you are not expecting greatness, you will enjoy this just fine, but those not familiar with the greatness of the Omen of old will no doubt wonder what the fuss was all about. These guys could still produce another classic, and I am by no means writing them off, as this is a big step in the right direction.

More about Omen...
Review: Battle Cry (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Battle Cry (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Hammer Damage (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Teeth of the Hydra (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Curse (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Warning of Danger (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with guitarist Kenny Powell on January 5, 2019 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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