Sometimes I am not sure what makes me turn towards an album. It may be a random choice. Or – at times – the record will choose you – sort of. As in, you kinda fancy the beat, and next thing you know, you just listened to this thing for 30 minutes or so. In other words, the beat just got the better of you with some sort of metallic zen and a hefty dose of rocky hypnosis. The ultimate sales pitch of an album review promo. That kind of thing.
So, some magic in Byron‘s latest piece must have triggered my metallic genes. Because we got caught up in the groove something fierce once we ripped The Omega Evangelion out of the review pipe and let ‘er roar. So much so that only a review would quench that thirst for clarity.
But the decision to move forward with this record was not only fueled by this steady diet of sturdy, somewhat old-style metal that stomped right over us. But also the fact that the bandleader calls himself – wait for it – Byron V. So, by choosing that kind of namesake1), we should look forward to some abject poetic geekery. AND, they call themselves Lovecraftian metal, complete with a cute little Chtulhu in their logo. And all that in a Heavy Metal record?
Ah, well. Expectations, always those damned expectations.
And true to my opening remarks, there is something inside of that record that always pulls your fingers back from the stop button. A pretty tasty, slightly sludgy, old-style Doom and – for sure – Heavy Metal brand that other outfits already tried themselves at. But never quite succeeded.
Multilayered guitar riffs, sturdy drum work, and a somewhat subdued vocal performance of Johanna Eteläkari that leads right into the first real track Through The Eye Of The Nightingale. The doomy onslaught of relentless riffs and solos never quite ceases until the last note peters out. And that is the major hallmark of this record, by the way.
So, we found real metal for metalheads. Something that the doctor ordered a long time ago, but the messengers of modern time bands somehow often forgot to deliver. The RMR deck crew was happy to discover a band that finally got us what we crave. And that is a shitload of razor-sharp Heavy Metal on a harsh pounding beat.
But there’s more. The Omega Evangelion indeed contains that meaty groove we don’t often encounter. One that comes without that terrible wall of sound that often crashes down around yer ears all the time on other records. A groove that is often garnished with those (not so subtle) hints to Iron Maiden2) and Black Sabbath.
Well, Amalthea will continue with those age-old heavy metal vibes that come with those sludgy and often doom-laden flavors. Again, the sweet pull of the excellent guitar work just won’t let you off the hook. And more often than not, did I think that this could have been a perfect opportunity to get an instrumental record onboard the RMR list of reviews.
Yet, if only the band would have stuck to the female vocalist, things would have been so much better. But someone – I guess it was Johannes Lahti – decided that a male presence should be forthcoming as well. Well, they shouldn’t have done that.
I am not quite sure who interpreted which male part, style, or song, so let’s not name names. But boy, the croaks are truly abysmal and the rest of that male presence did not necessarily pump up the quality levels either. And that’s a real pity. Oktober – for instance – would easily have gone to top levels on its individual ranking. Yet, the grimy clears of the male contender just pulled it back down again.
And that’s a pity because by the time Oasis of Tranquility peeks in, the band has got a real spring in their step. And the formerly restrained voice of Johanna Eteläkari finally breaks free and soars up into that metallic sky. Boy, we will even forgive them the monologue.
Ultimately, The Omega Evangelion gorges with a ton of stellar doomy Heavy Metal with a great female front to boot. A piece that, at a relatively slim length of some 41 minutes, wastes no time to stomp its mighty metal footprint into your earphones. Sturdy alloy at a red-hot level of geekery that really made us stay a while. If only those forgettable male vocals and a few other impurities wouldn’t have pulled the overall quality back down again.
Yet, apart from that, the record has a lot to offer. So much so that we’ll return for seconds, if the band would ever decide to offer a sophomore album.
|1.||Some mighty big shoes he puts himself into. Gotta walk with them, buddy. – Ed.|
|2.||Lots of shameless galloping about the soundscape and scraping of long-gone riffs included, more like. Only soundalikes, true, but my ears always got me these visions of pyramids and Eddie on a throne. Just sayin’. -Ed.|