Ice Vajal :: Music Land :: Metal World
editorial :: feedback :: newsletter ::  
   Bands :: A-Z / O / Omen /

On disc: Omen

- Reopening The Gates - Volker Raabe - 5 stars
- Battle Cry / Warning Of Danger - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

Battle Cry / Warning Of Danger

Battle Cry / Warning Of Danger
(Metal Blade - 2003)

Usually I try to review CDs like I hear them the first time/s. In this case it's been too long to re­member what I felt when I listened to them the first time. It's been almost 20 years since Battle Cry came out. In the early 80's I listened every Tuesday from 22:00 to 23:00 CET to BFBS' (British Forces Broadcasting Service - editor) HM Show. There I heard Omen for the first time with Death Rider, there also I listened the first time to Virgin Steele's A Cry In The Night. I discovered a lot of real good bands there like Acid, Chateaux, Mass, Baron Rojo, Trespass, Taurus, Samson, etc. Thanks to the HM Show! So, for me this is a trip back in time!
A screaming guitar riff kicks off the album, soon another guitar and then the rest of the band joins in - Death Rider. This is typical 80's US metal. Heavy, melodic and catchy. If you never listened to bands like Omen, Savage Grace, Lizzy Borden, Virgin Steele and others, you might think that they sound like this or that, but they were the first doing this kind of music. They influenced many bands who came later, bands who do true metal, warrior metal... For me this songs still sound great. They don't sound backdated. Even if the production can't be compared with nowadays productions. The songs are timeless like the early songs of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest who were the leaders of the NWoBHM. Unfortunately the US metal heroes broke up at least when grunge ruled the USA. I don't want to go into detail about the songs, coz many will find that they sound familiar. Kenny Powell is a great guitarist, but never became huge in the scene... Perhaps just wrong timing.... For him and for Omen...
I can recommend this package with their first releases and the bonus DVD to every true metal fan and everybody who listens to the early releases of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. I can recommend to check out these tracks: Death Rider, Dragon's Breath, Battle Cry, Warning Of Danger, March On...
The Warning Of Danger CD has some liner notes and words from Kenny Powell in the booklet. Even if they could have do better when overdoing the artwork... But what counts is the music, right? Beside that they added some bonus tracks to the original recordings and present some tracks in a live version - recorded in San Antonio, Texas (USA) in 1986 - and a live cover of AC/DC's Whole Lotta Rosie.
Btw, on the bonus DVD you can find 11 live tracks - beside Last Rites all the tracks from Battle Cry - which was recorded in 1984 in Los Angeles. The concert was recorded with one camera from the balcony and so it can't stand the standards of these days recordings. But it's a documentation of a show which gives a good idea about Omen and the US metal scene in the early 80's, I think. The stage outfit might look a little ridiculous these days, but things changed. Manowar and other true metal bands still stick to that kinda outfit. Take my rating just as an indication, coz when I remember that days and compare them with releases of that days, I might should give them a 10.... Or is it just nostalgic?

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Reopening The Gates

Reopening The Gates
(Massacre Records - 1997)

Everybody who expect cult songs like Omen did in the past will be disappointed. Before you buy Reopening The Gates just because there is the known Omen logo on the cover, listen to it first! The only original member of Omen these days is Kenny Powell who some might know from the band Step Child. The microphone is in the hands of his 18 years old son Greg. Greg Powell is a quite good singer, but can't compete with the former Omen shouters. I guess that every long-time Omen fan will agree with me after listening to Reopening The Gates. The new compositions are not the classical Omen stuff, even if the label biography is telling that.... The guitars of Kenny Powell are still really heavy and riff-oriented, but in comparison with the old Omen albums this is a flop! What a pity!

5 stars

Volker Raabe
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

Bands O