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Omega Reign: Arise

It's not often that after a number of spins reaching well into double figures I'm still torn as to exactly what my thoughts are on an album. However Arise from Omega Reign has me in exactly such a quandary, what with this release being one which in some ways gets me all hot and sweaty under the collar, while in others leaving me colder than an eskimo's icicled beard.

So let's deal first with what has me - and it will you too if you long for the days when a US Power Metal band could get your neck muscles straining - getting excited, Omega Reign knocking out expertly executed slabs of rifferama that Metal Church or early Savatage would have been creaming their pants about. "Will The Light Come" is an admittedly slow, steady start. More of a scene setter if you will, but by the time that "Bitter" and "Doomsday" have romped through your senses you'll be cavorting like a mad thing pretending the past couple of decades never happened. The twin guitars bark, squeal, slice and rampage convincingly and the prime time rhythm contributions seal the deal. This is metal done the old way and all the better for it. Something perfectly illustrated by "Prison In Your Eyes" which sounds bizarrely like the old Motley Crue classic "Looks That Kill" re-imagined by Vicous Rumors and "Killer" which has the poise to show Omega Reign can build intense offerings from humble beginnings.

So why am I still undecided as to whether Arise is class or clunker? Well at the risk of singling out one man, there's no getting away from the fact that the vocals from frontman Hank Perry are a real love it or loathe it deal breaker. For me unfortunately, consider the business delivered by the bristling, chunky riffs completely undone. It's not that the man can't sing he obviously can, possessing an impressive power, huge Geoff Tate of old like range and the confidence to go for every line he sings with passion and verve. However each and every time he goes for a really big note (and not only the high pitched ones, although they do fare worst), you hide behind your hands in fear of exactly where he'll end up. As often as not it isn't where you expected and unfortunately not where the song sounds like he should be, often coming across as flat, or sharp, but seldom in that sweet spot you'd hoped for. Harsh that may be, but there's simply no getting away from the fact that the odd vocal melodies start to become a complete distraction on an otherwise captivating release. If the pitching (or lack of it) is a conscious decision, it is a brave one that for me simply fails to pay off. If it isn't then you've got to say that Perry is simply over matched here; a real shame when you consider that his less histrionic vocal excursions are actually damn impressive. Either way the results turn Arise into an album it is hard to engage with and ultimately one difficult to truly enjoy.

Harsh maybe, but until Omega Reign can indeed rein in the less successful over exuberance of their singer they are going to struggle to make the impact their music definitely deserves.

Track Listing
1. Will the Light Come
2. Bitter
3. Doomsday
4. Prison In Your Eyes
5. Nocturnal
6. The Way You Lived
7. This Poem is Goodbye
8. Invisible World / The Eidolon
9. Killer

Added: June 14th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Omega Reign on BandCamp
Hits: 1632
Language: english

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