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Omen - Hammer Damage

Omen
Hammer Damage
by Andrew Sifari at 03 September 2016, 10:11 PM

Heroes of the original wave of American Power Metal, OMEN return with their latest album, entitled “Hammer Damage.” After a thirteen-year gap bookended by their last release in 2003, the band bring the heaviness with a record that continues their legacy of creating muscular, melodic Heavy Metal.

A successful peak in the mid/late 80s with albums like “Battle Cry” and “Warning of Danger” cemented the band as stalwarts of the genre, and their sound remained unchanged after an eight-year hiatus that saw the band reform in 1997. Fast-forwarding to 2016, only guitarist Kenny Powell remains from the original lineup, with Kevin Goocher returning on vocals after his debut on 2003’s “Eternal Black Dawn.”

Musically, OMEN are as energetic as ever, with a hint of extra aggression that shines through in the instruments as well as Goocher’s more gritty vocal delivery compared to his past work with the band. Songs like the title track, “Cry Havoc,” and “Caligula” aren’t shy about going straight for the throat with their muscular riffs and tumbling kick drums as they sing odes to, basically, all things fantastical and awesome, in the classic Power Metal tradition. The slow-burning “Eulogy For A Warrior” fits this profile perfectly, but it never ventures too far into ballad territory as its layered melodies pave the way for the percussive march of “Knights.”

The band pick up the pace from here with the galloping “Hellas” as Powell goes full shred around the three-minute mark. It’s the stuff of Power Metal fans’ wet dreams; not exactly revolutionary stuff, but it has just the right vibe along with attitude to spare. As much as OMEN carry forth the Power Metal flag with “Hammer Damage,” they never sound like a parody of themselves, which is no mean feat for a band with an established style this late into their careers.

The album closes out with the high-flying instrumental “A.F.U.,” and its relentless rhythms and IRON MAIDEN-esque melodies make for a fitting conclusion to an album that’s never short on excitement. While it will likely only appeal to Power Metal die-hards, “Hammer Damage” is a worth addition to the OMEN catalogue, a fun and engaging record that exemplifies the classic Power Metal style.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Hammer Damage
2. Chaco Canyon (Sun Dagger)
3. Cry Havoc
4. Eulogy For A Warrior
5. Knights
6. Hellas
7. Caligula
8. Era Of Crisis
9. A.F.U.
Lineup:
Kevin Goocher – Vocals
Kenny Powell – Guitars
Andy Haas – Bass
Steve Wittig - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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Edited 02 July 2020
 

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