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Powerstroke - Omissa

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 16 April 2018, 6:55 AM

Belgium’s POWERSTROKE is a Thrash/Groove Metal band and “Omissa” is their fifth full length album.  As a whole, it is rock solid Metal with a decent approach to the style but I find it to be an uneven listening experience. The opening track, “Earth and Beyond,” opens up with a chorus of voices chanting but quickly gets into high gear.  Geeraerts and Nyut play a mean groovy riffs, not unlike something you would hear in SHADOWS FALL or LAMB OF GOD, or to a lesser extent, PANTERA.  However, there isn’t any major lead guitar parts in the way of solos or harmonies. It’s there, but it doesn’t stand out as much as their riffs.

Their sound is often aggressive but not overly; indeed, this is some commercial style metal albeit with a lean towards a more sinister sound.   This is due in no small part to vocalist Coene, who has a great low growl and higher pitched scream.  At times, he reminds me of SOILWORK’s Speed although his attack is often times a bit heavier and closer to Death Metal.  Unfortunately, his vocals are a double edge sword because his clean vocals really aren’t that great.  Keep in mind, they aren’t terrible but they really don’t fit the other parts of their sound.  Just when everything is caught up in a groove and on the verge of becoming brutal, his clean vocals pop up and totally break immersion.  It seems the band can’t decide if they want to sound more mainstream or keep up the edge. “Shed My Skin,” is the perfect example of this.  It is a short track that would be perfect for an all-out assault but they only go halfway.  The clean vocals dominate the track and really bring it down.  I can imagine how arresting the song would be if he growled and screamed the whole song.

On “Cheap Pride,” he sings clean first and brings the whole band to radio Hard Rock but it picks back up when he starts using his heavier voice and the music also picks up more.  The band is at their best when they fire right out of the gate.  Tracks like “Golddiggers & Manwhores” and“Elevate” start and end with an aggressive bang.  This more consistent approach to their heavier side makes them so much more effective, especially with the bass and drums. Smit and Matthijs have the ability to hold down the rhythm and create a very heavy foundation but it only shows through on the heavier parts. This album has a lot of power but the foot comes off the gas too much.  If POWERSTROKE had more of this heavier/faster style throughout the album then I could definitely see myself rating it higher.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Earth and Beyond
2. Cheap Pride
3. Golddiggers & Manwhores
4. Can’t Change The Time
5. Shed My Skin
6. Leech
7. The Sea
8. A Fire In The Sky
9. Elevate
10. Cross My Heart (I Hope You Try)
Maarten Geeraerts – Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals
Frederiek Nuyt – Rhythm Guitar
Bavo Coene – Vocals
Mark de Smit – Bass
Niels Matthijs - Drums
Record Label: Bret Hard Records


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