Power Of Omens - Eye Of The Oracle


Year of Release: 1998
Label: Elevate Records
Catalog Number: ER02004
Format: CD
Total Time: 72:22:00

You're either going to love this disc, or hate this disc, but make no mistake, you will respect and admire it. It is not a disc that everyone will take to, as it is highly technical in nature. It contains a maze of complex song structures, tempo change upon tempo change, and I don't think there was one time that I found myself tapping my foot or beating on something to follow along with the songs. I defy anyone to try to keep up with this music. If you are going to play technical music, then I say, play it right, and like no one else. This band certainly believes in that theory, and practices it to the end as they do it superbly, and I can't think of another band that this one sounds like or emulates. They are in a class by themselves, which is admirable on one hand, and yet sad on the other hand knowing that most of the music population won't even go near a disc like this because of the style and approach. This one is for admirers of technical brilliance.

THE STYLE:

As stated, it's a technical maze. Take a 72 minute disc, 4 super talented musicians, write songs that range from 5:00 to 20:00, make each one more complex than the other, and you have Power of Omens. Throw in a singer in a world of his own, and you have a winner, or at least a winner if you like this kind of music. I'll have to admit right out, that the disc is way out of my league, but I still can't help but admire the way that these guys approach it, and of course, I can't help but listen to the singer over and over again. This alone does not make a disc continously listenable for me however, and I imagine that this disc will remain in my collection as a showpiece rather than a main player. If someone ever wants to hear what technical prog metal sounds like, I'll be whipping this out immediately.

THE BAND:

This is where this band will get the most praise from me, because their talent is beyond just good. These are serious musicians, and I guess the difference between guys playing music, and guys creating music. I don't expect every musician in the world to write music like this, but it's inspiring to know that somewhere out there, someone takes pride in writing music of this nature and not being afraid to spread it. The band consists of singer, guitar, bass and drums with the guitarist being billed as playing all "electronics" which I gather are the keyboards and atmospheric sounds along the way. How can I pick out any stand outs when a band plays music like this? Each one of these guys has to be ultra-talented to pull off what they do, and I wonder how musicians find one another and put together a band like this. However, in the spirit of being bias, I have to say that the aside from the vocalist, which is really the only part of the music that interests me, the drummer is something to behold as well. Never staying still, and constantly playing a thousand beats at once, this guy reminds me somewhat of the style that Mark Zonder has; effortlessly playing complex beats, but sounding like he has been doing it all of his life. This guy is all over the kit, throwing in cymbals, high hats and everything else on his kit at strange spots in the music. I'm not into drummers as a rule, but credit has to be given to this guy. Any drummers out there that listen to music to hear their favorite instrument being played should get this disc to hear this guy play. The guitarist and bassist are superbly matched, each playing off the other and it amazes me how bass players keep up with guitarists in a normal band, but how they do it in a technical band is just mind boggling. These guys don't disappoint in the ability dept, that is for certain.

THE VOCALS:

This is the shining part of the disc for me. There is a small list that contains singers that sound uncannily like Geoff Tate. For whatever reason, it's strange that anyone who has ever said that someone sounds like Tate, only had tones and styles like he did, but very few actually rivalled what he can do with his voice. Enter, Chris Salinas. If there was anyone on the planet who actually sounded like Tate, this is it. He takes it one step further and actually uses his voice the same way as Tate, making you think that this WAS Tate singing. Why the hell couldn't I have a voice like this? And what does it take to get one ? I'm buying. In fairness to Salinas, he is up against one of the best in the history of the business, and it would be unfair for me to say that he is either "better" or "not as good" as Tate, so let's say that if you like Geoff Tate, you will like Chris Salinas. You be the judge if Salinas is playing real ball or not; take it from me, he is. There are people out there that just hate it when singers get compared to Tate or Alder, so maybe the proof should be left in the pie, and I recommend you check him out before shrugging off my comments. For the record, Salinas' only competition IS Tate, so take it from there .......

THE PRODUCTION:

Overall, this is a very good recording, but my complaint would be in the bass dept, where the heaviness is lacking a bit. You can hear what the bass player is playing, but you can't feel what he is doing. I realize that this type of music doesn't call for much poundage, but people who listen to metal want to know if a disc is heavy or not, and I can say that this is not a heavy disc, not only due to the nature of the music, but the recording as well. The drums stand out, although again, I'd like to hear more punch in the bottom end, but you really want to hear this guy play, and once you do, you forget that he isn't shaking your walls with his kit. Even in the guitar dept, the crunch is missing, and at this point, I'm feeling that this is intentional. You can hear every instrument very clearly, and Im' sure was the intention of the engineer. This music screams out more to be studied than felt. The vocals are clean, crisp, and you can hear just about every word that Salinas is singing. Had the vocals been done any different, there would be a big injustice out there being done to this band. This is not a singer that you put back in the mix.

THE COMMENTS:

Now that I've got the praise out of the way, and there is no way you can't praise the talent of this band, I want to be realistic as it pertains to my personal taste and say that this disc is way out of my league. It is too technical and complex to keep my attention, and it's pretty much void of any melodies that you can grab onto and bang on something in unison. At least it's easy to figure out whether or not you'd like a disc like this, because you either like technical music or you don't. I do know some people that are digging this disc because of the singer, and I have to say that is the only reason I would keep it on for an extended period of time. Other than that, if you want to hear some fabulous musicians playing some super complex music, then grab it. If you're looking to tap your feet, bang a table, or grab onto a melody that you can follow for a few minutes, then forget it because it's not happening. Overall, you can't fault superb talent like this band has, but I can imagine the impact that this band would have on the metal world if they decided to write some catchy, or heavier material with easier melody lines, but then again I'm back to praising then for sticking with their beliefs. Like I said, you love the music or hate it, but you have to admire it.


Tracklisting:
Inner Voices (1:14) / Alone I Stand (5:27) / Word On The Line (9:31) / The Fall (12:04) / The Quest (1:02) / The Naked Mind (8:18) / Time (10:19) / Test Of Wills (19:55) / Tears Of The Wind (4:32)

Musicians:
Chris Salinas - vocals
David Gallegos - guitar
Matt Williamson - bass
Alex Arllano - drums

Discography:
Eye Of The Oracle (1998)
Rooms Of Anguish (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.powerofomens.com
Hits: 681
Language: english

  

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