4 years after their masterpiece, POWER OF OMENS have managed to create another slab of Progressive and highly technical music, much to the enjoyment of their fans. One line-up change has occurred. POWER OF OMENS has acquired a new bassist. The style has stayed in the same vein, although the band decided to push their technical prowess to the limits.
The result is not unlike a more technical version of "The Eyes Of The Oracle". The way the album is structured is similar to the previous one. A short intro with weird chant like vocals (female vox courtesy of Michelle Loose of BRAVE), followed by many songs that are all over 6 minutes in length, including a flamenco inspired instrument ("The Calm Before The Storm") and a 20+ minute opus ("In The End"). The songs are similarly written, with the band allowing them to venture off wherever they may, and they're still ultra-complex and technical.
The style has changed a bit in two departments. One is the keyboards play a much more predominant role within the song arrangements, now featuring actual keyboard solos! The normal keyboard parts are played by the guitarist/general band leader Dave Gallegos, and the guest soloist is Andrew Sanchez. This makes for interesting dynamics between the guitars and keyboards.
The songwriting is still top-notch, and it has improved in both the technical department and the compositional department. The style, as mentioned before, has not changed from the last album, yet the arrangements, riffs, vocals, and overall playing of all the musicians has gotten better. Dave Gallegos and Alex Arellano (drums) still play like two men both possessed and psychically linked, as not only is what they play really technical and awkward, but Alex manages to play these little fills that fit perfectly to the note-y riffs Dave plays.
Overall, a step (or many) forward for POWER OF OMENS. These guys are a gem within the Progressive Metal genre, and this album shows big improvements over their excellent debut. You owe it to yourself as a fan of music to at least check these guys out and give them a chance.
I can't wait for the next one. Don't make us wait another 4 years, though.
DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X, watch your backs!! (Online July 14, 2003)