Power of Omens - _Rooms of Anguish_
by: Brian Meloon (
This is the second full-length album from Texas' Power of Omens, the
followup to 1998's _Eyes of the Oracle_ [CoC #37]. Although on the
surface, the pompous progmetal on this disc is similar to the style they
were playing five years ago, there have been some changes. First and
foremost are the vocals. As on their debut album, the vocalist sounds a
lot like Geoff Tate, but this time, he's decided that he needs to hit high
notes, hit them often, and hit them loud. This was not a good decision.
When he keeps his voice in the lower registers, he's actually quite good,
but his higher parts are simply awful. For one thing, he seems to have
very little range when he sings higher, so it seems like he's always
hitting the same notes. Even worse, the vocals at times seem to be out of
sync with the music, almost as if they wrote and recorded the music first,
then wrote the lyrics and recorded them several months later. Finally,
since the vocals are so high in the mix, they tend to drown out the other
instruments and steal your attention away from the otherwise-good music.
However, that's not to imply that the music is perfect, as it has some
significant problems of its own. The major problem is that their drummer
doesn't seem to want to settle down and provide a backbone for the music;
he'd rather go off and do his own thing, leaving the rest of the band
to fend for itself. I suppose this is intended to make the music more
interesting -- and normally, I'd agree -- but it leads to the music as
a whole having an ungrounded feeling. Moreover, some of the sections
sound sloppy to me, because the drums are rolling or playing with an odd
rhythm that I wasn't expecting. But the band certainly has talent, as the
Moroccan-influenced instrumental "The Calm Before the Storm" can attest
to. It starts with Spanish-influenced acoustic guitar, a light keyboard
melody and some subtle but busy drumming. The music keeps this flavor
throughout, even as it brings in the metal guitars, builds to a climax,
and exits with a soft outro. It features both impressive chops and good
compositional skills. Unfortunately, not all parts of the album feature
such good composition, as the band often falls into the trap of having
lots of musical passages woven together without much apparent thought
to song flow. The production is pretty good, but could be stronger.
The instruments are all clean, and the guitars have a nice sharp tone,
but at times they are straining to be heard above the drums and vocals.
This album was a big disappointment to me, since I know that the band
is capable of so much more. Without their vocalist hitting those high
notes, I'd probably give them a 7 or 8 out of 10. If they'd also get a
drummer in there who understands that it's possible to overplay without
leaving the music sounding ungrounded (such as Damion Ramirez, who played on Prototype's _Seed_ demo), it could get a 9 out of 10. But as it is,
it's pretty much unlistenable to me.
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