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I find this wanting - 55%

Noktorn, January 31st, 2008

I like the opening track on this album; it has a pretty classic main riff and the vocals are very venomous, and it overall flows very well. The rest of the album though it pretty boring though, at least to me. It's an okay listen, but there's nothing very gripping about it; the songs are very repetitive and Insidious Omen themselves don't seem to have a huge number of ideas. All the tracks are the same, really: bleak, semi-melodic tremolo riffing over somewhat audible bass (and every song has one riff that's way better than the others for some reason, which is weird because all the riffs in a given song are based off essentially the same note progression), moderately fast skank beats and the occasional rock/blast/double bass section, and sort of churning, gut-wrenching screamed vocals. For all intents and purposes, the execution is fine; it's really the writing where it's somewhat flat.

Most music thrives off some sort of variation. When there's a lack of variation, you have to be really sure that what you're not varying is especially compelling to maintain the interest of the listener. Insidious Omen sure lacks variation, but what they keep repeating is stuff that you've heard before a LOT. Aside from the opening track, there's really only one other song I can really say is worth listening to: 'Bound In Flesh', because it's pretty much the same song as 'Grovelling Within The Zenith Of Perversion'. Those two songs have the best riffs and can actually sustain their repetition throughout their lengths. Honestly, I think that half the problems with this album could have been solved if the weaker songs were cut in half in length; they go on way longer than their ideas and riffs can actually sustain, and it just magnifies the problems in writing.

It seems that Insidious Omen is really influenced by a variety of French black metal bands, as they have a tendency to insert more unconventional, vaguely experimental riffs and rhythms. 'Hail Terror' is a pretty good example, with its strange little opening riffs, or 'A Scarring Quest Of Purity In Form' and its strange staggering drum beats halfway through. The problem with those is that if you're going to experiment, you have to go for the jugular and experiment with ALL parts. Insidious Omen is content to insert one or two experimental ideas into generally conventional song structures, which just creates an incongruous sound instead of the more unusual atmosphere they're going for. Ironically, Insidious Omen is at their best when they're being least ambitious and just playing normal (if somewhat unique in aesthetic) black metal. Either they should stick with that or go all-out in the experimentation, but as they are now, it's not really working fully.

This isn't really a bad album, and even in its weakest moments it's listenable, but I never get any particular desire to listen to anything but the first track. What typically happens is I put the album on, listen to the first song, enjoy it, and get through about fifteen seconds of the next one before I find something else to listen to. There's too much other music out there that's better composed to really spend a lot of time with this. It's not an outright failure, but I don't really see the same qualities that others do. Take that for what you will; maybe I'm the odd one out.