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Completing the trifecta - 89%

Jophelerx, February 28th, 2013

Omen's 1984 effort Battle Cry was and is considered a pretty seminal release for USPM, both early and influential, as well as consistently excellent, with a relentlessly manic energy, seamless guitar harmonies, and a superior performance from vocalist J.D. Kimball that would put most other bands to shame. The interesting thing about Omen's first three albums is that there was a slight shift towards a simpler, catchier, and yet in some ways more progressive approach throughout their duration. There is a marked, if subtle, difference between both the first and second albums and second and third albums, respectively. Warning of Danger began to introduce some variety and more progressive elements with the semi-ballad "Don't Fear the Night" and the ambitious "Hell's Gates". They continued to follow this pattern with The Curse, particularly with the song "Holy Martyr" which, like "Hell's Gates" was more progressive musically and lyrically than the standard Omen material.

Kimball sounds excellent as usual here, and the album is pretty varied, with slower, darker songs like the title track and "Eye of the Storm", classic Omen songs like "Destiny" and "Bounty Hunter", and one of my personal favorites, the mid-paced epic "Teeth of the Hydra". The album manages to be pretty successful with the exception of the two instrumentals and "At All Cost", which builds up some pretty complex riffs but ultimately fails to deliver. Highlights are the aforementioned "Teeth of the Hydra", the vicious yet supremely catchy title track, and the relentlessly manic "Bounty Hunter".

While it can hardly be called Omen's crowning achievement, it still kicks the shit out of most of its competition, and is also the last stand of Kimball and co. before the frontman left and the band released the dismal Escape to Nowhere, from which they've never really recovered. While they released a pretty promising song last year, the fact that there's no current release date for a new album is troubling, and fans are left to wonder if Omen will ever manage any semblance of a return to form. One thing's certain, at least - the first three albums will always be available to enjoy, and that puts them above pretty much every other USPM band out there, barring Manilla Road and Virgin Steele. The Curse remains a continual staple of my regular playlist, and I highly recommend it to any fan of USPM or classic metal in general.