Omen – Hammer Damage


New Omen album in 2016. I didn’t know how to react after receiving the news. It’s no secret that I place the first three albums of the band among the highest ranks of my all-time favorites and definitely higher than other albums considered to be undisputed classics by the vast majority of the metal community. Their legacy is untouchable and even they can’t even get close to that golden era after 30 years of trying.

Hammer Damage landed inside my cd player while having the lowest of expectations. And unfortunately the confirmation came right from the start. The game starts with an own goal since the opening track is really bad. The first thing one notices is the awful programmed drums, an unacceptable choice that demotes the recording from album to demo. This is actually an offence towards the historic Omen drummer Steve Wittig who is on his own account responsible for the sound we loved in Battle Cry, Warning of Danger and The Curse. There are bands that can achieve a better result in 6 months of existence and I don’t know what to think for Omen and the 35 years of career on their backs. The next couple of songs are less awful, landing on Eulogy for a Warrior which could easily be described as an oasis compared to what preceded.

Kevin Goocher qualifies as decent, filling a place forever haunted by the towering shadow of the great J.D. Kimball. His best moment is probably during Hellas, a song introduced a couple of years back, originally sung by Matt Story. One have to reach as far as the seventh song, Caligula, to find the most Omen moment of the album. With pauses in between though, to calm the head from the annoying noise the production is. Era of Crisis is also on the same page as Caligula. The wreck of course cannot be salvaged by 2 decent songs and the end of the listening session leads to contemplation. What eventually saved me from anger and disappointment were my initial low expectations…