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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Omenopus

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Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that I’ve liked everything from Omenopus. One thing remains constant with them (other than some personnel) and that’s change. Each disc sounds quite a bit different from the others. This one is no exception. There is more of an electronic industrial sound to this album. Mind you, that’s paired with space rock and more, but overall this is a noisier, more computerized sound. It’s a concept album telling a science fiction tale and it’s very strong. The lineup on this disc includes Music Street Journal writer John Pierpoint. Beyond that we’ve got Bridget Wishart, Sarah Panton, Jenna Graves, Sonya Lanchbury, Gary Sheridan, Sheriden Starr and Lee Potts.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Container One:
George 4/7
Sound effects, a distorted spoken voice and more is heard on this thing. It’s cool science fiction space weirdness. It’s a fairly short piece that makes a nice introduction.
I Am
Powering in with serious rocking space music, this modulates out into more melodic, pure progressive rock. It’s a cool jam alternating between those two flavors. Then it drops way down for computerized vocals over a very stripped down arrangement. In some ways, this makes me think of a cross between Hawkwind and Nine Inch Nails. There are a number of different sections and this is noisy science fiction based music that works really well.
Before the Beginning 1
This is sound-effects laden science fiction at its best. The vocals are spoken and distant. There is a crash late in this short piece.
Unreasoning in the Whys
Something akin to metallic space rock opens this and pounds outward. It drops way down for the vocals. There are a number of various sections to this. It’s quite electronic and quite space-oriented. It does contain some distinctly Hawkwind like keyboard sounds.
Commandments 1
A narration spelling out future history is heard on this short piece.
Unreasoning in the Whys (Reprise)
I love the powerful keyboard laden section that serves as the introduction here. Then they take it out into some seriously hard-edged music that’s even noisier than the earlier iteration of these themes. That Nine Inch Nails meets Hawkwind reference works here, too.
Before the Beginning 2
This is another story portion. It’s got some spoken words along with some sound-effects.
Conception
Rising up gradually there are some pretty keyboard melodies emerging early. It remains slow moving and mellow, but there are other elements, including some cool guitar, that come out of this. Around the four minute mark it drops down to ambience to continue. It gradually starts to rise up from there, but instead of fully realizing that, it segues into the next piece.
13 Mirrors
The sounds that open this are both electronic and symphonic. The first vocals come in over the top of this understated backdrop. Then it powers out to furious electronic music to continue. Guitar brings almost a thrash metal vibe at times later. This is quite a dynamic cut moving through many different modes and sections. We get more symphonic styled sounds after the four minute mark, but again that gives way to a more rocking movement. That segment fades down to end the piece.
Container Two:
Laika

Piano is prominent as this piece works out. It’s sedate, symphonic and melancholy. It’s a fairly short (two minutes or so) instrumental.

Container Three:
Before the Beginning 3

More sound effects and dialog is heard on this.

Watching the Mannequin Lady through My Window
This comes out with one of the most accessible musical concepts of the disc. There is still some hard edged electronic space rock in the mix here, but this really has an AOR feeling to a lot of it. It does get noisier and features some killer hard rock at times, though. There is a drop back to extremely mellow ambience later. Then the cut turns to more of the electronic music heard throughout the disc. Bursts of hard-edged guitar driven sound are heard. Then it fires out to more of the HawkNIN sound. It drops to effects to eventually segue into the next piece.
Commandments 2
Effects and spoken words continue the future history.
Blaa Blaa IE3
More electronic music opens this in a furious arrangement. Some nice melody lines emerge over the top. Then we get more of that NINwind sound as this works forward.
Container Four:

 

Blind, Pt. 1
Very sedate, this is odd, but also rather beautiful. It’s quite electronic, but yet also symphonic. It segues into the next piece.
Blind, Pt. 2
Hard edged, this carries the musical themes started in the last one, but brings them into a different sonic world. I’d think of this as more like a cross between Powerman 5000 and Kraftwerk. It droops way down later to take it out.
Twilight
Mellow electronic music and spoken words are the order of business on this pretty piece. It drops to more effects laden sounds later to eventually give way to the next piece.
Blind, Pt. 3
Quite electronic in nature a lot of sound effects and other elements are heard early in the piece. Then some vocals come in over the top. The piece continues in a really electronic way. It feels like some of the sounds are almost random.
Container Five:

 

Commandments 3
Coming in quite electronic, this remains very quiet and sporadic for the first thirty seconds or so. Then little bursts of louder music threaten to take control. More history of the future is heard. Then the song gets rather more rocking. There is a section of the spoken part here that’s adapted from Asimov’s rules of robotics.
Stand Still
Powering in with a drum heavy arrangement, space elements dance over the top. It works out to more pure industrial music as this continues. Still, there are space rock and metal built into the mix. There is a seriously metallic movement later, in fact.
Polar Water
This piece is an ambient bit of electronic music.
The Physician
There was a longer version of this piece released as a single a while back. While I prefer that one, I like this, too. Of course, I’m a big “Doctor Who” fan and this is the Omenopus take on the theme song from that show, so it seems inevitable that I’d like it. There are some effects that bring this in, with something like a machine powering up heard. Then we get a quick keyboard take on the melody of the song. From there this powers out to a hard rocking jam of the theme song. It’s recommended for fans of the show and for those who just like great music. This rocker works really well. A bit of the TARDIS is heard on the closing section.
 
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