Omen

The Curse

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The final album recorded by Omen's classic lineup, The Curse found the Los Angeles group in a state of transition, relinquishing many of their original New Wave of British Heavy Metal-inspired trademarks in a somewhat forced attempt to play catch-up to the by-then dominant thrash metal movement. The ploy didn't work, however, and, even when they could still count on solid songwriting instincts and top-notch musicianship to carry them through, speed metal wannabes like the opening title cut, "S.R.B.," and "At All Cost," were quite simply no match for the innately thrashing likes of Metallica, Slayer, et. al. On the other hand, when Omen remembered their roots, their abilities for fashioning multi-paced and melodic heavy metal, bordering on the yet-to-be-conceived subgenre of power metal, were still as good as it got within the 50 states. The Curse offers two formidable examples of this talent: the near epic "Teeth of the Hydra" -- a veritable tour de force for guitarist extraordinaire Kenny Powell; and the fan favorite "Holy Martyr" -- featuring an unforgettable chorus and introduced by what is almost surely Omen's most recognizable riff ever. It could be argued that this pair alone more than justifies The Curse's enduring position as a minor cult favorite among '80s metal collectors, but rarely as lofty as that held by its two predecessors.

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