By Dr. Abner Mality

"Omniscient" is a good example of an album that starts in one place and ends up somewhere completely different. As I listened to the first five cuts of this lengthy concept album, I was enjoying an excellent melodic speed metal album featuring the outstanding vocals of Rick Mythiasin. I was reminded a lot of the great old metal band Liege Lord...a combination of powerful fast metal with good melodies and progressive arrangements. Songs like "Trickery of the Scourge" and "Chariots of the Gods" are a pleasure to listen to, especially if you miss the likes of Nevermore and Symphony X.

Then comes track 6, entitled "666 is Everywhere" (The Heavy Metal Blues) and "Omniscient" takes a turn for the weird and never really looks back. This tune is slower and more unorthodox than what has gone before and takes some getting used to. Throwing even more of a wrench into the proceedings is the brief but exceedingly strange "Oleander Deux", lasting less than 2 minutes and sounding like a 60's bubblegum pop song gone metal and featuring some of the most ridiculously ear-piercing high screams I've heard in a long time. Now we hear a Steel Prophet that is rocking the smooth boat they set sail in earlier. The progressive side takes over, resulting in quirky tunes like "Through Time And Space", which seem to be based more on vibe than riff.  There's a keyboard injected track "Funeral for Art", a small acoustic track "Call It Katahdin" and finally a more driving "Transformation Staircase" which takes us back to the sound of the early part of the album. Throw in a crazy and not entirely successful cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and a rather dreadful "!984" (George Orwell Is Rolling In his Grave" and you've got an uneven but original album that gives us something way different than the usual "true metal" album that just sounds like a typical throwback.

The playing is outstanding throughout and Mythiasin is a top notch talent. I gather the album is dealing with some kind of alien invasion, but can't be sure. "Omniscient" proves that "traditional" albums can screw with your head just as much as more obviously weird ones.