The opening two minutes of the new, self titled album from Michigan prog metal newcomers The Omega Experiment really made me sit up in my chair. The sweep-picking, the soaring keyboards, the confident drumbeat and an opening riff that fitted in perfectly with the uplifting vocals, all served as encouraging signs of good things to come.
Lets deal with the elephant in the room first, the Devin Townsend shaped elephant waving his trunk at us. They obviously take heavy musical influence from Devin and do nothing to hide the fact, stating in interviews and band blurb that they are big fans. This goes both ways as the man himself has endorsed them with a glowing recommendation.
All of this is good in my book, it is the natural progression of things. If you grow up listening to X,Y and Z then it is fair to assume your music will be influenced by those artists. We are in a place now where Devin has been contributing for so long and to such an extent that we are starting to see that coming through in the next wave of bands. Anyway, I can think of worse influences than Devin Townsend!
Incredibly this album is the work of just two people, Ryan Aldridge on keyboards/samples and everything else coming from Dan Wieten. What the duo produce between them is startling and exciting, the album takes you on a real journey but unlike some progressive music it isn’t an arduous task, this is music that sucks you in and keeps you interested. At times epic, at times joyful but with introspective and challenging moments as well to give balance.
There are nods towards the heavier end of the spectrum with Gojira-esque riffs and movements coming into play, especially on the track ‘Furor’, a real beast of a song that shows the extent of the talent these guys have to show. There are hints of Dream Theater as well, especially with regards the keyboard and they way it is utilised in the songs, nice to see that we have a new Jordan Rudess on the horizon, no mean feat in itself.
They understand the need for space in a record as well which is rare thing to find on a debut album, these passages give the listener time to absorb and take on board what they are hearing before the next installment comes and takes them to another place entirely.
I did wonder how the pair could replicate the album in a live environment but a quick look on YouTube proved my fears unfounded as they have employed musicians to fit in around them and produce an exciting live set that delivers without being a clinical performance.
If prog metal is your thing then I recommend you check out The Omega Experiment, they are bringing a breath of fresh air to a genre that can at times seem stuffy. The album is out on Monday 25th February through Listenable Records.