Omen - Official Website

The Curse

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. The Curse
2. Kill On Sight
3. Holy Martyr
5. S.R.B.
6. Teeth Of The Hydra
7. At All Cost
8. Destiny
9. Bounty Hunter
10. The Larch

Review by Felix on July 6, 2022.

Some bands are just not able to deliver what their early works promised. Omen is one of them. From my point of view, their decline began with “The Curse”. Recorded with the same line-up as their first two albums, it already shows a less strong musical substance. I admit that the opening title track is terrific. It possesses a dark touch, does not lack speed and it is as biting as the snake on the cover. J. D. Kimball (R.I.P.) makes good use of his voice and especially the chorus line “must I kill again tonight” leaves a lasting impression. Nevertheless, this track already uncovers a weak point of the album. The sound is neither differentiated nor very powerful, but pretty dull.

Too bad that Omen fell into the well-known trap called “good opener does not make a good album”. After the first song they have already shot their powder. Broad parts of the longplayer are decent, melodic and do no harm, but this kind of offering is not what I want to hear when it comes to the album of a unit that has already proved its class with neckbreakers like “Termination”. Naturally, melodies are not a bad thing per se, but the ones that Omen present fall victim to their own mediocrity. They are caught between a rock and a hard place, neither appealing to metal freaks with an affinity for real power nor commercial enough to catch the attention of the mainstream. Aggravating this situation, the comparatively soft material forces Kimball to sing without those 10% wickedness that ennobles his performance in the opener. Sometimes he sounds more like a whining old man than like a metal vocalist.

Of course, “The Curse” is much less polished than “Escape to Nowhere”. The comparison of the two artworks speaks volumes. Additionally, the here reviewed work reflects an honest approach, while its successor was nothing but a kowtow to the band’s own wish to tap new sources of funding. Okay, “Teeth of the Hydra” shows a metallic basis and gives the double bass to demonstrate its strength. More or less the same goes for “At All Cost”. Yet this is not enough to save the album from getting lost between completely unclear objectives. Heavy Metal? Power Metal? Commercial “metal”? “Demon metal”? “Bounty Hunter” has a surprisingly aggressive and demonic tone, but it’s too late to sing a song of praise for “The Curse”. No doubt, there are (a lot of) worse albums circling through the metal community. Maybe (or even for sure) it is unfair to let this album gather dust on the shelf, but that’s life. No one care for the seventh-place finisher at the Olympic Games and due to comparable reasons, I do not have a really good time with this output.

Rating: 6 out of 10


Review by Brian on January 31, 2014.

By 1986 Omen had cemented themselves within the American metal scene. Their 1984 debut Battle Cry is considered a U.S. power metal classic and the 1985 follow up Warning Of Danger continued their dominance in the genre. At this time the metal world was going through a transitional phase from the NWOBHM to the thrash movement. There was very little room for USPM to flourish and it seemed to be gone before it ever got off the ground. Only a handful of bands had any real success in the genre. Fates Warning, Jag Panzer, Helstar and Manilla Road along side Omen were basically what the U.S, offered the power metal scene. Yes there are a few others that could be mentioned, but to this writers ears these five were the most important.

1986's The Curse completed the trifecta of great releases from the band. In typical Omen fashion, the album contains its faster tunes. The title track, "Kill On Sight" and "S.R.B". It's slower, doom inspired song like "Eye Of The Storm" and of course the epic mid-paced classic and albums best track "Teeth Of The Hydra". Kenny Powell plays the fantastic Maiden inspired riffs which prove to be perfect for the late J.D. Kimball's vocal performance. Kimball's vocals are excellent, keeping to a lower to mid range and never going to the traditional falsetto vocal approach of many of the power metal bands.

Although not their crowning achievement, The Curse is an extremely solid effort. The lavish guitar melodies and soaring vocals are some of the best in all of power metal. Kimball's incredibly catchy choruses draw the listener in and keep them interested. The Curse is the final album to feature vocalist J.D. Kimball and the last great Omen album. Omen have solidified themselves as one of the best USPM acts and The Curse still holds up today and marks the end of an era for the band.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 8.5
Atmosphere: 8
Production: 8
Originality: 7.5
Overall: 8

Rating: 8 out of 10