OmenOpus are, it has to be said, a new band to me and they have a handful of albums and EPs on the Monty Maggot label that we’ll take a listen to over the next couple of months, but judging by what I’ve heard so far they certainly know where they’re going and what they’re up to musically.

First in the CD drive is their album “The Archives”, which is incidentally their latest CD, and very good it is too if you like your music unsettling and disturbing and with a story to it. The Archives is a concept album set in the 24th century and is best listened to in one sitting to really appreciate it properly and get a feel for the narrative.

I’d just read Philip K Dick’s short story “The Gun” when I first started listening to this and The Archives has a similar feel – it is actually based on a short story by Sheriden Starr from the band along the lines of:

Machines have seemingly done away with the need for man to fight in wars but the story takes a twist where the Operators of the machines turn on the Creators (through necessity) and hold mankind to ransom with the machines until the Creators put forward a solution (based on Asimov’s three laws of robotics) called the Zeroth Commandment. The album is split into three distinct parts (Containers), which are I presume the “archives” from whence the story evolved, with each telling a different bit of the story.

Style-wise it’s difficult to decide what pigeonhole to pop The Archives into as it swaps and changes throughout the record. It has elements of space rock (Bridget Wishart of Hawkwind (…and Hippy Slags) fame is a player), elements of metal and bits of prog’.

Whatever, it’s certainly musically very accomplished and manages to conjure images of disconcerting future landscapes and a bleak outlook for humanity, but that’s not to suggest that it doesn’t have its moments of beauty too.

Interesting and thought provoking …play it loud!

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