This 2-CD set consists one of the most amazing successful bands to come out of Hungary, Omega. Since their formation in 1962 they were sort of Hungarian’s answer to the Beatles. They achieved success in many parts of the country in Eastern Europe. It contains 31 tracks that is a mind-blowing adventure with essence of symphonic, psychedelic, eruptive, space, and prog-rock at its finest. The entire album is sung in English except for two tracks sung in German on disc one. It also includes their hit single, Pearls in Her Hair (Gyongyhaju lany).
The hit single would later be covered by The Scorpions and sampled by Kanye West for his outro song from his sixth album in 2013, Yeezus (New Slaves). It also appeared in the 2014 trailer for the video game, This War of Mine which was inspired by the 1992-1996 Siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. Disc one and two have names which are The Beaty Sixties and The Spacey Seventies.
Released by Purple Pyramid Records in which they have a very good job on the Nektar catalog, and is also a division of Cleopatra Records, makes this a very good introduction to discover the band’s music and why they were so ahead of their time. Disc one covers parts of the late ‘60s and bits of the early ‘70s which showed their influences of the psychedelic period.
The Jester’s Daily Bread begins with some lifting organ work and a narrative tale about the character with good rewards for living and getting their spirits back after laughing at him with it’s acoustic-psychedelic ballad while the opener, Petroleum Lantern reminisces of ELP’s Tiger in a Spotlight. With its boogie-woogie piano, clapping rhythm section, it is a soaring composition.
Suddenly, Omega delve into the waters of MKII’s Deep Purple section of Machine Head-era with some snarling organ work by honoring Jon Lord’s textures with You Don’’t Know as the 20th Century Town Dweller with its galloping bass and drums, dystopian lyrics, and the haunting melodies followed by some incredible moving sections, it makes you feel that you are walking into an eerie ghost town by imaging something has gone wrong as the pin drops at the exact moment.
200 Years After the Last War is Omega honoring the styles of the Strawbs. Sliding bluesy guitars along with the organ and mellotron not to mention the acoustic guitar and mournful drum sections, it brings to mind the Bursting at the Seams-era. Disc two which covers the golden-era of the 1970s in The Spacey Seventies sees the band moving away from the psychedelic and pop sound, into a progressive and spacey voyage.
Late Night Show starts off with this watery drippy effect from the keyboards as the alarming synths come at you out of nowhere followed by some fuzz tone sounds of the Bass. It deals with the success and pleasing your fans by getting gigantic reactions from them and knowing you’ve come a long way with its moments of The Beatles’ swan song album, Abbey Road.
The Nektar-sque vibes delves Omega into the Space Rock stratosphere with Don’t Keep Me Waiting. The last 3 minutes and 56 seconds in the song and instrumental part is this chilling scenario of knowing that their time is coming to an end. The guitars are crying out for help along with the synths capturing the melody to the sound. It is a chilling composition that made my arm hairs go up at the right moment.
The suites, House of Cards Parts 1 and 2 along with Timerobber, is Omega writing almost a mini-rock opera with its Yes-like atmospheres and Aphrodite’s Child textures dealing with a person who goes through parallel universes by destroying people’s lives and it is up to one person to set things right and getting down to the bottom of this to find out why the time robber is hurling through infinite worlds. The music itself is brilliant! Blaring synths, heavier organ riffs, and epic guitar lines, it’s the movie inside your head.
The synthesized electronic intro Invitation, makes you as a listener, get ready for lift-off! Omega have an amazing blast taking you towards our solar system by galloping drums, rockin’ guitar chords, and the loops of the synths along with some stop-and-go moments near the end. Elsewhere, Skyrover shows some inspiration of Walter Tevis’ novel, The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Beginning with a Tchaikovsky-sque intro on the piano, it has this ominous piece followed by a spoken-word section as the composition becomes emotional of this creature from another part of the universe, living on Earth, without a chance to go home to see his loved one, knowing that he’s doomed and he’ll die. And Purple Lady has these major/minor chords on the guitar delving into a Floydian style piece and female vocalizations as if it was part of the sessions for Wish You Were Here.