Queen Elephantine – Omen (Compilation) (2015)

I don’t normally deal with compilations, but Omen is actually not the commonplace mixture of the band’s best tracks and instead focuses on their rare, unheard and unreleased material. I wish more bands would do this (looking at you, Tool) as there’s a lot of people who really want to hear your leftovers. You’d be so surprised to know that people would actually love to be able to hear the stuff that you thought was veritable crap and not even worth releasing. Additionally, I’m quite a fiend for bonus tracks, especially when they turn out to be highlights in themselves. This compilation spans from 2007-2013 and features many different shades and styles of the band in their various forms over the years. The title track (5:49) is a droning mantra, while “The Sea Goat” (4:21) sounds like an exercise in aggression and fuzz, “Gamma” (10:21) is a meditation in all senses of the word, bringing a Hindu-like vibe, while “Morning Three” (5:07) feels like an Egyptian ritual. Please keep in mind that the latter two pieces I’ve named contain no metal or rock influences, instead feeling like a completely different band wrote them. But that is fine, because it gives me variety and could be useful in other manners besides a mere listen. Yes, if you are conducting a sort of ritual and need to get into the mood, this will certainly help you. Live cut “Search For The Deathless State” (17:57) is a definite droner, but it feels a bit spiritual in lieu of the vocalizations that appear during it. It seems to me that the band may have recorded these songs privately, with no real intentions to release them publicly. That sort of thing just happens, and sometimes you feel that not everyone else needs to hear your music, especially if you’re recording it for special purposes. The greater part of this record is most certainly, definitely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, ritual. So if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what you’re getting. Even the rare live cuts seem to work well here. If you’d look at the images of these guys on stage, you can see that they really get into it. I mean REALLY get into it. Their eyes are closed and the looks on their faces make it seem like they’re not even there on the stage. It’s like they’ve literally lost their sense of self as the muscle memory takes place in order to continue to create a sound and style that allows them to take off. It’s pretty fucking spectacular, and I’d highly recommend it.

(8 Tracks 70:00)

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