Byron – The Omega Evangelion Review

Ah, the random promo pick. It worked well for Gardenstale, who wrote some fancy algorithm that randomly assigned him a Record O’ The Month in Iotunn. Hoping for lighting to strike twice, Yours Truly dug into his hope chest and unearthed his multi-sided dice set. A quick throw of the d301 yielded The Omega Evangelion, the debut album from Finnish upstarts Byron. What started out as a solo project by ex-Church of Void drummer Johannes Lahti (who apparently also calls himself Byron V) morphed over the past few years into a for real band, with Lahti playing drums, bass, guitar, and piano, a couple more guitarists, and a few vocalists rounding out the effort. Promising to be steeped in occult rock, doom, and NWoBHM, The Omega Evangelion possesses all the ingredients needed to be an underground classic. Now it’s just a matter of execution.

If we skip past the extraneous “Intro” and head right into the lead track (which “Intro” already does, as the singer actually carries a note through from “Intro” to the next song, thus rendering the separation of tracks ridiculous), “Through the Eye of the Nightingale,” we find ourselves listening to a killer epic metal tune, rife with superior guitar melodies, an excellent solo, and a convincing vocal performance from Johanna Eteläkari, whose voice conveys a fragile yet strong urgency in her delivery. This song alone makes me think I’ve stumbled upon a gem on par with Iotunn. Similarly, “Oktober” follows the same epic metal pattern, with some additional piano in the arrangement and an accompanying male vocal intoning lyrics in a rather doleful fashion.

“Corn Drought and the Lord” opens with a back-and-forth riff, in 80s metal fashion, complete with an opening lead break that reminds one of the Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” “Oasis of Tranquility” is a mellow track, well done, with another effective turn at the mic from Eteläkari. Eteläkari shines at many points throughout The Omega Evangelion, but even her performances are uneven. While her work on “Through the Eye of the Nightingale,” “Oktober,” and “Oasis of Tranquility” is stellar, her voice lacks power and charisma on “Corn Drought and the Lord.” The unevenness rests solely at the feet of the producer, whose job it is to get the greatest performances possible out of the band.

Musically this is accomplished, with great guitar arrangements, solid production, and a gentle hand on the mastering knob, but vocally Byron need some help. Vocal production, and the male vocals in particular, is the most glaring issue holding Byron back from true excellence. “Amalthea” presents the biggest problem, with one of the worst harsh vocal performances I’ve heard in my life2. The culprit is possibly Christoffer Frylmark,3 who also sings for Acolytes of Moros. This is a choice Lahti should never have made, as the song is rendered unlistenable. When vocals stop it’s possible to once again hear the quality of the music, but this song will forever be a blight on my soul. The clean male vocals aren’t a home run, either. Ex-Church of Void singer Magus Corvus helps out here, and provides a deep, theatrical style that’s a step down from the quality of the music – though not into the abyss of the harsh vocals.

Vocal issues aside, there’s no denying the fact that Byron have crafted an enjoyable debut. The songs are well-written and bring a ton of energy, the music is overall fantastic, and Eteläkari does a great job singing on a few of the songs. A more experienced producer could have easily pushed this album close to 4.0 territory. Still, “Through the Eyes of the Nightingale” will see a lot of time in my playlist over the coming months, and The Omega Evangelion sets Byron up as a Finnish force to be reckoned with in the future.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Goatmancer Records
Websites: |
Release Worldwide: March 26th, 2021

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Shut up.
  2. And Huck is like, really fucking olde! – Steel
  3. If one is to believe Metal Archives.
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