The Belgian band Omega Xentauri started in 2008 when guitarist Erik Callaerts, who played and recorded with several local bands, made a demo of the song Solar Flame. At the time this felt so good that he decided to record some more songs. He asked several guest musicians to record with, and this resulted in the debut album The Promise (2010). A year later the line-up of the band was put together for taking the show on the road and for recording the second album called To A Debt That Was Never Ours, which was realized in 2013.
On this album you can hear that these musicians still have to learn how to record an album and to play their music in a recording studio. The music they deliver on this CD could have sounded so much better if they should have had a larger budget in order to get better studio facilities. Now the overall sound on To A Debt That Was Never Ours is too thin production wise. Although the recording conditions in the studio weren't ideal, I could yet hear the potential of Omega Xentauri in the six tracks. They certainly have the talent to come up with decent sounding progressive rock tunes with metal influences. Especially the longer tracks Fallen From Grace, Asteri, Etherial Spirit and Wipe Away, that all exceed a playing time of ten minutes, were worthwhile listening to. As far as I'm concerned these pieces made the difference compared with the other songs mainly due to the strong keyboard intros.
Pim Van Der Neut knows how to play an impressive keyboard intro on the string synthesizers and the piano. That also applies to guitarist Erik Callaerts, who plays fine solos and riffs. Unfortunately I'm afraid that most people will consider female singer Lotte Verheyt, who was recently replaced by Ann Van Rooy, as the weakest link on this album. However, I have to admit that she also had some fine moments in which she showed that her vocal performances are worth listening to. The rhythm section consisting of Benny Vercammen (bass) and Tom De Vriendt (drums) play rather inconspicuously apart from the nice intro on the final track Wipe Away.
I read that many reviewers on the internet weren't really pleased about the musical qualities of the members of Omega Xentauri. I won't go into that whether they're right or not, but in my opinion reviewers must take into account that bands have to learn from their mistakes. They always do their utmost to come up with a good result! Having a sufficient budget to record your music is very important for the ultimate sound. Maybe I belong to the few reviewers who can hear what a band is capable of. I'm not always aiming for the highest quality, and therefore I could enjoy the achievements of this Belgian band on their second effort. Let's wait and see if they have grown and developed on their third release!
***- Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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