Pure Steel Records, 2016, Reviews, Albums, Omen, Epic, Heavy

I think there’s no point for me to introduce you the mighty Omen, since it’s a case of a “love and affection”  bond between them and the greek heavy metal audiences. Heads up for mr. Kenny Powell.

Greetings, Kenny. I’m Crystal and it is a pleasure to finally talk to you on behalf of Metal Invader. It hasn’t been a long time since we last saw you in Greece, in May 2017. However, many things have changed since then, since Nikos Antonoyiannakis from Marauder joined you as the vocal force of the band, replacing Kevin Goocher. What happened with Kevin?

Kevin left the band of his own accord. I’m not sure why, but it has been a blessing in disguise.

What led you to hire Nikos as the new vocalist? Many changes have occurred with Omen throughout the years, so I presume that the criteria must be quite strict?

Of course the criteria is strict. I have an obligation to the longtime fans of Omen, to deliver something good. Nikos contacted me and said “I am your savior.” I told him if he thought so, get on a plane to Texas and show me! He did just that, and it has been the best thing that has happened to me in the last 25 years!

Do you think that the current lineup is what you needed to make a great working team and let’s say make a fresh start? Are all members satisfied with how things work now?

I don’t know if it is a fresh start , the original line up was something special that does not happen every time . It has taken a long time to get everyone right, and that is not to say that I have been unhappy with all members. I always love it when Steve is in the band, Andy was my best friend for 25 years. I hate it they are no longer here, but I will say that for the first time in years I am happy with everyone in the band.

Let’s get back to the 80’s. “Battle Cry”, “Warning Of Danger” and “The Curse” are considered a golden trilogy amongst old school metal fans. What makes those three records special for you and what do you think for all Omen fans?

The line up was great, everyone was Contributing to the band. We all worked at the song writing to make the original ideas better. A magical time!

Last year, a split release with Battleroar was released. Hellenic metal forces have been growing in all genres as the years go by. What do you think of the hellenic metal scene and which bands do you think that stand out from the rest?

First off, I think I must have been from Greece in a past life. From the first time I set foot on Greek soil I felt like I was at home, like I always should have been there. Of course Battle Roar is my favorite Greek band, they are like family to me and that includes former members, Manolis and Marcos now with Dexter Ward.

Comparing today’s music industry to the early metal days, do you think things have changed for the best or for the worst? 

In someways better, in other ways worse. With all of the social media its much easier to reach the Fan base, but all the music is being given away basically for free. It is difficult to receive a decent recording budget. That puts a lot of pressure to do many things by myself and that kind of sucks.

Technology has been a major game changer in that, do you think it has ruined the industry or has helped newer bands get easier under the spotlight?

I can’t speak for the newer bands. I believe the technology is both a blessing and a curse!

What is the biggest difference between the old school fans and today’s fans?

I don’t see a difference, we have everyone from 16 to 60 at our shows they all seem the same to me. I love them all!

Omen are amongst the favorite for the greek metal crowd, hence your frequent visits. What is your favorite place to play in Greece? 

Well I certainly love playing anywhere in Greece but Athens is my favorite.

Do you have any particular memories from any greek show?

Wow, that’s a long list of great memories. First time in Athens was magical and probably sticks in my heart as the best time of my life.

Heavy Metal is definitely back in the spotlight the past few years, thanks to all New Wave of Traditional Metal bands (Enforcer, Skullfist, Stallion etc) what helped it reborn out of its ashes. Are there any new bands you’re fond of?

To be honest I don’t listen to a lot of new bands and that is because I spend the majority of my time working on Omen. I am sure there are a lot of great young bands out there and maybe someday I’ll get time to listen.

What do you think is to blame for the fact that people are slowly turning back to the 80’s music? 

I don’t think there’s a blame factor involved, trends come and go but good music seems to stand the test of time.

There is a nostalgic thing going on everywhere from TV, to remakes on movies and reunions in music…

On that subject, I think there is a major lack of creativity these days. Everyone seems to want to play it safe and keep repeating the same old ideas. I try my best to come up with new ideas, not always easy, but definitely worth trying.

 What should we expect this time from Omen in Greece? 

 We will be adding some some early songs that haven’t been played live in a long time and a couple that were never preformed live, plus the new song “Alive”

How difficult is to create a setlist that is not repetitive and satisfying at the same time?

That can be difficult, what do you drop out to add something different, Battle Cry, Teeth of the Hydra? I think we will just add songs when the set time is possible. There are some songs that we must play every time.

Of course I must ask for your future plans! The last words are yours. See you in Greece!

We will do a limited tour this fall to introduce Nikos to everyone and generally get more time playing together with this lineup. Record a new record as soon as possible and then tour the world until we collapse from exhaustion!

Almost a year has passed since you became Omen’s lead singer and I have to ask… how many times have you pinched yourself to check if this is a dream or not?

Hahaha there’s been too many, believe me! Specially when I’m at a bar and an Omen song comes up, it’s truly eerie.

Talk to us about this last year…your life has certainly changed….

Pretty much, not. Only one thing changed I think. I made some really cool new friends. Kenny, Roger, Reece.. Thank you guys!

Kenny on this very interview a few questions above stated that you are the best thing that happened to him this past 25 years. Now that’s a statement. I guess the chemistry is amazing?

The least I can say it’s that is overwhelming.. The chemistry is completely insane. There’s times that we don’t even need to speak. Because of the language difference. Hahaha. I surely feel blessed and honored and I’ll try to proof him right!