Omega - Omega XI

Lee South AfricaLee South Africa South Africa
edited November 2022 in Year-1982


LABEL: Pepita
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1994, Mega, HCD 17747 (remastered) * 2004, Hungaroton, HCD 17747 (remastered, bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Janos Kobor - vocals, guitar * Gyorgy Molnar - guitars * Laszlo Benko - keyboards * Tamas Mihaly - bass * Ferenc Debreczeni - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ajánlott Útvonal * 02 Alvajáró * 03 Kenyér És Információ * 04 Három Csendes Nap * 05 Téli Vadászat * 06 Kötéltánc * 07 Az Utolsó Óra * 08 Szemközt A Rózsaszínnel * 09 Elengedett Kézzel * 10 A Hatalom Színháza



While 1981's 'Az Arc' album had been a massive success in Hungary and the rest of the Eastern Bloc, it's English counterpart 'Working' had enjoyed medium success in the free world.

This had been a one album deal, and although it fared ok, sales were not enough to demand a second shot. So, for the first time since 1973, Omega found themselves without a record deal outside of the iron curtain.

Not surprising then, that they focused the next album on their home market, composing exclusively in Hungarian. Various band members had also become enamoured of technology, and wanted to incorporate cutting edge sounds into the next record, 1982's 'XI'.

The Songs

'Ajánlott Útvonal' (Alternative Route) immediately signals the hi tech revolution Omega were undertaking, pulsating with effects, you could call this electro AOR. Plenty of melody and guitar power to go around though, this is catchy and went over well in concert. Amazingly, a youtube clip exists that suggests Boney M may have ripped this melody and hook off wholesale for one of their 1984 tracks. Just type in 'Omega Boney M' and it comes up.

'Alvajáró' is less frenetic but no less electronic, calling period Saga to mind, especially those electronic percussion effects. The melody is very strong though, Gyorgy Molnar weaving some insistent guitar magic around a classy AOR chorus.

'Kenyér És Információ' (Bread And Information) doesn't work quite as well though, the rhythm a little too experimental and coming off very lopsided. Some decent riffage and pomp keyboards rolled in though, it has to be said.

'Három Csendes Nap' tugs out the AOR ballad tendencies, very nicely done if a little restrained. Again there's an effortless melody at work, something Omega seem to have little problem with.

'Téli Vadászat' rocks through the electronic percussion, parping keyboards to the fore and some satisfying guitar sustain at key moments. Fuse all that with an iron curtain styled enigmatic chorus melody, this works the longer you hear it. Strong AOR contender.

'Kötéltánc' (walking the tightrope) was the album's big hit, and no wonder. A strong hook is in place, and again Omega rock right through the technology to deliver a racy and anthemic AOR chorus. When I say racy I'm not kidding, they are pushing the upper limits of uptempo here, without ever derailing the song.

'Az Utolsó Óra' could well be my track of the album, again mining that early 80's Saga approach. Verses are moving along at an electronic shuffle, coupled with a spine chilling melody and keyboard synth sequencing that seems to hit all the right notes. A mid-tempo AOR chorus of pure class rises out of all this with some pomp keyboard soloing into the mix as well, great cut.

'Szemközt A Rózsaszínnel' can best be describes as a confused flurry, it just didn't seem to gel for some reason.

'Elengedett Kézzel' is a little better, a nifty little rocker with a catchy hook but slightly spoiled by The Buggles styled vocal effect they've put on Kobor's voice. 'Video Killed The Radio Star' was enough, thank you.

'A Hatalom Színháza' (theatre of power) held much more promise, containing some grand pomp themes and majestic passages, but Omega were bent on experimenting on this album and the vocal effect here sounds like Kobor is gargling the lyrics, rather taking the gloss off an otherwise strong album closer.

The Hungaroton remaster features four of the album tracks live: 'Ajánlott Útvonal', 'Kenyér És Információ', 'A Hatalom Színháza' and 'Kötéltánc'.

These are taken from 1983's 'Jubileumkoncert Live' double vinyl, and I really enjoyed how the electronics were diminished in the live setting. This version of 'Kötéltánc' is absolutely smokin' and the stadium crowd seems to agree.

In Summary

'XI' was another Eastern Bloc success, despite being widely regarded as their weakest album. The hardcore prog fan base, who had baulked at the outright AOR on 'Az Arc', were horrified by all the hi tech effects in play.

I'll admit it's not their most consistent album, but the AOR high points certainly make it worth having. Listening to their 80's output chronologically, it's apparent that they needed to make this album in order to progress to 1986's icy AOR classic 'A Föld Árnyékos Oldalán'.

All written content on this website belongs to copyright. Duplication elsewhere on the Internet is strictly prohibited, unless specific permission is granted.

Sign In or Register to comment.