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L.A. Beat

Omega Croma a testament to hard work and heavy music

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Vancouver progressive metal band Omega Crom’s new CD “Blood Steel and Fire” is a testament to  hard work and to never giving up.
“I started recording this in 2009 and didn’t finish it until 2009,” said Omega Crom singer/guitarist Johnny Ketlo who not only had to deal with arranging pretty complex guitar solos, rhythms and tempo changes, but also had to cope with an ever-changing band line up including the departure of singer Stu Block.
“ I was almost ready to give it all up but some complete strangers at a Slayer concert came up and said you’ve got to keep that Omega Crom  shit going,” he continued. The band plays Scores North, Nov. 14. The current line up includes lead/rhythm guitarist Wayne Holden, bassist Ian Wilcke and drummer Dan LaPierre.
“Getting producer Rob Shallcross really helped out. He said you could either train someone else to sing like Stu did or learn to do it yourself. And Stu is into a lot of System of the Down and screamo. And it comes naturally to him. If it doesn’t  come naturally like that then you really have to work hard at it,” he continued adding he studied classical music in university and was in a choir for four years so he had a good idea of how to arrange music.Omega Crom
“So I studied a lot of Rob Halford and Iron Maiden and a lot of really cool singers and worked hard at it. I’m still learning how to do it and I’m still working at it,” he said adding learning to sing piercingly high notes while playing  complex leads simultaneously came surprisingly easy.
“I played a lot of Megadeth when I was a kid, so that comes pretty naturally and we practice a lot so it comes as a  second nature to us,” he said, adding translating  the CD to a live setting is essential.
“I don’t like it when bands don’t play what’s on the CD,” he said adding Omega Crom’s set will include music from the CD, a Judas Priest cover and some brand new  music from a CD to be recorded, hopefully in the Spring after they have toured extensively on this one.
“I don’t want to put a date on it. I tried on this one and it took five years,” he laughed adding they may just record and release singles  and tour on each single.
“We have enough  to keep us busy for the next two years. We’re going to do a big tour across Canada in the Spring and we’re going to go into the States so we’re booking that now. When you’re an independent band, you have to do a lot of management, he said.
“When you’re an independent metal band, you can be as big as you wan as long as you are willing to do the work it takes to make you good. Lots of bands  who work hard become big,” he said adding it is also important to watch trends in the music business.
“ CDs are becoming a dead  format, so that is why we are thinking MP3 files and downloads are the way to go. That’s why we will probably release singles and tour on that,” he said.
“With the Internet, any band can have global distribution,”he said adding the band is making lots of contacts and friends. Especially in Lethbridge.
““We’ve been playing Lethbridge ever since we started the band. We’re hoping people will  come and rip it up with us.”
 The show starts at 8 p.m., at Scores North, Nov. 14.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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