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Reviews of Riding the Revelations

Welcome to the latest Omega Syndicate Limited Edition of 100 release containing all previously unreleased music.

‘Eastern Promise’ starts with lush warm pads over which soars a beautiful lonesome lead. A slow sequence emerges without detracting from the exquisite melody. A second tinkling sequence falls into formation with the first but then the oomph level is really intensified as yet two more layers of pulsations are deployed, one being a rumbling ground shaker whilst the other provides just the right high register contrast.

‘Anamorphosis’ features Javi Canovas and cranks up infectious multi sequencer layers right from the off. A synth lead then starts to spar with electric guitar. Just before the half way mark a slow steady rhythm adds a sharp ‘cracking’ contrast to the duelling leads, the guitar especially responding with real vigour.

As with the previous track ‘Inferno’, wastes no time in spewing the most wonderful pulsations from the speakers, synth and guitar (courtesy of periodic Syndicate member Rob Clynes) weaving around each other- one moment calling, replying the next. A new deep almost growling loop and infectious rhythm really add to the power as the guitar starts to soar above it all, the synth lead responding in kind with the most awesome solo heroics. Softer leads do provide a lovely contrast from time to time but really this track is all about excitement and power- and I loved it!

For ‘Millennium (Live in Liphook 19/10/07)’ John Sherwood helps out. It begins with the most delicate of raindrop type pulsations. A second line turns the heat up a notch. The overall feel so far though is all rather mysterious. There is a nice ebb and flow up to around the half way mark where all sequences descend into an organic gloop, crows flying over the top. The mood now changes completely becoming purposeful, even anthemic, as a positive slow rhythm and uplifting lead take us forward. It sounds like the band are having fun playing for the audience- studio track this certainly ain’t.

‘Arcadia’ features the fantastic Stephan Whitlan. A tender flutey lead floats above tinkling electronics until the first sequence picks up the pace. This is a track that builds slowly but never becomes too boisterous, instead staying on the right side of tenderness but with a moody twist. As with the previous limited editions by the band this is bound to sell out very quickly so get it
while you can!

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of The Eve of the Holocaust (Live @ Awakenings 10th June 2005) 

‘Control Freak’ is initially all rather dark, swirling and mysterious. An almost playful sequence strikes up morphing beautifully as all manner of cosmic effects fly over the top. Vast heavy bass flourishes explode onto the scene, Mellotron adding a soothing element. Slow wistful leads hover in the middle of the mix. Sampled speech telling us that ‘There is nothing wrong with your television set’ is used effectively (I can’t remember which old TV series it was taken from- ‘Twilight Zone’ maybe?) then all hell is let loose as the bass flourishes surge, forming a bludgeoning sequence of earthquake proportions. A lead line does briefly try and provide accompaniment but didn’t really do it for me, I am quite happy just to absorb the waves of power surging through my body.

‘Secrets in the Sand’ gets straight into lovely lush tron with meandering flutey Eastern backing. It really comes alive however when a rapid sequence enters in the fourth minute. This is soon followed by a second.
These are allowed to bed down before synth solos are deployed, some of them blistering while others more subtle.

‘While my filter Gently Sweeps’ features yet more Mellotron. A ballsey sequence contrasts these lush tones beautifully. A second higher register line of pulsations hits just the right mark, tron swelling in appreciation. Things don’t finish there however as a lead line and another sequence try to do justice to the wonderful pulsating brew.

‘Eerie Interval’ is one of the band’s very few purely atmospheric tracks. It works extremely well, the title summing it up perfectly. It is an excellent piece of music in its own right but also gives a break in proceedings which only gives what is to come even greater dynamic effect.

‘Yersinia’s Genesis’ immediately heralds a return to sequences. These are subtle at first but a bass throb emerges hinting at things to come. Rhythms enter in the seventh minute and we start to storm forward. This is thunderous stuff supported by lead lines nestling in the middle of the mix. A cracking track.

‘Omnicron’ initially makes great use of melodic sequences and positive (even happy!) staccato lead line all backed by Mellotron washes. A kick ass beat strikes up and in no time at all we have an infectious body moving piece of music. Searing lead lines join in the fun finishing things off in euphoric fashion. 

The audio CD just reviewed has had some tarting up but the DVD that forms part of this package is the concert exactly as it was- warts and all. It does have multiple camera angles so there is some sense of movement but even so it is of home movie type quality- still entertaining though!

This album/DVD was initially sold at their gig in Hull on 23rd August 2008 as a thank you to people who turned up. I will get all I can but I’m really not sure how long this title will be around. 

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of Baptism of Wire

As with their other Limited Edition CDs this album of all new music is bound to sell out fast. As I write half have gone already. Tron chords provide a lush beginning to 'Control Freak'. As expected it doesn't take long before a sequence makes an entrance, and quite a melodic one it is too - high register but fairly rapid. Dark ominous fizzing drones add to the build up. The sequence morphs beautifully, gaining power all the time. Those drones also increase in intensity, coming and going in waves, almost like a warning siren. A bass line gives proceedings even greater oomph. It's like being in the middle of a storm, devastation going on all around but somehow being protected from the external forces. Unbelievably the track just keeps building and building becoming more bass heavy as we go, the floor shaking in response. What an awesome opener!
'Secrets in the Sand' has an appropriately mysterious Eastern sounding melody over more soft mellotron. Exciting rapid pulsations come in waves carrying the track forward, providing its backbone until more strident leads arrive in the seventh minute. 'Haunted' starts, as expected with rather eerie sounds but it is only a few seconds before the sequence emerges. It is initially relatively sedate, quite melodic and absolutely fantastic, weaving the most captivating of spells. Big slabs of bass sound with loads of reverb add to the tension. Spectres fly amongst the pulsations. There is subtlety here as well with every sound beautifully placed. Take anything away and it would be to the detriment and yet every time a new element is added it enhances the whole wonderfully. A sedate melody floats in the middle of the mix. Other aggressive stabbing melodies come and go. The pace really quickens in the ninth minute, the spectres return and a purposeful rhythm augments the sequence. In the twelfth minute the most awesome of melodies is introduced which transcends an already fantastic track to one of the bands very finest if not THE finest.

'Fuse' gets straight into a sequence and electric guitar combination. A further bass sequence comes in as the guitar gives it some oomph. All then seems to wind down a little as organ joins proceedings before things take off again, the sequences leading the way. Don't hang around on this one; it won't be available for long. 

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

For me this is, without any shadow of a doubt, the best TOS limited edition album by a long mile and maybe their best album to date.

Three of the four tracks "Control Freak", "Secrets In The Sand" and "Haunted" sum up what makes the music of these guys so damn special and essential. These offerings rekindle those feelings of absolute amazement when I first stumbled on their free SMD download album that was my initiation into their music.

In spirit and vibe, these three tracks are more similar to those early days than the more progressive sounding "Apocalypse" - this is probably due to when the tracks were recorded, these beauties have been taken out of a dusty crate in the TOS archives and given a loving polish. Whilst there is no denying the stature and critical acclaim received by "Phonosphere" and "Apocalypse", it's the predominate feel of these tracks that really tick all my boxes.

I love The Omega Syndicates music when it is like this i.e. lean, mean and malevolent and a nod to that old adage about less is more. "Control Freak" is a good example of this with a rather eerie tinkling sequence that quickly ingrains itself on your subconscious and sucking you in totally as the track builds up.

By contrast, the last track "Fuse" is more progressive and meandering in feel and for me, whilst it's good to see them experiment a bit, this track really doesn't do it for me at all - it is rather ponderous and lacks the bite of the other tracks.

However, the first three tracks more than make up for this and whilst I might be accused of being stuck in the past and not embracing a newer more freer expensave direction with their sound, I stand unrepentant. It's music with this freshness and attitude that would win over people who've never heard or are still finding their feet with EM.

review by Endorphin

Reviews of Horsemen on the Horizon:

This is a DVD and CD package of the band's 'Awakenings' performance on the 8th July. All the tracks except the encore are new material - and excellent they are too! Heavenly soft choral pads mix with twittering effects. What a beautiful way to start the album and the opening track 'Kreigspeil'. A slow delicate sequence starts up- subtlety being the order of the day. In the background a feeling of menace is developing, heightened by guitar stabs. Another sequence comes in but things are still rather strained with the feeling of pent up power increasing all the time. Things start to let rip in the seventh minute, becoming quite euphoric. Loads is going on with sequences, mellotron and synths working in harmony weaving wonderful melodies, the guitar adding extra bite low in the mix, like a storm heard from far away. There is no chance of monotony here as the guys do a tremendous job holding it all together from one tremendous moment to the next.

The quality continues straight through to 'Equilibrium of Injustice'. First one sequence then another shimmer round each other, like rays of light glistening through a waterfall. Yet another excellent sequence starts up adding to the momentum still further, becoming like an intense laser turning the water into steam. The heat increases as the guitar enters. A soft lead line adds some contrast (maybe could have been a little lower in the mix). A stronger repeated melody appears in the ninth minute then a scything lead line really lets rip- wonderful stuff. Tron returns to give the leads a breather before fresh lead lines give it the full treatment. We finish with a moody processed piano solo. The sequences strike up immediately for 'Yersinia's'. Yet another stonking melody comes to join it, nestling nicely amongst further tron sounds. Little guitar touches add to the interest, weaving a lovely spell, as the sequence morphs superbly adding extra oomph to an already blistering track. Things become even more syncopated. An organ sound enters. One of their very best tracks.

Not to break with tradition 'Harbinger' also goads the old sequencer into life, pulsing along gently over relaxed mellotron. Rhythm adds to the energy, imparting a little moodiness, whilst laser sharp lead lines flash from the speakers. The guitar is let off the leash near the end to really let rip. It all becomes rather heady and trippy. Yet another winner. We finish with the encore. An oldie but a goodie in the form of 'Dark Skies' but this time a condensed twelve minute version. It punches an even bigger punch than before with enough differences about it to make it well worth another outing.

The Omega Syndicate just get better and better. This is a quite amazing album. With the CD you also get a DVD of the concert and as there are very few Electronic Music DVDs out there it is very welcome. It is something of a 'home movie' however as it is taken from a single point with no panning or zooming. The camera is just left to run. You don't miss a single note though and it is interesting to see the musicians do their thing - especially the ever-active Dave Gurr, who really gives it everything he's got! It is also nicely presented with a proper menu. An essential purchase for any fan of the Berlin School and a perfect partner to 'Apocalypse'. 

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of Apocalypse:

The Omega Syndicate is back with a strong follow-up to Phonosphere, once again exploring the fun side of Berlin school. Lots of electronic tweets and space twitters start the 14-minute title track. When the first sequence appears just past 3:00 it is ultra cool. Scorching leads fly over the top, and then mellotron strings follow in short order. The blistering guitars sound like Tangerine Dream in their heyday, aggressive in style but restrained in the mix, just as it should be. Bubbly rapid loops and a thumping beat start “The Lycanthropic Principle” with panache. A nice interplay follows between electric guitar and light crystalline synth tones, a real gem of a track. “Pixie’s Playground” is next, and starts in more dreamy fashion with flutes, chimes, and soft synth textures. A playful sequencer pattern emerges, pinging back and forth. Just when it seems this one will play it cool throughout, a more traditional retro loop forms a solid bass line to propel it along with just a bit more oomph. Then comes the 22-minute epic centerpiece, “The Global Extinction of the Wireless.” As The Omega Syndicate does so well, this one takes its sweet time to develop just so. The buildup is not just aimless meandering waiting for an obligatory sequence, there is purpose and forethought to it. The playing is comfortable and confident as the music hits its stride past the 7:00 mark. The layers of synths, sequencing and guitars remind me a fair amount of Kubusschnitt, though I think these guys raise it even a notch above that. This would make a perfect ending to the disc, but there are still 13+ minutes to go in the form of “Masque.” Andy Pickford fans should go nuts for this one. From the sharp melodies to the toe tapping beats to the rocking guitar and synth solos, this has it all. Despite the lengthy running time, the abrupt ending comes too soon.

review by Phil Derby - ElectroAmbientSpace

This release from 2006 offers 69 minutes of energetic electronic music.

The Omega Syndicate is: David Gurr, Xan Alexander (both on synthesizers, samplers, and sequencers), and Rob Clynes (on guitars and various FX).

Airborne keyboards drift into view amid an assortment of bubbling and growling effects. These preamble elements swiftly coalesce into a melodic cohesion with forceful drive. The keyboards describe insistent riffs that swell to breathless proportion, cycling into an exhausting series of extended pinnacles. Sometimes these keys adopt a sweetly crystalline quality that stands in marked contrast to the overall intense fashion exhibited by the tuneage. During the third track, the electronics achieve a pixyesque mien that is full of frolic and jubilation.

Guitar crunches batter the flow. At other times, snarling guitar riffs rise into prominence with demonstrative result, injecting fiery passion to the urgent keyboard patterns and stately textural vistas.

Percussion is generally buried in heavy treatments so as to disguise their impact origins. Most of the rhythms end up resounding with strong artificiality that repeats in rapid succession, approximating the required beats.

The fourth composition (which is also the longest, at 22 minutes) takes a slowburn approach, accreting layers with a studious pace. Each passage flows easily into the next, from the sedate opening to a tense stretch of expectancy that soon reaches a stage of glorious drama before slipping into a brief calm finale.

This is followed by an eruptive last track that employs all the strong elements (seductive sequencing, blazing guitar, complex percussives, and earnest keyboards) for a gripping dose of energetic EM.

review by Matt Howarth - Sonic Curiosity

Although they are creating long tracks with synths, sequencers and Mellotrons, what they produce is wholly original and while it can be said firmly and squarely to be “Berlin School”, it doesn’t always sound like a clone of Schulze or Tangerine Dream.

The opening near fifteen-minute title track is a prime example. Here the polyrhythmic sequencers are somewhat cyclical in nature as the whole track rather lumbers its way along like some ancient Jurassic beast rather than flying in sprightly fashion. Around these cyclical sequencer rhythms, all sorts of layers and backdrops form, evolve, fade, stay, change, drop out, as warm sounding Mellotrons, phased synths, soaring space synths, distant guitar and deep bass, plus flowing synth melodies, all combine to form this pulsing energy mass which rolls along slowly and to quite hypnotic effect.

After this intensity, the solid sequencer rhythms that introduce the seven-minute: “Lycanthropic Principle” comes as a veritable breath of fresh air. Once again, with fuzzed guitars, string synths and soaring flows of expansive electronic backdrops, it all wells up and cruises along, before a lead synth flies in, does a brief performance, then flies out to be replaced by a searing electric guitar lead, only then for the both of them to start duelling away, the delicacy of one contrasting with and complementing the heat of the other, as the sequencers and deep bass thud, thunder and roll.

The ten and a half minute: “Pixie’s Playground” starts off all cosmic, and we’re immediately in ‘74-era Tangerine Dream Mellotron-drenched heaven. Around four minutes in, this guitar-like synth chimes in with a lead melody as sequencer rhythms well up from below and the Mellotrons fade to be replaced by multi-layers of string and expansive synthscapes. The top layer rhythm-as-melody lead comes sailing in over the ever more solid sequencers and a gorgeous sounding, almost choral synth layer soars overhead.

“The Global Extinction of the Wireless” is twenty-two and a half minutes long, starts in cosmic space mode with synths and Mellotrons, until five minutes in and the massed ranks of sequencers start to roll. Immediately accompanying them is not an expanse of synths, but a lone lead electric guitar that is, initially, quite expansive, only to be buried by this huge rolling mass of bass sequencers, but then to rise up in the mix and lead the way through an ocean of sequencer rhythms. As the track rolls on, the familiar process of layering starts to take place as the piece evolves further, the result being a finely crafted slice of relatively restrained “Berlin School” magic.

Finally, a thirteen and a half minute track called: “Masque” lights up and ends the CD with sequencers, drums, string synths, wheezing space synths and more electric guitar scenery, creating melodies and tunes that are easily accessible. As a whole album, it’s probably their most accomplished statement to date.

Andy Garibaldi
There is always a sense of heightened expectation when I receive a new Omega Syndicate album for review, their music is always adventurous and impressive in the extreme. And that is the case with their latest album on the Neu Harmony label, Apocalypse. Strangely enough, with an album title like that you'd expect the music to be rather doom laden and full of evil portents, but in reality it is quite an upbeat album full of light and shade, leaving the listener uplifted instead of waiting for the ferryman Charon and his dog Cerberus to carry you across the river Styx. The Omega Syndicate [henceforth TOS] are David Gurr and Xan Alexander on synths, samplers and sequences, and Rob Clynes on guitars and special effects, who all display their talents across the five tracks: Apocalypse, The Lycanthropic Principle, Pixie's Playground, The Global Extinction Of The Wireless and Masque. TOS have released many fine albums on Neu Harmony and are prime participants of the electronic music sub genre 'the Berlin School', which basically means they take as their musical stylistic template the work of the late 70s/early 80s era Tangerine Dream. So long, cosmic dreamstates are the norm and this album has them in spades, with several lengthy excursions to listen to while sniffing up the Horlicks. The engineering on this album is excellent and if you have a hi-fi with large speakers you are in for a treat. Highly recommended!

review by John M Peters - The Borderland
When The Omega Syndicate burst onto the scene in 2004 with their exhilarating debut “Analogue Waves” they quickly made quite an impression and many friends into the bargain. In a UK scene often accused of being lacklustre and amateurish, The Omega Syndicate have flown in the face of any such criticism with their exciting and dynamic fresh sounding take on the traditional Berlin School sound.

The follow up “Phonosphere” hinted at a change in direction and was a bit of a transition for the band with the trademark heavy sequences being reined in more. The end result was a more mature sounding album that, to many, saw The Syndicate come of age with their music. It also suggested a band that are keen to escape being pigeon-holed into any particular category.

Apocalypse then is the bands crucial third album and, since a sneak preview of one of the tracks at last years Hampshire Jam, the most anticipated. The overall sound of the album is a lot heavier than previous releases, this is due to the introduction of guitarist Rob who helps beef up their sound and add a new dimension to the music. The opening title track after a brief atmospheric intro sees a much more edgy and melancholic Omega Syndicate with added attitude and bite. However, a sense of balance is maintained over the course of the album with the overall effect that it is very much an album of light and shade - the bleakness is contrasted with beauty and despair with dynamism.

The trademark sequencers return with “The Lycanthropic Principle” but the added guitar ensures that this isn’t just a case of revisiting past glories and instead sees the band confidently cross the border into prog territory. “Pixie’s Playground” is a bright and upbeat sounding sequencer heavy track but which is really just a prelude for the knowingly titled “The Global Extinction Of The Wireless” . This is a very haunting 22 minute journey and the most beautiful piece of music the Syndicate have written.

The last track Masque is for me though the highlight of the album. The introduction is simply fantastic, initially it reminds me of the Ozrics circa 1986/1988 but far more sinister and malevolent sounding. From there it goes from strength to strength with some bombastic sequencer runs, strident guitar lines and some fantastic melodies and soloing.

To sum up, Apocalypse is an album that had a lot to live up to but the boys have pulled it off convincingly. Definitely the pinnacle of their career to date and this should see them increase their appeal greatly.

© Endorphin 2006
This is the third 'proper' album by the band and sees the introduction of a new member, Rob Clynes. He is a most wonderful guitarist, never twee but just knowing when to provide support work and when, very occasionally, to let rip. It is a CD which sees them mature still further into one of the best UK Electronic Music groups around. It is most certainly their best work to date.

The coolest of cosmic sounds get the title track underway. This is really moody stuff. Three minutes in and a stunning (and I mean stunning!) melodic sequence strikes up along with some menacing cosmic guitar playing which adds that extra bite without dominating too much. There is the feel of pent up power about to explode. 'The Lycanthropic Principle' cranks the sequences up immediately. A wonderful bass laden one erupts from the speakers accompanied by sympathetic rhythms and excellent tuneful pads. Extra bite is added in the form of superb guitar riffs nestling in the middle of the mix. Then to make this exquisite combination still better in comes the most stunning lead line dueling with the guitar. Some say that guitars can sometimes spoil EM but surely that can't be said of this, it just works so well. If Tangerine Dream had come up with a track like this in the last 20 years people would be in ecstatic bliss. It really is something special. 'Pixie's Playground' might not be my favourite title on the album but musically it's another winner. Shimmering metallic drones mix with sonic tinklings, a heavenly flutey synth line floating above it all. A bouncy melodic loop adds a little extra movement which is soon stepped up a gear as another wonderful bass sequence rolls into formation. 'The Global Extinction of the Wireless' begins rather moodily with a melancholy melody just hanging in the air above delicate fizzing drones. A rapid tinkling sequence cuts through the calmness. A second joins it along with restrained guitar licks. Yet another sequence is chucked into the brew and we are now storming along in almost 'Force Majeure' fashion. Things continue to gain added oomph, the guitar taking the main melodic duties but keeping fairly restrained, letting the sequences provide the powerful salvos. 'Masque' starts like there is a UFO coming down to land then yet another awesome sequence rolls forward with steam hissing from its vapour trail. What we have here is of classic Arc proportions. The lead lines, one after another, are all brilliant and could have come straight from Ian Boddy as Mark wielded the mighty modular. Yes, the track's that good!

Their first album was good, fuelled by pure joy of what they were doing. The second album refined their style somewhat but what we have here is really something special. I have played it many times already and especially the second and last tracks would be on any best of compilation I would currently make, even if I just had one eighty minute CD to put my current favourites on. Mention should also be made for the artwork which is an original work by Gary Ocean portraying a half destroyed National Space Centre! An all round wonderful package. 

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of Phonosphere:

This release from 2006 features 69 minutes of spacey electronic music. The first two tracks were created in the Mind Cavern, UK, on February 22, 2004; the rest of the music was recorded live at the National Space Center, Leicester, on November 13, 2004.

The Omega Syndicate is: David Gurr and Xan Alexander, joined by Stuart Jackson for the Mind Cavern gig.

Leave your homeworld far behind and join the Omega Syndicate on a thrilling voyage that spans the solar system and ventures far beyond. Astral tonalities waft and coalesce, generating dreamy passages rich with otherworldly sentiments. Cosmic keyboards provide delicate melodies to this harmonic expanse. Looping sequences emerge, cavort and merge with each other, creating a lavish resonance of stellar pulsations.

Imagine a journey deep into the sun, where flows of incandescent plasma are converted into streaming sound. Steadfast patterns are evident, augmented by incidental sonic events which rise and sink as the music persists. The more resilient sequences endure, mutating with subtlety, devilishly creating new harmonics that continue to change. Meanwhile, a constant parade of hazy patterns weave among these aural nebulas, punctuating the cloudy regions with an endless array of enticing riffs.

What starts out as a sparse sonic environment swiftly mounts into a deluge of lush electronic textures drenched with mesmerizing appeal.

While generally devoid of crescendos, this music achieves a pleasant level that serves to entrance the audience with entertaining stability.

review by Matt Howarth - Sonic Curiosity

This new album by the Omega Syndicate is a pretty stunning piece of cosmic EM. Phonosphere contains three lengthy tracks - the first is called Our Communication Satellite Has Disappeared [15 minutes], track two is Onyx [22 minutes] and the third and final section is a seven part suite called Phonosphere [approximately 30 minutes long]. So plenty of space [no pun intended!] to stretch out and explore how much sequencer riffage you can pack into a time limit. Actually, that is being perhaps a little too flippant as this is a very atmospheric album, the music constantly swirling and changing over a background of classic sequencer sounds. There is a lot of variety to be found within these tracks - from lyrical, almost dreamlike instrumental solo sections to parts where the sequencers have set up poly-rhythmical beats that might give the Kling Klang boys of Kraftwerk pause for thought. On reflection the first two tracks are much smoother sounding than the Phonosphere suite, which is spikier sounding as befits a live performance. The first two tracks are studio recordings performed by David Gurr, Xan Alexander and Stuart Jackson, while the Phonosphere suite itself was recorded live at a gig held in the appropriately named National Space Centre, Leicester and performed by just David Gurr and Xan Alexander. I think this just the second album by the band and it shows a mature progression of musical talent. I look forward to hearing what these guys create in the future.

review by John M Peters - The Borderland
The snappily titled 'Our Communications Satellite Has Disappeared' is a very impressive opener. Lovely thick analogue cosmic whooshing might sound like quite a standard way of beginning a track but there are ways of doing it- and there is The Omega Syndicate way of doing it! In electronic music the choice of sounds is vital and these really are impressive- indeed they are some of the best space sounds I have ever heard though you will need a pretty good system to appreciate them fully. Out of this stellar bliss first one high register sequence then another massively bass laden one surge forwards. Again the sounds are awesome. They constantly morph and move in and out of the mix almost like gusts of wind surging one way then another in a storm, reeking havoc as they go. Little lead lines fizz between the pulsations like lightning, the mellotron being heard from time to time as if the hand of God is making an appearance, personally conducting the mayhem. There is no atmospheric beginning for 'Onyx' as we are straight into a swirling constantly changing sequence. Indeed you could say it is completely self-sufficient containing rhythm, melody, power and atmosphere all in its ever-shifting pattern of notes.

By the third minute it has departed and we get an atmospheric section full of tinkling tones (as in a soft rain) and slow tuneful pads. It reminded me of water gently falling on a wind blown lake. A stunningly beautiful flutey lead line takes an already exquisite track up a further gear then in comes the most gorgeous melodic sequence you could ever wish for. A slightly more powerful six-note sequence gives added oomph but without destroying the pure beauty the lead line and original sequence had already created. A third sequence comes in, almost mimicking but also in support of the first then the second is cranked up in response. Pure words make this all sound rather mechanical but nothing could be further from the case. There is an organic' quality to this whole album. Everything is a constant state of flux but also perfect balance. It is as if the music is a living entity not just mere 'compositions'. We now commence the first episode of the seven-part title track with shimmering metallic atmospherics. This only lasts a few seconds though before we enter the multi sequencer layered part two. What grabs the attention most however are the wonderful lead lines ranging from lush to awesome bass, speaker wrecking growls. It is so powerful!

This sort of intensity can't be kept up forever so we return to atmospherics for the beginning of 'Part Three' Another brace of sequences reek devastation, one hurling thunderbolts whilst the other issues forth a torrent of rain. The lead again is like the intervention of some divine being. But we have only started. Unbelievably the quality gets even better and more powerful. The sequences develop a snarl to their edges then increase in pace as if a wolf has chosen its moment to pounce in chase of its pray, leading to the inevitable bloody conclusion. The fourth part calms things down with a short piano passage before the sequences return once more for 'Part Five'. They are rather tuneful ones acting as a perfect base for some lovely lead lines and mellotron backing. This is still retro bliss but with a touch of tenderness. The eye of the storm I suppose.

'Part Six' is another very short piano interlude taking us back to the steamroller sequences of Part Seven- slow but powerful. You wouldn't want to get in their way. When I first heard The Omega Syndicate I loved their attitude of just having a bloody good time producing Berlin School inspired music. It was exciting stuff but didn't take itself too seriously. I am sure the tracks on this album were done in the same spirit but these guys are learning their craft so quickly that the quality of what they are now coming up with is of the very highest. This album marks a sort of coming of age - the realization if you like that life also has a darker side.

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Their debut album Analogue Waves drew raves from Berlin school enthusiasts. I enjoyed it well enough, but it didn’t stand out from the pack to me. However, I can say without reservation that I thoroughly enjoy Phonosphere. Cool cover art, cool song titles, cool music. The bar is set high early with “Our Communications Satellite Has Disappeared.” Drifting space sounds start us out, then a whoosh of wind brings the first sequence along with it, a low-key affair followed by mellotron strings and a nifty bass sequence that echoes the first. This one-two punch forms a strong backbone that carries it through from start to finish as the music slowly morphs here and there, maybe getting a little more squelchy here, a little smoother there, but largely staying the course. “Onyx” pings back and forth with little electronic bits, light and bright at first before shifting into a darker mellower section that just sort of hangs on the air for a while. Mellotron flutes float softly by, then a playful bouncy bass sequence come in. It stays relatively quiet, laying back beautifully instead of trying to go for a big dramatic build up. The title track is divided up into seven parts totaling about a half hour. Unique metallic abstract sounds form a brief intro before launching back into strong melodic synths and sequencing in “Phonosphere 2.” Best yet is “Phonosphere 3,” combining crystalline sequences, active bass lines, and cool retro synths in a way Redshift would admire. The fourth and sixth parts are brief but effective piano interludes, sandwiched around two synth and sequencer fests, the latter of which finishes things with a flourish as soft mellotron flutes return, ringing out in the distance. Phonosphere is an excellent album.

review by Phil Derby - ElectroAmbient Space

Reviews of Sequences, Chords & Leeds:

So titled because they performed their second concert in Leeds. As with the first gig in Leicester they released a limited edition album of just a hundred copies containing all new Berlin School music (though of course not the gig itself) to celebrate the occasion. It is that album I am reviewing here. 'Undercurrent' has a rather quiet beginning with fizzing, twittering electronic effects- how gentle, how lovely- then bash, in steamrolls a rapid metallic sequence with just the right quality of unsubtlety I love about the band. But then what's this- a rather tender lead line? What an excellent combination. The sequence morphs into an even better pattern.

We get a lovely change in the seventh minute where a new sequence stands in isolation twisting this way and that with deep growling bass effects in the background. The original sequence returns to join it accompanied by some exquisite flutey synth over the top. OK, so they can have their delicate moments, but it is all relative, and even more effective when placed in the context of such a sequencer heavy album. More leads come and go, featuring both plucked strings and shimmering crystalline sounds. It all become increasingly intense as more layers are added. Things also seem to be ever so slowly getting faster though this could just be my imagination. The sequences continue to mutate and mix differently together right until about three minutes from the end when a rumbling bass one comes in, all else fading away as it eventually does itself. Some titles do half the reviewers job for them, as with the next number 'Sequencing On A Grand Scale'. A rather tuneful but still rapid swirling sequence starts us off. This is joined by a melodic echoing piano lead line. It is the echo that gives it a rather cosmic feel as each phrase slowly disappears into the ether. Another sequence, even faster than the first falls into formation and the piano departs. Mellotron sounds then come in providing a lovely contrast amongst all the pulsations. The piano returns through which the sequences surge once more but this time with even greater vigor.

These first two tracks were good but they have saved the best to last. 'Mello-Dramatic' is another of those self-descriptive titles and again it sums it up perfectly, as what we have here is an ideal balance between power and beauty. It has a very atmospheric beginning with lonesome flute gently floating from the speakers. In the fourth minute the best sequence on the album so far forces its way to the surface like a steam train first being heard in the distance, gradually getting louder as it gets closer. Its pattern changes as a second bass heavy sequence very slowly rises in the mix to join it. Then a third line of tinkling pulsations nestles perfectly between the first two. Lovely little lead detail is provided in the middle of the mix which draws the attention first this way then that stopping us being completely hypnotised by the cleverly shifting note patterns. Rhythmic flourishes are added at around the half way mark then we get a wonderful lead line higher in the mix. All sequences apart from some percussion depart momentarily in the seventeenth minute giving a chance for the more mellow aspects of the track to be heard once more. They soon surge forwards again however, more and more lead lines being introduced as we get closer to a finish. This is one of their best tracks so far. (DL)

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of Escape Velocity:

Of all the sequencer based Berlin School inspired bands The Omega Syndicate probably are the least compromising or subtle. They do it with so much joy and enthusiasm however, not really caring that some will find it OTT and this enthusiasm shines through - always leaving a huge smile on my face. Deep reverberating analogue sounds get the opener 'Linear' off to a rather menacing beginning. A bass sequence, full of venom, then breaks through like a tank thundering through a flowerbed. Mellotron is added, its softness contrasting the sequence beautifully. The sequences are left to pound through your body for the first seven minutes before lead lines are added, which when they come almost snarl from the speakers. It's as if demons are flying above, revelling in the mayhem below. 'Astral Projection' begins with what sounds like the hum of a spacecraft engine accompanied by all sorts of cosmic twitters and sci fi type effects. The sequence emerges after a couple of minutes and it is a melodic optimistic one.

More sequences are gradually placed in formation with the first, lead lines coming and going, becoming especially effective as we near the end. 'Xen' has a similar opening to the last track but then we get a mournful lead line soon followed by a rapid, even urgent, sequence. Another more bass laden one is also deployed, as is a steady rhythm. The lead lines now speak more of mystery as if we are questing at lightning speed into the vast unknown. The sequences mutate and fresh leads are brought into play, keeping the attention locked in as our adventure continues. In the eleventh minute (about the half way mark) things are stripped down to mainly the main sequence through which various cosmic effects emerge before the track slowly starts to rebuild.

Sighing pads and soft mellotron get 'River of Light' underway. The deepest sequence on the entire album then breaks through. The lushness of the backing combines perfectly with the bass pulsations which seem to ebb and flow in intensity from near overload to a thunderous peak then back. 'Escape Velocity' is a limited edition of 100 released to coincide with their Space Centre appearance. We don't have too many left so if you want it I would advice you not to hang around. 

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of Awakenings 2006 track

The Omega Syndicate are always entertaining and they donate yet another new track 'Out of Hibernation'. A superb sequence slowly emerges through reverberating sonic growls- and what a superb one it is too, the best on this two CD set. Some lovely little melodic motifs add another lovely element until the lead line proper raises its head- and very effective it is too. More sequences are added as the music continues its spellbinding, hypnotic build.

extract of review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of Awakenings 2005 tracks

The Omega Syndicate's first offering 'Mission 11' is an example of their more sensitive, subtle side as dark atmospherics give way to an excellent sequence. More sequences are added as well as a lovely synth flute lead line. The track builds beautifully but without ever getting too OTT. When we add their second offering 'Rave-O-Lution' it amounts to over half an hour of new music by them. It has to be said though that this second track is by no means typical TOS as it deploys a bass dance beat pretty much right from the off! It is certainly still an exciting track but I am sure it will raise a few eyebrows. I would love to hear what current fans have to say about it.

extract of review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

Reviews of Analogue Waves

I have no idea who the The Omega Syndicate are - the cd inlay is unusually reticent on offering any details other than the track titles. However, taking such a name means someone is a bit of a sci-fi fan and a lover of old synths... And with a playing time of over seventy-five minutes they have plenty of time to indulge themselves in the three tracks on show here.

The opening of the first track, Analogue Waves, is suitably spacey, with cosmic winds howling, synths bubbling and sampled voices sounding off in the next universe. A slowly building set of sequences come in just before the three minute mark and start to create a shifting pattern of rhythms and melodies. This is great stuff, very Tangerine Dream, but then all artists on Neu Harmony pretty much take the 70s/80s classic TD as their starting point. This track should be played loud and proud on the best speakers you have, its pounding stuff, I can tell you! Track two, 12:21 PM, starts off in very deep space, just drifting amongst the stars, dodging comets [as you do], until the sequences slowly edge in and there, I do believe, is a mellotron - haven't heard one of them in years! This track's a slow burner, taking a mid tempo trip around the solar system [if it's Friday its Saturn!]. The last track is called Dark Skies, and I have no idea if it is inspired by the sci-fi tv series of a few years back. Then again it does start with some suitably alien sounds and menacing rumbles - it's a long [an epic 34 minutes], brooding piece with a lot of pace.

So, Analogue Waves has it all, attitude and atmosphere. Highly recommended.

review by John M Peters - The Borderland

This CD from 2004 features 75 minutes of expansive electronic music.

Deeply grounded electronic loops blend with pleasantly squealing expressions, generating a rich combination of both ends of the sonic spectrum. Atmospheric textures travel beyond the stratosphere, plunging into deep space and all the cosmic impressions that dwell out there.

Notably, however, these ethereal passages lead to explosions of more rhythmic substance, where the cycles spiral in on each other, creating lush riffs that glow with verve and enthusiasm. Waves of melody move in tandem, merging only to diverge as fresh entities. Expansion is tantamount in this music, constantly forging the impression that no limits exist and boundaries that appear constricting are merely barriers hiding virgin territories of the mind.

Percussion is not conventionally employed. Rhythms are simulated by rapidly generated electronic notes that occur with such proximity that they become beats of a non-impact nature.

The three tracks on this release expand in succession (19 minutes, 22 minutes, then 35 minutes), enabling the Omega Syndicate ample opportunity to explore all the tangents available in long-form composition.

As result of this, the music’s evolution from passage to passage is unhurried. Yet, the pace is often demonstrably more than passive as harmonies accrete power and vigor, delivering a tasty exposure to acceleration and mounting vitality.

review by Matt Howarth - Sonic Curiosity

There is Berlin School, then there is Hardcore Berlin School, and then there is this! Xan Alexander and Dave Gurr, the guys behind The Omega Syndicate, really don't seem to care what some people might think. They like sequences, of the good old-fashioned style, subtle as a brick and don't see why you shouldn't crank them up, and up and up.

Why should there be a limit to the number of sequencer lines you can have anyway? They let rip and just keep going. I mean, there are three tracks here averaging over twenty-five minutes each, one over half an hour with hardly a moment to catch breath. The sounds they choose are all so mid to late seventies but of denser proportions than I have heard from anything actually coming out of that period. Some reviewers are going to hate this for its pure lack of sensitivity or originality but these guys are having enormous fun doing what they love doing and this fun is infectious. It certainly left a smile on my face throughout the entire album. It is also true that there is the occasional bum note but on the whole the lead lines are melodic and fit the mood so well that they don't really grate, it's all just part of the fun really.

A swirling wind, or rather 'Analogue Wave' gets the appropriately named title track underway. It is accompanied by wonderful cosmic twitters and other deep space effects conjuring up images of a desolate planet far away from our galaxy. After three minutes the first sequence makes an entrance. And what a sequence it is, rapid and bass laden enough to shake the floor. A slow lead line, fitting the mood perfectly, gently fizzes over the top. I was concentrating on it so much that I missed the appearance of the second sequence which was even more bass heavy than the first. It all goes together to make an amazingly thick wall of pulsating analogue sounds. Another sequence comes in, a little higher register one, faster and more melodic than the others, morphing in and out of the mix. We are less than 10% into the album and already wonderfully close to overload.

'12:21 pm' commences with Sci Fi type electronic bleeps and solar flares. It's another one for all you space cadets out there. Just lie back and drift to the deepest regions of the cosmos. It isn't long however before a steam roller of a sequence rumbles forth. Little splashes of cosmic colour add detail as a second sequence forms low in the mix, spewing steam like a locomotive as the initial line of pulsations become even more thunderous. Again there is nice detail underneath as another melodic lead line plays over the top. This is no pretty little ditty however, being just as mean as the maelstrom it is accompanying. Another lead comes in, even more full of attitude than the first, mellotron putting the icing on the cake- wonderful stuff! There is many a morphing of the sequences and even with five minutes to go the pace increases with additional rhythm and new lead lines heightening the excitement still further. Rarely, for me, has twenty odd minutes passed so quickly.

Now you might think that the guys have pushed the style just as far as it can go already but you haven't heard 'Dark Skies' yet! There were doubts as to whether people could take the full version of this track as there were edits done but at the risk of it just being too much for some people it was decided to not curtail the beast so you have the full almost thirty five minute version. It begins in similar cosmic style to the previous two numbers but even more intense with a no nonsense deep reverberating drone creating an intimidating atmosphere. Repeated, slow stabs of sound echo from the speakers then in the second minute a rapid but melodic sequence surges forth full of excitement and energy. Fasten you seat belts as there is now going to be no let up for the next, almost half hour! We step up another gear just a few minutes later as yet another, even faster sequence falls into formation, the backing becoming denser as we go and an almost battle cry of a lead line flashes over the top.

Mellotron adds a little softness but to be honest is virtually drowned out by the storm. The sequences morph and for a moment, I though we might be slowing down for a breather but no, instead in comes a repeated salvo of drums and then a steady rhythm, as if golf ball sized hail is smashing into the ground. This is accompanied by another lead line, this time flashing like lightning. It is as if we have all the most devastating atmospheric conditions happening at once. The drums momentarily depart being replaced by a repeated three and then four note melodic motif but the energy level is just as high as before. More lead lines come and go, the best so far making an entrance in the sixteenth minute. It's almost catchy but also very exciting, like laser beams shooting up from the ground, greeting the lightning from above. It's one hell of a solo, ideal for air keyboard whilst the rest of your body moves to all the complex lines of pulsations bubbling away underneath. Unbelievably more sequences keep coming.

Yet another lead solo is introduced in the twenty fifth minute as the backing is stripped down to only three sequences or so but it's still more powerful than an exploding nuclear reactor! With seven minutes to go we get more mellotron and a sort of calmness does start to take a hold by the thirty- minute mark. Even so a lone sequence can still be heard slowly winding down amongst more cosmic effects until the finish. Take the CD out of the player and go for a lie down.

review by Dave Law - Synth Music Direct

With a name like Analogue Waves, sci-fi cover art, and three long tracks, you get exactly what these all promise – a big dose of Berlin school synths and sequencing. The title track reminds me a lot of fellow Neu Harmony artist Under The Dome, very good company to be in. The sequences percolate hypnotically along, the lead lines are understated and solid. “12:21 pm” builds similarly, starting with atmospheric touches before launching into another set of Teutonics. Crisp synths and percussion ping back and forth, with touches of Jean-Michel Jarre in the melodic structure and sounds used. The 35-minute epic “Dark Skies” rounds out the disc with more of the same, slow-building sequences, surrounded by various electronic soundscapes and synth leads. The solos sound much like Syndromeda, energetic and brisk. It’s all well done enough, though none of it really stands out from the pack, going down a well-worn path for this kind of EM. If you have to have everything Berlin school, you may very well want to check it out.

review by Phil Derby -
ElectroAmbient Space
If you talk about sequence based electronic music, some tend to answer with rather short expressions like 'we heard it all before', and similar. I recently caught myself saying something stupid like that. And here's The Omega Syndicate to prove me wrong. It is very strange how refreshing something that 'we heard before' can actually be! Analogue waves contains 3 tracks. 3 long tracks, that is. Those are hidden behind a wonderful cover with the earth and the elements as center of it all. Two statuesque human silhouettes try to get in touch with those elements. Analogue Waves starts with a track that got the same name as the album, which is always simple for the artist to remember the titles, but a real curse for the reviewer as he has to make sure to distinguish 'Analogue Waves', the album and 'Analogue Waves', the track. What I will write in the next few lines, is about the latter one, though the first sentence fits both track and album. Analogue Waves starts very nice, with weird blips and beeps and ancient-science-fiction-movie-robot-like communication signals. The answer is a very relaxing excellent bass-line, which brings my memories to Vangelis 'Unknown man', although it's not the same at all. Slowly a few musical layers add some 'body' to the track. After a while, the relaxing impression is gone, and some tension is building. There's a continuous evolution. A nice mix of harmonic and more disturbing sounds, but nowhere really noisy. Analogue Waves has sad and both hopeful sounds. It builds up tension, but does not burst. 12:21 PM is the least melodic part. It starts as a pretty dark soundscape, but soon builds towards a fast and nervous rhythmic track. Stress is mostly on sound effects rather than a lead-sound. Dark skies is the third and longest track. It has a slightly nervous and repetitive rhythm, with exactly enough changes to keep on listening to what these dark skies will bring. It carries fast boiling grey clouds. People look upward with a lot of respect for the building Storm. The very bright lead sound takes the lightning closer. Analogue Waves is not the kind of melodic electronic music album that even Grandma appreciates. It is not the strange experimental or noise-like industrial music. It's doesn't sound like an on-the-spot improvised collection of musical notes, although it leaves that impression at certain points. Analogue Waves, and especially the 'Dark Skies'-composition keeps a perfect balance between those elements. The stress is on the sequenced rhythms, but around this core, The Omega Syndicate twisted a series of sound effects and melodic parts. If the Omega Syndicate would layer more structured melodies on top of their magnificent sequences, the dark skies would dissolve into a bright and sunny day. These Dark Skies never become a real storm, which make them very nice to listen to. This is an excellent album for people who also appreciate the more rhythmic pieces of groups that carried the cradle of EM, like Tangerine Dream. It sounds fresh and modern, but recognisable and trustworthy. Something old new or... new old. Hand in hand.

review by Koen Vervoort - Electron
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