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15 Mar 2017

Omega "200 Years After The Last War" 1974 Hungary Space Prog Rock

Omega  "200 Years After The Last War" 1974 Hungary Space Prog Rock
One of their best and most consistent albums, this album also marks the beginning of what I call their "classic" period (1974-1979) where their albums were the most interesting for progressive rock fans. This is heavy, organ-based progressive, with some hard rock and space rock elements. There is a definite Krautrock element in the music as well (many of their releases during this period were on Bellaphon), and many people thought that they were German. Anyways, this is fairly essential for "Bellaphon-rock" fans and fans of heavy prog with nice .....................

After almost 30 years, Omega's masterpiece was finally released on a remastered and repackaged disk. The Hungarian government found the title song offensive to their socialist ideology that existed back than, also the song Sexapo made references to the director of the Hungarian Record Company and his inside politics. Instead "200 years..." the album "Elo Omega" was released, which was recorded on the band's Hungarian tour. The 2 songs mentioned, were cut, the rest was put on the record in the same order. "200 hundred years..." is a brilliant album, solid rock and roll with beautiful ballads. This was the very first recording by Omega after a major line change within the band. The music media and industry quickly dismissed the future of the new Omega. Well..., after nearly 40 years Omega is still together, they are legends !....ByLaszlo Molnar..............

 I remember when I bought this LP back in 1974, one of the first prog albums I had in my life. It was released in Brazil during the brief ´german rock´ craze of the time. Several recording companies thought Germany would be the hot spot for new acts and hoped for great sales with the space rock genre. Of course that didn´t happen and they quickly stopped releasing these records im Brazil, but not before we fans were presented with a generous dose of highly different music: Gila, Guru Guru, Ammon Düull, Carthago, Eloy, Kraftwerk and so many others were available along with the pop artists of the moment and the more famous british and american rock acts of the day. Ok, Omega was from Hungary, but they released their english sung albums through the german Bellaphon label and that´s why they ever arrived here.
Lucky me. At 15 I had the opportunity to listen to something unsual. Well, not too unusual. Omega was not that much progressive, although 200 years After The Last War is probably their most symphonic due to the 19 minute Suite that ran through the vinyl´s entire first side. It has some definitve strong moments, with a great beginning full of strong vocals, fine guitars and beautiful keyboards (including a lot of the ever present mellotron). The middle section is way more hard rocking and bluesy before they return to a more symphonic approach on the third and final movement. Not entirely convincing, but with some excellent parts anyway. Side two has only three distinctive tracks: the hard hitting Trying To Find Me is a highlight. With a driving beat, followed by a delightful guitar riff and swirling moog line (and crazed solo), it´s one of Omega´s classic stuff. I even remember this tune being played on some rock stations.

The title track is a more folkish affair, with their producer taking the lead vocals for a change. Nice too and showed how versatile Omega was. The last song, You Don´t Know is a typical heavy prog tune that coudl be on any MKII Deep Purple album: the guitar and organ riff is pure DP. Production is only average. Some people complained that the heavily accented vocals was a hindrance, but they didn´t bother me at all. since they were very well sung. All the musicians are very good with a special nod to the excellent bass Tarcisio Moura ..............

Definitely the most important Hungarian rock band with fans outside the country even in the 70's,releasing albums both in English and Hungarian.Formed in 1962 in Budapest by guitarist/singer János Kóbor and keyboardist László Benkö,they initially covered English titles before the arrival of new keyboardist Gábor Presser in 1967.Presser was a composing machine and the band started to record its first few albums.Until 1970 they released no less than four works in the Psychedelic Rock field with some Hard Rock leanings.Presser along with drummer József Laux decided to leave Omega to form Locomotiv GT and on the new line-up Kobor was the singer,Benko the main keyboardist along with Ferenc Debreceni on drums,Tamás Mihály on bass and György Molnár on guitars.The sound of the band started to become more artistic and after two albums (''Omega'' and ''Omega 5'' from 1973),the break took place in 1974 with ''200 Years After the Last War''.
Side A is totally dedicated to the 19-min. virgin epic of the band ''Suite''.This is an eclectic mix of Hard Rock,Blues,ELOY-ish Psychedelic Rock and Classic Prog and a very good reason to purchase the album,with the classical education of Benko being a major element of the sound.The track contains plenty of shifting moods and mellow breaks between guitar- driven passages with hard-rocking and bluesy riffing and keyboard-based themes with magnificent organ and mellotron and a high level of dynamics from start to end.Vocals were never the strong point of the band,but fit well with the overall atmosphere.The result is a very strong composition with various influences and some really exciting parts.

Side B shows the band insisting on the more simplistic but certainly strong style of their previous albums.''Help to find me'' is a powerful heavy rock number with a pounding groove in the vein of DEEP PURPLE but also some great moog-synth work to be heard in the middle part and towards the end.The eponymous track starts very country-flavored,it has strong psychedelic elements,some decent jazzy guitars but it is by far the weakest track of the album and sounds rather dated for today's standards.The closing ''You Don't Know'' finds the band again in the DEEP PURPLE vein with Benko having a very JON LORD-style of organ playing and a very BEATLES-que vocal section.The track is again powerful,energetic,groovy but also too simple-structured compared to side A.

''200 Years After the Last War'' marked the end of an era and the start of a new age for Omega,with the band following the prog fashion of the period.The talent, education and skills of the members were enough to flirt with the style anf if you like your Hard Rock with plenty of progressive moves,this album is a great contender of being part of your apps79 ....................

Bass, Mellotron, Vocals – Tamás Mihály
Drums, Percussion – Ferenc Debreceni
Engineer – Dieter Dierks
Organ, Synthesizer, Vocals – László Benkő
Producer – Peter Hauke
Twelve-String Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – György Molnár
Vocals, Percussion – János Kóbor

A Suite 19:23
B1 Help To Find Me 7:41
B2 200 Years After The Last War
Vocals – Simon Mihály
B3 You Don't Know 3:25 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..