IAMOMEGA, The Packhorse, Leeds; 29th August 2014

I haven’t heard of IAMOMEGA before and struggled to find any info about them online. So this is quite unusual, to come at a band completely blind. It’s fun, actually. IAMOMEGA are a three piece comprising of a lead singer/guitarist on a gorgeous Washburn, a drummer and a bassist. We are surprised by powerful vocals, very clear and true. The drums are a bit loud in the mix, like they’ve been set up for a much fuller band. The guitar is lush and effect layered, lots of chorus, which helps full an emptiness in the mix which I feel is not their norm. There’s an unfortunate amount of lead crackling which spoils their opener. Otherwise a tight, progressive sound that errs initially on the side of mellow.

The second song takes care of that, launching lustily into a heavy guitar riff joined by a Tool style vocal harmonising with a simple yet melodic bass line. The groove moves from slow and sensuous to stomping and aggressive without any warning, then breaks down something that speaks of a Deftones influence. Very nice. Complex but enjoyable. This song ends on a metal roar; there’s quite a bit of diversity going on here.

We move into a groove that is reminiscent of Incubus; a funky but slow bass line that crashes into a soaring chorus. These guys blend a heavy thrash with gorgeous melodies that shouldn’t sound as full as they do with just the three of them but does. The regular changes on guitar sound keep it really interesting.

By this point the band have suffered two snapped guitar straps and some sort of dodgy lead issue, yet they continue undeterred. The atmosphere is tense and expectant; clearly a few folks have come out to see I Am Omega tonight and despite technical issues are so far not disappointed.

The front man is versatile; there’s no jumping around or crazy antics, just really good music. He sings in about four different styles, including a sweet almost falsetto that works well in the wind down of a song.

The next tune is mellower again, rooted in a solid, slow rhythm and soft, chorus guitar. The vocals ring out beautifully and I can’t hear a single duff note from the singer. Very unusual in a live setting. The melody continues but suddenly everything is very heavy! This is proper ‘swing your hair in a circle’ rock. Some people do. I’m genuinely impressed.

If there’s one downside to seeing these guys live it’s that they aren’t the most interesting band to watch. They’re quite self disparaging and thank the crowd for ‘not fucking off’, even call themselves ‘difficult to listen to’. I disagree. This is one of the best live sounds I have seen on the local scene for some time. Don’t be so down on yourself guys; we think you are very, very interesting to listen to! As do most of the room who are stood transfixed as yet another melodic yet stomping wonder washed across us.

The penultimate tune is pure summer in the ears; joyous, major melody and some of the crunchiest guitars I have ever heard from a 3 piece. Dynamic is the key word here; they use silence as much as sound to build the song and move effortlessly from gliding bass and gentle vocals to gut thumping guitar and drums.

The final song starts with a delayed guitar that sounds like a synth. The drums join in but leave space for a sweet and pure vocal line to shine through. This song builds gently, less shocking than the others with their sudden changes, but the melody and words are catchy ‘Do you feel like I do, do you feel?// I feel nothing show me something good.’ OK, not exactly massively original but it all works together to build a song folks will walk away humming.

If I don’t hear of this band doing big things in the next couple of years I will be very surprised. The influences are clear but their sound is their own and they have honed it to an incredible level of professionalism. A sheer joy to listen to.

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