Omega Crom is a thrash power metal band based out of Vancouver, B.C. Bringing to the stage progressive power metal and elements of aggressive death and thrash metal. Omega Crom has played shows with other metal acts, such as Stratovarius, Kataklysm, Hibria, Divinity, Into Eternity, Zimmers Hole, Infernal Majesty and Three Inches Of Blood.
Omega Crom features frontman Johnny Ketlo who displays a diverse vocal range from Falsetto, mid-range to Hardcore and Death. Omega Crom features a dual guitar onslaught brought forth by Johnny K and Wayne Holden who are prone to shredding, sweeping and ripping solos. Crushing rhythm guitar range from old school speed thrash to neoclassical style accompanied by face melting dual guitar harmonies.
The dynamic rhythm section of Omega Crom consists of Ian and Dan. Ian plays bass intensely and technically while holding down backing death vocals. Dan hauls double kick thrash beats combined with off time jazz elements punctuated with inventive rolls and blast beats.
Omega Crom History
Johnny Ketlo moved to Vancouver in 1999 to study music and create a ripping metal band. Ketlo started a band called Trenchant in college with Chris Stubbs on Drums and Derek "Dirt" Venables on Bass.
"I had this vision of relentless thrash, ripping but melodic leads, unpredictable riffs that you could also groove to easliy, and a singer who could sing like Halford, Dickenson, and Schuldiner incorporating a lot of different aspects of metal. People told me I was dreaming but that didn’t make me quit or want to compromise the vision in any way. It had to be this."
Johnny fronted Trenchant for a little while then parted ways after college to begin the project Omega Crom in Burnaby at an old dilapidated house with a few friends. It all started with Johnny K, Ryan Mackie, and Vince Borden jamming in Ryan’s basement.
"I was jamming with Trenchant at the Frat House trying out singers as I just wanted to play Lead guitar and not have to fuck around with the brutally demanding vocal parts I was writing." Says Johnny, "This guy I was trying out one day, I think his name was Dwayne, sang with a band called Elemenopea. The rest of Trenchant lay incapacitated and weren’t joining in an effort to audition the singer. Dwayne couldn’t do it, which was no surprise I could barely do it myself, so he asks if I want to meet a real good drummer. This guy was a huge skin head crazy lookin Mother Fucker I just met and I didn’t know if he was just gonna take me across town, knife me and steal my guitar, but for the sake of metal I agreed to go with him. He brings me to this beat to shit place in Burnaby (Ryan’s house) I walk in the door with my leather jacket on, long hair swinging, guitar in one hand and shitty amp in the other and see this guy Ryan sitting on his chair. Ryan takes one look at me while lounging his chair and says, You came to the right place."
So Omega Crom is forged and not long after, Vince and Tom (Tyrants Blood) are jammin' along. They spend a year and a half writing and rehearsing and auditioning singers and finally discover this guy from White Rock named Stu Block. Stu turns out to be awesome. OC shares with him the vision of technically demanding vocal style that was to be the voice of Crom. He does it no problem and six months later Omega Crom play their first gig opening for Thor at Thorfest. It wasn’t long after that Ryan was replaced with former Infernal Majesty drummer Colin Furness who brought years of knowledge and asskicking experience to the OC camp.
"We went on from there to play a lot of awesome shows together and do a number of succesful tours gaining momentum and reputation." says Johnny K, " opening for such acts as 3inches of blood, Kataklysm, and even playing a Cradle of Filth Arch Enemy after party which got a great review in the Edmonton Sun. Then Stuie B leaves the band to sing for Into Eternity. The guys become disheartened and the band is broken up."
Johnny Ketlo spends the next 3 years struggling to put the band back together. No band, no hope, out of work and out of luck.
"I had all these wicked songs written and the vision was still strong in my mind. There were times I was totally depressed and felt like quitting. How was I going to replace Stu? Who could play bass as good as Vince? So many demoralizing thoughts. Regardless, I could not let go." says Johnny K.
"One day I was looking through adds on the web and I see this one that says, into Pantera, so I think okay Pantera rips and anybody who’s into Pantera must rip too. I set up a place and time with this guy Wayne to meet and I show up there and the fucker was late. I almost turned around and left being jaded as I was from numerous flakey encounters. So I say to myself 'I’ll give this guy one more minute then I’m out'. I’m glad I waited that extra minute.
"So we meet and go to the place downtown and he shows me his guitar skills. I could see that he knew his way around the fretboard and had a lot of heart. So I show him the way we shred in Omega Crom. He moves into my place on the couch and I put him through guitar shred boot camp. I gotta hand it to him, he took a lot of brutal instruction and never once lost heart even when the going was tough which it always was. So Wayne and I are plugging away and start to audition drummers and bassist’s. The situation is bleak but I was driven and Wayne never doubted even in the darkest hours, which upon reflection, was every hour."
A producer named Rob Shallcross approaches Johnny K and says he wants to help record the debut album. Even though there is no band at the moment Johnny doesn’t give up. So Johnny brings Chicken the bed tracks of what he has so far and Chicken starts the preparations. At this time Omega Crom was a bruised and bloody corpse living a half life beaten but not slain on the battlefield. It was at this point that Johnny K began intense vocal training to become the singer.
"So we keep sluggin at er and before long Colin Furness decides to rejoin and help us through the adversity. With Colin on the drums things are lookin better but we still need that bassist. One day we are asked to go see a friends band play at some funk club and since we support our friends music and talents we make every effort to make the show. We got a flat tire on the way there and ended up SkyTraining it down and actually showing up too late to see our friends band play. So I turn to Wayne and say let’s get the fuck outta here, I had plans to catch Tom and Vince’s new band Tyrants Blood down at the Lamplighter. No sooner had the words left my lips and I see this brutal looking bass player outta the corner of my eye, a total metal dude in this place of Funk. So I say hold up a second Wayne let’s watch this guys band. The band was the Glim Project who ain’t metal but that didn’t stop the bassist from throwin down all finger style brutal onslaught of bass virtuosity. At which point I say to Wayne "I hope this guys lives in Vancouver."
Turns out the guys name is Ian Wilcke and yeah he lives in Vancouver and agrees to come over to the OC jam space for an audition. Omega Crom starts playing their set for Ian and after the first song Ian slams his beer down on the table and Says" Ok I wanna jam now".
Ian jams the whole set off the cuff never having heard it once and he was in.
So Omega Crom start touring again and do some great shows but when they get back Colin decides to leave the band to persue othe avenues. So now OC is without a drummer once again. They don’t give up and it isn’t long before the boys find new drum talent manifested in the person of Dan La Pierre who takes on the songs learning them within a month.
Against all odds emerges a killer line up of current members:
Johnny Ketlo- lead singer, and guitar
Wayne Holden- guitar
Ian Wilcke- bass guitar
Dan La Pierre- drums
...and an awesome Producer Rob (Chicken) Shallcross
Omega Crom prepares to slay once again.
"I went through Hell to get this far" says Johnny Ketlo. "I am on the other side now but my heels are still smoking. I got a kick ass band of brothers with me though and Omega Crom a previously bloodied corpse is now a risen warrior ready for combat, just a few more battle scars is all, no big deal."