Omnium Gatherum


Written by: IM on 21/02/2013 22:25:17

“Beyond” is the sixth studio release by Omnium Gatherum, a six piece melodic death metal band hailing from Finland and their most anticipated album since 2011’s breakthrough “New World Shadows.” For a band so well received in their native land, it is surprising that their notoriety has not spread further. Dating back to 1996, Omnium Gatherum have been through quite a catalogue of band members, their success appearing to gather momentum with the replacement of vocalist Antti Filppu with Jukka Pelkonen in 2006. Omnium Gatherum have enjoyed relatively mainstream success in Finland, with their penultimate album “New World Shadows” having topped charts there. That album received such critical acclaim, it is even considered ‘one of the best melodic death metal albums in Finnish metal’ and there are quite a lot to choose from. This must be high praise.

Omnium Gatherum are loved by fans for their harmonizing melodies, juxtaposed with the contrasting sounds of death metal guitars and drumming. The vocals vary, from a growling, gravelly nature which some may say they can ‘bear-ly stand listening to,’ to what are by comparison, fairly clean sounding.

Omnium Gatherum are often referred to as melodic death metal at its best, intertwined with progressive death metal elements. “Beyond” illustrates this to the letter, starting out in a most proggish manner and progressing after a while to death metal. It must be said that the recurring description of Omnium Gatherum’s sound as ‘epic and progressive’ could not be more apt.

In relation to “Beyond,” guitarist Markus Vanhala stated that ‘the album follows the good known path of “New World Shadows” and “The Redshift” but adds a lot of new flavours and spices.’ Beyond has been argued to be their most melodic and versatile release to date. Combining such a claim with the brutality of Jukka Pelkonen’s vocals makes “Beyond” rather a paradox of an album. Vanhala also stated that ‘the basic theme of the album is about the culmination point of one's existence. It is a coming home story, where the mysteries of duality are melted into oneness, but without losing one single point of individuality along the arrival.’ This is a rather ambitious statement, but the proggish and epic nature of the music goes a long way towards achieving this. The band released the teaser track "New Dynamic" on 9 January 2013 and on 6 February the official music video for “The Unknowing.”

Turning to the tracks themselves, “Nightwalkers” is a progressive death metal epic, over eight minutes of dark melodic grooves, tempo changes and dark moody vocals. “The Sonic Sign” sets out with a dramatic Vangelis style keyboard intro, quickly diving into a catchy head banging riff, accompanied by gruff vocals. This song is rather cyclical, commencing with a shredding solo, diving into the main riff then culminating with a keyboard outro which mirrors the introduction. Somewhat perplexingly, the highlight of the album; “Who Could Say” bears a resemblance to, dare I say it, a song by the band’s Finnish friends, HIM. Such a preposterous proposition will undoubtedly not be well received by death metal veterans. However, there is something about not only the intro, but also the vocal style, which bears a surprisingly striking similarity. Whilst a haunting, slow tempo track and probably the best on “Beyond,” “Who Could Say” does not sit particularly well with the style of the other tracks. “The Unknowing” features a gentle piano intro, juxtaposed with powerful riffs and mysterious interludes. It is also reminiscent of “Soul Journeys” from their penultimate album.

For those who do not like death metal; this album should be avoided like an angry bear with a bad throat. For those who would gather ominously at such a daring assertion; “Beyond” is very much a successor to “New World Shadows,” building on and embellishing the progressive melodic symphonies for which Omnium Gatherum are applauded.


Download: Who Could Say
For The Fans Of: Insomnium, Dark Tranquility

Release Date 22.02.2013

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