Omnium Gatherum
Beyond

Right out the gate, I expected to be floored by this new release of Omium Gatherum‘s, and I’ll suppose the hype was at *least* partly right on the money. I can’t say I absorbed everything on the whole ordeal without cringing a single time, or that I drank it up like it’s the finest lager during each passing moment of every tune – now, pretending that kind of a perfection is easy to come by would make me a hell of a hypocrite. But trust me when I say this, when the boys in this band don’t hesitate to go for the multi-layer approach, cooking up explosively genre-bending song structures that truly give me the impression this is a sci-fi movie soundtrack meets a particularly fascinating funeral doom record – I stand corrected on my habit of getting particularly sarcastic about them trending, Chart-Topping types of bands. There’s plenty here to sink your teeth into that you’ll actually feel has a lasting affect, and that’s regardless of the fact that in between slams of immense prowess, there’s some pretty uncanny filler and zoneout valleys.

”Luoto” is more of an intro than an actual tune per se, but it already does more than setting the mood or paving the way for the first song to speak of – it makes a statement of its own accord: this record is a heck of a well-balanced mish-mash of darkness and light. It encompasses most aspects of both those variables expertly well, so it’s hard to call any of these songs whether solely heavy or solely soft on the ear. Both elements clash, more often than not, and I’ll bet that’s exactly what this intro is striving to proove, and it does so successfully with a hooky acoustic pattern. It sounds real vast and airy, and you’ll find most the record feels very very roomy, that kind of a production being the best option for most melodic metal out there without question. ”New Dynamic” has some sort of a power-metally intro lick, albeit this hint of the genre can only be found in faint passages of the record – it’s not a game-changer or definer in any sort of a way. The first verse has more of a viking’esque vibe. The riffs are simple but effective, and both the nifty song structure and the hooks are on call. The licks also happen to really bleed with raw emotion. It’s a frenetic tune that doesn’t lack urgency either, and I gotta say the vocals are energizing too, plowing on in all of their mighty filth especially in that kick-arse chorus.

Such a compelling entrance into matter would explain why I was more than puzzled and let down by ”In the Rim” and ”Nightwalkers”. The former opens up with some really interesting bass work, along with brilliant riffage and leads that really have a way of conjuring up hope for the best – but this goes on a rather goofy power metal roll in the first verse that’s, albeit thankfully short-lived, not so fitting and a bit too easy and surprising coming from these dudes in particular. The progressive aspect of the tune also seems to be slightly go-nowhere, and the licks have a way of sounding canned/boxed-up/whatever you wanna call it that translates into Terribly Timid. The eeriness of the keys and the prompting, poignant, and gut-wrenching licks around the end of the song; it all makes for a somber and pretty epic wrap-up, but I still got left with a feeling that this, on the whole, felt dramatically lackey on more than one front. ”Nightwalkers” has the same issue, albeit it does score a couple more points which do lead up to some pretty rad tunes afterward – the use of bass drums give the overall scenery a real badass strength of character, the licks sound very à-la-Daylight Dies halfway into the structure of the track, along with a pretty bold and disillusioned vocal that has a way of sending shivers running through your brain. But those assets don’t roll in often enough in the whole span of the track to make it worthy from front to back – they’re scattered in the midst of some pretty reluctant content especially on the riffage front, and it seems even the keys could’ve plowed on more violently with more of a convincing, dramatic vibe in their wake.

”Formidable” starts off on desolate string work, which is a ritual that these guys know to perform really stunningly well when the inspiration’s audibly at its highest level, and that’s exactly what makes me frown over the two previous cuts so adamantly. This intro leads into razor sharp and punchy drumming with some more explosive guitar work in the rhythm section, entwined with mesmerizing leads. Hell of a shame this pattern takes a backseat from the minute the first verse rolls in; the rhythmic chugging herein sure doesn’t impress. The licks are haunting and the chorus hits the mark – thankfully. The second verse seems to have more oomph, but still could’ve used more luxurious layering. This is still the type of song you can head bang to, and it’s easier to get pulled into this one. I also gotta underline that ’bout three minutes in especially, it’s easy to see how skilled this bassist is; he’s really breathing a ton of life into this record on his very own, and truly acting as the foundation of it all, doing much more than flaunting his stuff throughout the album – he experiments and boundary-pushes plenty, all across the board. Kudos to the man.

”The Sonic Sign” gets into a surprisingly upbeat gallop that just happens to work wonders on this gal. It has plenty of ‘tude in its first verse, and the vocal is pretty goddamned fierce. Actually, even when it goes on a mid-tempo stroll, I’m digging the riffs – and that chorus is just as dark as it’s elegant. It’s fucking killer, in short. The overall structure of the track is accessible, but also calculating and throat-grabbing. ”Who Could Say” took me aback with the use of clean vocals (those aren’t this frontman’s strong suit, if I may say so) and the melodic guitars don’t seem to take as much space as they should’ve throughout this deal. The bass guides everything and expertly sails this ship no problem – but damn, the guitars could’ve gone on fast-evolving leads a LOT more than this. There’s no real momentum in the first verse, but it goes into one particularly moving and epic chorus, and at that moment, the vocalist sounds guttural, and his growl is downright impressively strong.

The savage drumming, along with the progressive and melodic rampage in the beginning, guitar-wise; it gives ”The Unknowing” a very three-dimensional feel, which is totally on the mark for a record like this one, IMO. The use of a mid-tempo march for verses is questionable, but those are well-layered enough to stay interesting, what’s with the way the guitars are playing off of each other. I’m liking the keys here. They’re really going for a strong feel in their melodic musings, plus the riffs in the rhythm sections are adding just the right edge to those. The soloing in this tune also has plenty of originality to its direction.

”Living in Me” goes on a nicely calculating lick to start with, coupled with really thunderous drumming, and quickly evolving basswork. The rhythm section also sounds real revitalized here. This cool as heck dirty riffage going into the first verse – it’s so hooky and prompting. This track has a cobweb of nuances going on and it’s all very cinematic and deliciously bewildering to boot. ”The White Palace”, on the other hand, is for the extremely diehard fans of the band in this turf and might not breeze past all that well for those that would rather get a compact display of flame-throwing madness from these gents – it’s more of a laid back song with bits and pieces of completely mental rage thrown in, albeit it seems to settle down for multiple valleys lined up within a ten minute span that seems to drag its feet and tone down the general excitement a peg – that doesn’t take anything away from the good stuff that’s about as easy to go back to as the Skip Back button can make it.

This is a satisfying and refreshing album, and it sure as heck gets one to take a long and good hard look at modern day melodic death metal through a very three-dimensional & very 2013 filter. And that, in itself, should tell you plenty about its quality – perfection doesn’t make Special. Uniqueness does, and those guys aren’t imitators, and they won’t jump through pre-organized hoops; Omnium Gatherum gotta be Omnium Gatherum, and last I checked, being yourself is the key to genuine impact.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Noch
February 18th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    Listened to the album streaming last week. Very impressive. Can’t wait until my copy arrives. Also wish they would release some vinyl. This album would sound great on a slab of wax.


  2. Commented by: Godjira

    Masterpiece #2.


  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    New World Shadows was terrific so I’m quite looking fwd to this, these guys have grown and matured so much over the years.


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