Omnium Gatherum
Stuck Here On Snakes Way

After the stunning debut from these Finnish melodeath upstarts, Spirits And August Light, the ceiling was supposed to be limitless for this young act who breathed life into a then dying genre. However, the follow up, Years In Waste was a letdown and many though maybe Omnium Gatherum were a one hit wonder.

Well, finally armed with a new vocalist, (Elenium’s Jukka Pelkonen replaces the asthmatic Anti Fillipu) and a new label, seem to have rebounded with a solid album that’s more in line with their debut, but still shows the band needs to deliver the goods on a more consistent to once again be considered one of the genre’s elite.

Off the get go, Pelkonen while still not the best vocalist around, is an improvement over Fillipu, with a deeper, gruffer but stills strained delivery. Riff wise, Markus Vanhala and Harri Pikka seem to be back in form after the rather unimaginative last album. Despite a more pure thrash tone, the riffs and synths have a more organic flow than many of their more rigid, mechanical peers and the layering solos seem to be a return to form. Still though, the band isn’t quite back ‘there yet’. After the brief intro, “Into The Sea” is a impressive, ‘we are back’ sort of opening statement, but then the album sort of peaks and falls with moments of melodeath bliss (“Into The Sea”, “A-Part of God”, “In Sane World”, six minute closer “Spiritual”) and pure thrash (“Dysnomia”, “Undertaker”, “Drudgery”), however both seem littered with occasional flashes of the lucid guitar work that made the debut so unique. But there are also a few missteps such as the more rock based “Bastard-O”, the awkwardly paced “Truth” and odd clean vocal outbursts of “The Third Flame” and ballad “Just Signs”. Still, even none of those moments completely derail the album.

Though not a full on return to form, Stuck Here On Snakes Way is a step in the right direction after Years in Waste. Its robustly produced and full of decent guitar work, I hope the next effort makes yet more improvements and sees the band back on top of the melodeath heap.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 25th, 2007

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