Today we have Jude Mascarenhas reviewing the new album from Omnium Gatherum titled Beyond, released via Lifeforce Records. We usually don’t go for a track by track review, but then Mr.Jude here seemed to be too enamored with the album that he insisted it’d be the best way to put it across to the reader. Read away lads!
2. New Dynamic
3. In the Rim
6. The Sonic Sign
7. Who Could Say
8. The Unknowing
9. Living in Me
10. White Palace
Omnium Gatherum are a melodic death metal band from Finland that has been around since 1996.
With the level of experimentation going on in today’s metal scene it was a refreshing break to be reviewing some straight forward melodic death metal. Now while I have heard alot about omnium gatherum, I hadn’t actually heard any of their releases. which really left a blank slate while reviewing Beyond.
TRACK BY TRACK :
luoTo – the first track off the album gives off a very ‘sparkly’ feel but not in the R-Patz way. When you’re done listening to the first few seconds of that chimey clean guitar transition into that soaring lead passage. You kinda get the gist of what Omnium Gatherum is all about : Dynamics and ambience
The New Dynamic – A little cheeky for a song title but unfortunately here’s the part of the album that I really have a bone to pick with : The vocals. The vocals just don’t fit in with the beautiful soundscapes the instruments manage to create. It’s like shoving a piece of bacon between two slices of fluffy cheesecake. That too it’s generic over the counter bacon, not the good stuff. Now I know some of you are ok with pairing sweet things and bacon (You heretics) But I’ll take the soaring clean vocal delivery towards the end.
In The Rim – The driving tempo of the previous track carries on into In The Rim. This is a pretty straightforward track but I do believe the vocals actually gel with the music and the arrangement on the track is pretty amazing as well.
Nightwalkers -Not really fond of this song. This track trudges along slowly and unfortunately puts a lot of emphasis on the vocals. You’ve got a musical break which is pretty trippy but it can’t save the song from sounding like a filler
Formidable – ok that intro sounds alot like Hotel California, but despite this heinous crime I really adore this track a lot as it manages to shift between sullen driving and upbeat trippy atmospheres quiet well and those clean passages have aurally pleasing acoustic guarantee some tasty bass licks to boot
The Sonic Sign – Cheesy intro. It’s like Dragonforce on valium. But despite that deceptively cheesy intro, the song does have some really nifty riffs, plus the best lead work on the album, they really do tear it up on this one.
Who Could Say – This song could easily pass for an 80’s pop-rock song (minus the uber-reverb on the snare drums) but the transition into that growling passage really hits you like a righthook cushioned with a dozen pillows. What the track lacks in complexity, it makes up with beautiful melodies, soul and an extra dash of epicness.
The Unknowing – This is the most, dare I say it, beautiful, track of the album. The track oozes epicness like a Lord of the Rings movie. The growls fit this track perfectly, and the addition of clean vocals would’ve hit this one right out of the park. The music is heavy but the overlay of subtlety and the generally soothing atmosphere make this a wonderful track.
Living In Me – The solo guitar on the intro could tell you that this is probably gonna be one of the heavier tracks on the album. And you wouldn’t be wrong. The last few tracks on this album is where Omnium Gatherum really seem to hit home. The song is groovy, driving and has some really well-placed riffs. Straightforward in song structure but exceptional arrangement and sick riffs make this worth the listen. Also, the song has a sick solo with some stellar lead guitar passages.
White Palace – The sleeper hit on the album. Moderately paced and laced with that atmosphere of serenity. It’s almost like they want you to lie down in some open field, staring at the sky while you contemplate the wonders of the cosmos. This song could easily contest for best album closer of the year. Not because of extraordinary music or kickass riffs, but the ability to fit the mood of the albim perfectly and give it that final gentle push before it closes.
Just a heads up : It ends with the same riff on LuoTo, which probably is a hint that you might wanna play the album all over again.
The production on this album is one of the vital elements as to why the album is so good. The ambience on the album with the synths and strings, and the underlying guitars gives you that feeling of ethereal awe. The same way you’d be impressed if you were to suddenly see a dragon burst out on the silver screen. While the latter is something we’ve grown accustomed to in movies.
The synths saturate the album while the guitars add the technicality without sounding wanky. The distortion doesn’t sound overly crisp but that suits the sound of the album just fine. The lead tone is probably influenced by a certain bald, sunglass-toting virtuso, but it is orgasmic (Ha..Zohan) The bass is actually audible and lends to the mood perfectly. I can’t imagine those sparkly clean guitar passages without those funky bass lines to add that extra tinge.
The cookie cutter growls just don’t cut it, even if clean vocals were to be properly introduced. The style and delivery is boring and stale and lacks the punch to perfectly top off the beautiful music.
Nothing special about the drums, just your regular melodic death metal drums. Lots of double kick, occasional half-timed blastbeats. Lather,rinse amd repeat. But hey, that’s exactly what this album calls for and I would’t have it any other way.
FINAL REMARKS :
Few albums and bands can actually bridge the gap between heavy and ambient without overdoing any of the two or both. Omnium Gatherum have bridged a fine working link between the two but there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to vocals. I do hope Dan Tompkins comes in on a silver shining horse, wearing a white cape, after being tossed down an abyss while battli-…..ok enough LOTR references. Here’s wishing Omnium Gatherum the best of luck and that they continue to improve on this beautiful work of art.