album

REVIEW: Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold

Finland’s OMNIUM GATHERUM was formed in 1996 where they emerged originally with a series of acclaimed demos. Their sound blends in very well that typical sense of Finnish melancholic melodic harmonies with raging aggression. Now it’s time for the band to release a new jewel to their already diverse collection. “The Burning Cold” is set for release on August 31st, 2018.

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Right before Tuska, I was invited to a prelistening event, where I also was able to have an interview with singer Jukka and lead guitarist Markus. The band struggled with the album when Jukka Pelkonen got all of his lyrics and demos stolen. He had to start again from scratch and thus came “The Burning Cold” to existence. He described the whole process as refreshing and felt like this is the band’s best work up-to-date. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s correct!

The opener of the album is a two-minute instrumental opener. A heavy guitar riff fades into a beautiful atmospheric buildup to “Gods Go First”, the first single of the album. The song was indeed a wise decision to put out as a first single. It summarizes very well what the band in general does. Deep growls, very melodic guitars with an amazing guitar solo and atmospheric keyboards as an addition to it. The whole song leans in the direction of an oldskool melodic death metal track (late 90s, early 2000s). “Refining Fire” opens with a brutal riff and moves along in a fast pace. It channels all its energy towards a fantastic chorus, that’s filled with harmony and emotion. When you talk about highlights, it feels as if the whole album so far has been one big highlight already, but then you come across a song like “Rest in your Heart”, which has an amazing keyboard sound, starts with Jukka’s deep vocals, almost talking, then they burst out, combined with the most beautiful melodies on the album. This song makes me shiver down my spine, and it lasts throughout the whole song, as it smoothly induces piano in the song, which is then used smartly for the outro. I understand that it’s too early to throw around with any personal highlights, I may have. But this one is it! “Over the Battlefield” seems like another highlight, it’s high on energy and again has inventive melodies. “The Fearless Entity” has a lot of tempo changes, it starts quite energetic, but then instantly turns into a more timid and introspective song. “Be The Sky” opens with catchy keyboards, which then meld into a guitar riff, in a mid-tempo pace. Halfway through the song, clean guitars are introduced and together with the keyboards, build a beautiful atmosphere, along with that melody is proof of a very groovy bassline, which doesn’t drive much attention to it, but it creates a well-polished multilayered track. “Driven by Conflict” is perhaps the most brutal and aggressive song on the album, especially in its intro, when the keyboards are introduced, it sounds like an epic altogether. The song also shows Latvala‘s drumming very well, with his relentless pace. “The Frontline” starts with clean guitar, that gets mixed with clean vocals and then smoothly transitions into an elegant chorus that ends powerfully. “Planet Scale” entice the listener with deeper guttural vocals from Jukka. The inserted break halfway through the song where the keyboards shine out continues in an epic conclusion to the song. From there on, the song smoothly blends into “Cold”, the not-so-anticipated ending to the album. In fact, I don’t want the album to ever end. The closing trio altogether continues the established harmonious, reflective and ambient soundscape that the band has managed to build throughout “The Burning Cold”. It leaves me with an empty feeling where I feel like I need more, all the time. It’s needless to say that the album is truly ingenious and very addictive.

Did OMNIUM GATHERUM just write the melodic death metal album of the year? The release shocks me, as I literally have nothing bad to say about this album. The production has a well-deserved retro feel to it, as the band also points to this nostalgia with their songs. It all fits together very well. With each album, the band has managed to surprise me more and more, up until now, where I am actually mindblown. The songwriting is sophisticated and elegant, they keep their style throughout the whole album, but often manage to make the sound even a bit progressive at times. Amazing guitar solos, beautiful melodies, and an amazingly built-up soundscape that immerses you from the first minute to the last one. Go get it now.

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© Jari Heino

Lineup
Jukka Pelkonen – Vocals
Markus Vanhala – Guitar
Tuomo Latvala – Drums
Aapo Koivisto – Keyboards
Joonas Koto – Guitar
Erkki Silvennoinen – Bass

Tracklist
01. The Burning
02. Gods Go First
03. Refining Fire
04. Rest In Your Heart
05. Over The Battlefield
06. The Fearless Entity
07. Be The Sky
08. Driven By Conflict
09. The Frontline
10. Planet Scale
11. Cold

Links
http://www.omniumgatherum.org
https://www.facebook.com/omniumgatherumband

 

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