Today’s blog post features a band that have really captured my attention over the last couple of years but even more so in recent months following the release of their latest album. That band, my friends, is Omnium Gatherum.
Omnium Gatherum were formed in the mid nineties and hail from one of the most metal-loving countries on the planet…Finland. Over time, I have come to expect great things from the Scandinavian countries and rarely am I disappointed. In particular, the mighty trio of Finland, Sweden and Norway have provided me with some of my favourite bands of all time and they keep delivering the goods. And Omnium Gatherum are one of the best examples of more recent times.
I remember seeing Omnium Gatherum live in a small venue in Colchester (The Twist) a number of years ago and I was impressed then at the sheer energy and commitment that was shown by the whole band that night. Their debut album, ‘Spirits And August Light’ showed flashes of brilliance, as did the follow-up, ‘Years In Waste’ but over time, the output has become steadily better and better, to the point where, with albums number five (‘New World Shadows’) and six (‘Beyond’), I consider the band to be one of the very best within the melodic death metal world.
The quinet of Aapo Koivisto (keyboards), Jukka Pelkonen (vocals), Jarmo Pikka (drums), Markus Vanhala (guitar) and Joonas ‘Jope’ Koto (guitar) as well as current session bassist Eerik Purdon offer the world their own personal take on a well-known formula but do it brilliantly and with a unique twist.
Melodic death metal sits at the very heart of the Omnium Gatherum sound and so listeners should expect to hear some powerful distorted riffing, a strong rhythm section and some seriously brutal growling. On the subject of the vocals, let me tell you that Pelkonen’s delivery and tone makes him one of the very best that the genre has to offer, full of venom and bite and with a lovely rumbling bottom end. Occasionally the band break out the clean vocals but this is done very sparingly, thereby avoiding cliché.
What makes the Omnium Gatherum approach that little bit more unique and special however, is the melodious nature of the material. Yes it is heavy, yes it can be brutal but thanks to some clever song writing, great musicianship and a well-honed melodic sensibility, it can also be beautiful and utterly beguiling.
Keyboards retain a prominent position throughout Omnium Gatherum’s music, creating lashings of atmosphere and also helping to soften a few edges as well, making much of the fare feel much more refined and smoother than it perhaps should given the amount of aggression on display.
And then there are the choruses. Ah, the choruses. The vocals for the most part remain brutal or at least gruff but guitars soar, keyboards push themselves forward in the mix and the music soars. The band refer to themselves as ‘Adult Oriented Death Metal’ and I have to say that this is a brilliant description. Melodic hooks and earworms riddle the compositions and, when coupled with an almost positive and uplifting overall feel to the music, some parts do sound as if they were lifted straight out of an AOR record rather than a death metal album, albeit a melodic one.
If you are looking for some music with some bite but which is also beautiful and addictive as all hell, Omnium Gatherum may just be the band for you. Check them out and show them some love because music this good needs to be heard!