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Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens Review

Released by: Lifeforce Records

Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Release date: Out now!!!

Links: http://www.omniumgatherum.org/

 

Lineup:

Jukka Pelkonen – Vocals

Erkki Silvennoinen – Bass

Jarmo Pikka – Drums

Joonas Koto – Guitar & Backing Clean Vocals

Aapo Koivisto – Keyboards & Backing Growls

Markus Vanhala – Guitar

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Pit
  2. Skyline
  3. Frontiers
  4. Majesty and Silence
  5. Rejuvenate
  6. Foundation
  7. The Great Liberation
  8. Ophidian Sunrise
  9. These Grey Heavens
  10. Storm Front

 

Omnium Gatherum is a six-piece melodic death metal band from Finland, founded in the autumn of 1996. Although the band mainly follows the path of the melodic death metal genre, much of their work shows strong influences from progressive death metal, especially their later albums.

With the release of Omnium Gatherum’s seventh album, entitled Grey Heavens, it’s easy to see why the Finnish melodic death metal scene has such a fantastic reputation within the metal community at the moment. Taking cues from bands like Insomnium (with whom they share guitarist Markus Vanhala) or Amorphis, Omnium Gatherum continue to lean towards a more progressive death metal sound without straying too far from their melodic roots.

Omnium Gatherum may have created the model on how to properly string their songs together with this record. While the mood rests relatively unaltered throughout Grey Heavens, the individual songs differ greatly from each other. There is virtually no incident of two back-to-back songs sounding too alike, with the only exception being that both “The Great Liberation” and “Ophidian Sunrise” open with a keyboard riff. Even so, what happens after those first seconds of those songs matters, as they become more distinguishable with every note that is played. This is where the aforementioned progressive edge in Omnium Gatherum’s songwriting lies. It’s not about stuffing a million notes into a riff or composing a sixty-minute composition of a song, it’s about giving each single song a distinctive voice so the whole record can benefit from it. No song is without a flow on Grey Heavens, making it a vibrant and pulsating, admittingly completely melancholic yet strangely uplifting experience. Following a brief synthesized introduction, the band strut back into some quicker territory with “Rejuvenate”, and once again reminds listeners about just what it is that makes them a very capable force in the melodic death metal genre. Each instrument in this track has the opportunity to take the lead at some point, and with its up-tempo nature, it is very difficult to listen to it and not want to move along to the music. Transitioning into more of a progressive sound at the end, this song is something that needs to be heard to be completely understood, but it is one of magic. “Foundation” embraces everything about the band’s melodic and more progressive side, making it a singularly brilliant track. With a heavy emphasis on a synthesized backline, it feels simultaneously dark and ominous, as well as upbeat and uplifting. This track is littered with some very brilliant and masterful guitar riffs, and an outro that is sure to awaken the listener’s emotions.

Omnium Gatherum once again left their mix and mastering in the very capable hands of Dan “the-Man” Swanö of Unisound (Check out Witherscape if you have not yet done so). So far he’s applied his production skills to The Redshift, New World Shadows and Beyond, and I like the distinct sense of continuity that this brings to the band’s discography. What does surprise me though is that Grey Heavens demonstrates a marked shift towards improved change and a much higher than before measurement. Where Omnium Gatherum‘s earlier albums could hardly be called works of advanced accomplishment, Grey Heavens achieves some pretty decent levels. As expected, this has a positive effect on the listening experience, which leaves me wondering why I’m sometimes left wanting Grey Heavens and more importantly Jukka Pelkonen turned up a notch.

I can’t say I’m disappointed in Grey Heavens, but it doesn’t make me want to rush out and sell my soul to get a copy either.

 

Check out the official video for “Frontiers“ below;

 

 

Written by: Danielle Bates

Ratings  8/10

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