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Omnium Gatherum - The Burning Cold Award winner

Omnium Gatherum
The Burning Cold
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 July 2018, 11:07 AM

Veteran Melodeath sextet OMNIUM GATHERUM took their first steps in formation in 1996, in Kotka, Finland. An early EP and two full-length albums were released before Jukka Pelkonen joined the band for the “Stuck Here on Snake’s Way” release in 2007. Four more albums were released since then, and now we have their newest offering, “The Burning Cold,” set for official release on August 31, 2018. The album contains eleven tracks.

The title track is a two-minute instrumental opener. A solitary guitar fades into the picture and is soon led to a slow grind with a grandiose sound that spires high into the clouds. Markus’s lead guitar work is a weeping lament of strong emotions. “Gods Go First” roars in next, the first single released in advance of the album. It’s everything you would come to expect from the band. Fierce and deep Death vocals, melodic guitar work, and spacy keyboards in support. There are also some subtle Progressive elements in this forward-thinking sound. “Refining Fire” opens with a heavy and aggressive riff, with a fast moving pace. Harmonic leads soon join the fold, and the deep Death vocals are cut with surgical precision by a big chorus full of wonderful melody. Some clean vocals round out the charming sound, and if that alluring ending doesn’t hit you in the feels, check your pulse.

When you are craving that fat keyboard sound, “Rest in your Heart” fulfills the hunger. Jukka’s vocals are subdued at first, but spring out into the open as the melodies begin to build in layers. The sound is rich and full, satisfying and hauntingly beautiful. The piano notes at the end stirred goosebumps all over my body, and left a smile on my face that nothing could erase. Simply exquisite. “Over the Battle” brims with a raucous energy and spirit, and textures that you can almost touch. The yin and yang of heavy aggressiveness and wondrous melodies are locked in a mortal battle as it shelters you from the storm. “The Fearless Entity” opens with harmonious guitars in a slightly somber tone and then the lawlessness rushes in, only to be tempered again with that opening lead guitar line. Shifting to a more introspective sound at times, it pushes color into every grey nook and cranny around you.

“Be the Sky” opens with keys and an imperial sounding riff in a mid-tempo pace. The verses are lively and attacking while the chorus brings the sun to the cloudless blue sky that you can visualize while pondering the song title. About halfway through, they dial up the beauty with a clean guitar passage that warms you from the inside out. Circling back to that melody line, it cuts through you waves washing away your sins. “Driven by Conflict” is the straight up burner on the album, combining pulverizing rhythms with thoughtful melodies. It grabs you by your head and drags you around in the dirt while it crushes everything in its path. “The Frontline” opens with funereal clean guitars that fuse with doleful clean vocals and a commanding and elegant chorus that lets it all hang out. It builds in layers that shield a blistering cold gale with endearing warmth.

“Planet Scale” features deep guttural vocals from Jukka that rattle your soul, and guitar melodies that ascend into the heavens. The pace is quick and the earth is scorched as it passes by. The ending is magnanimous and really ties up the sound perfectly. “Cold” is the closing song. The opening sterile clean guitars reflect the gravity of the title. Deep and heavy, it moves at a lumbering pace with a crushing embrace. Bleakness, and the dull grey skies of winter are invoked in my mind. It’s the perfect closing song reflecting the theme and title of the album.

The fins have done it again! No Melodic Death Metal album this year hits the extremes as hard or as well as OMNIUM GATHERUM has done here with “The Burning Cold.” What’s perhaps most amazing is how long they have been doing this so well and how with each new album, comes renewal that nourishes the genre once again. Brutal and savage elements combine with an unabashed embracement of melody that is often all too forgotten in this style of music. The songwriting is sophisticated and intelligent, and the timing in unleashing the wondrous melodies is untouched. Graceful and opulent, this five-course meal of Metal is sure to stand as a contender for “Album of the Year.”

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. The Burning Cold
2. Gods Go First
3. Refining Fire
4. Rest in your Heart
5. Over the Battlefield
6. The Fearless Entity
7. Be the Sky
8. Driven by Conflict
9. The Frontline
10. Planet Scale
11. Cold
Markus Vanhala – Guitar
Jukka Pelkonen – Vocals
Tuomo Latvala – Drums
Aapo Koivisto – Keyboards
Joonas Koto – Guitar
Erkki Silvennoinen – Bass
Record Label: Century Media Records


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