Mar 28, 2013

Review: Omnium Gatherum - 'Beyond'

Rarely does an album come out that appears to have been tailor suited to my listening needs. This is one of those for sure.

In the last 6-7 years I can only think of a couple bands that made a bigger impact on me; In Mourning and Scale the Summit come to mind. Simply falling under the melodic death metal moniker, Omnium Gatherum have not appeared on my radar until I heard this album, although the previous release, 'New World Shadows' was nearly as engaging (as I recently found out).

From the very first time I heard the intro to 'Beyond' titled "Luoto", I knew I was dealing with something superior. The incredible diversity and unity of power, fury, intricate melodies and well-arranged compositions is what really makes this album so irresistible. Every song sounds different, but the fascinating melodic accents provided by guitarists Markus Vanhala and Joonas "Jope" Koto solidify the album as a whole and stamp a unique seal of freshness with no 'best before' date. Something that is a rarity these days. Just when you thought you've heard all there was to enjoy, comes the epic closer "White Palace".
This is most certainly one of the finest prog death metal albums I've ever heard.

I've been listening to metal for over 30 years, and it is rare, especially these days to not get at least somewhat bored with an album, before it ever reaches the end. In case of "Beyond", I've often found myself replaying it from the beginning as soon as it ended. I'm doing it again right now.

If there is an Achille's heel on this release, it has to be a rather weak voice of Jukka Pelkonen, which is to say, his voice seemed stronger on earlier releases by Omnium Gatherum and on this one, as long as you listen on the headphones, it seems fine, but via speakers, his growls could benefit from better EQ tweaks. On a total sidenote, Am I the only one who thought that Ozzy Osbourne did some guest vocals on a track 'Who Could Say"?

Fans of melodic death metal such as Amon Amarth and early In Flames will dig this (especially "New Dynamic" or "Formidable") as much as some power metal fans not afraid of manly vocals ("The Sonic Sign"), those who enjoy already mentioned In Mourning will instantly fall in love with this album. Brutal death metal fanatics shall stay clear of this offering.

Standouts include "Luoto", "New Dynamic", "Nightwalkers", "The Sonic Sign", "The Unknowing" and "White Palace.

An easy 5 star rating, something I rarely ever give out.


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