Beautiful, atmospheric, ambiguous…these are just a few adjectives from a long list to describe the newest album from Finnish titans Omnium Gatherum aptly named Beyond. Coming from Kotka, a small town in southern Finland, Omnium Gatherum at first played a standard sense of melodic death metal but over the course of their career showed their more progressive side increasingly. Beyond sees yet again their’s knack for crafting intensely beautiful atmosphere coupled with crushing metal.
The first time I heard of Omnium Gatherum was when I saw their music video for their song Nail off the album The Redshift. At first I didn’t know what to expect but upon the first listen I knew there was something special. When in 2011 they released New World Shadows, it blew every expectation I had for Omnium Gatherum. With New World Shadows they found themselves stretching their progressive muscles a bit, crafting powerful melodies on top of low death growls with ambiguous atmospheres. Now with their newest work Beyond, Omnium Gatherum did what few bands of their genre can do and went more ambiguous and more melodic.
The album starts with Luoto (in Finnish meaning an islet or a rock so to speak) an instrumental with an acoustic melody that keeps repeating and sounds of waves crashing in the distance giving off this sense being on a small island off the coast of Finland. New Dynamic kicks the album in full force with a guitar riff and an infectious melody that only Omnium Gatherum dare to do. In The Rim does a good job of following up on New Dynamic and keeps it going until a break after the second chorus where the pace slows a bit to let a beautiful atmosphere build into the solo and then back into the chorus. Nightwalkers is an eight minute mammoth of a song where we first see Omnium Gatherum going into the progressive territory with it’s almost doom-like tempo and creepy melody. Formidable is an interesting track where in the verses a major contrast comes in between a very light almost clean guitars and growls, and for the first time on the album we get a bass solo coupled with guitar work that is reminiscent of Rush. The Sonic Sign is a high-octane song with fast riffing and excellent drum work. Who Could Say is the ballad off the album and in some ways is one of their most ambiguous songs choosing again to create an ethereal and emotional atmosphere. The Unknowing is in some ways the best song off the album with its highly melodic but melancholic atmosphere (almost to the point of tears) and where everyone in the band is made to shine. Living in Me is probably the most fun off the album with its high energy, a perfect song to drive around to. Finally with White Palace we again see Omnium Gatherum showing off their love for prog with its 10 minute timeframe and powerful instrumentals. Towards the end we see the album come full circle with synth driving the outro closing the album for good.
With Beyond we see Omnium Gatherum coming into their own, with a powerful release and not only that but their best release to date they have moved away from the confines of melodic death metal into new territory that even some of their contemporaries like Insomnium have yet to fully cross. Beyond is a masterful work of almost melodic euphoria mixed with complex arrangements and is sure to be something everybody in the metal community should be on the lookout for this year.
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Record Label: Lifeforce Records
Playing Time: 57 minutes