The Burning Cold
Century Media Records
Omnium Gatherum have returned with another melodeath number to throw in the bucket, but this one actually has some merit and features a sound that I personally enjoy from melodic death metal – melody. Maybe that doesn’t come directly from the guitars, but keyboard melodies like those that open “Gods Go First” are more than enough for me. Obviously the cut isn’t that amazing structurally until it rolls in with some proggy-techy stuff, but that’s also where the guitar solo arrives in as it accentuates the piece almost in the same vein that Japanese power metal bands like Galneryus are known for. I also now caught where the vocal filters are applied to the cleans, as a commenter noted on a post for their latest video. Truly though, that isn’t such a bad thing. It’s not as if the frontman here is an autotuned rapper, he just wanted things to sound a bit more ethereal, and with guitar work like this; I’m nearly unconcerned with any vocal effect techniques. “Refining Fire” manages the same height of power, bringing back the days when In Flames were still a memorable act. It’s funny that I’d be reminded of them here. You know, it’s almost like Omnium Gatherum made this record to show the rest of the world that melodic death is still valid in western companies, especially since they are now neck and neck competing with Japanese virtuosos raised on Zun’s orgasmic Touhou compositions. And nearly every song is going to have a solo, which doesn’t exclude this number. But it doesn’t need a clean vocal effect every time either. Stick with the bark, it’s enough. If I wanted singing, I can find that in other bands. Just the growls and melodies are fine with me.
Of course, the band felt different and said, “Well, what about some electronic effects?” with “Rest In Your Heart” which strikes me as a bit bizarre with its opening vocal approach. Thankfully, the crunch comes in and that makes the piece thirty percent better. It’s not quite my favorite though, reminding me a bit too much of Kalmah and not really coming off like an Omnium Gatherum cut due to the folk influence. There’s no massive solo here, as piano and air seem to take that spot, as well as some crashing waves. I can do crashing waves, no issue there. As “Over The Battlefield” starts, I have to scratch my head and bit and wonder what is up with that odd sound effect used in the very beginning. Playful keyboards seem to decorate this haphazard number, which straddles between traditional melodic death and hardcore crunch. A solo section comes into play, but the vocals soon tell it to fuck off as this guy seems really confident about his repeating chorus. Of course, the song has some breathing room in which to explore more territory with the guitar and to give the keyboards a break. “The Fearless Entity” seems to feature a much longer guitar solo this time, as a sort of vengeance for being told to fuck off earlier. “Be The Sky” is decent enough, but they aren’t really deviating much from the formula here. Just a couple more prog elements, some acoustics, some keyboard nodes – you can pretty much understand where I’m coming from at this point. Still, the chorus here kicks because it’s accentuated with an awesome lead melody. “Driven By Conflict” is fine, but “The Frontline”, “Planet Scale” and finale “Cold” offer some of their best moments. I particularly like the closer because of its melancholic nature, which sounds a bit more passionate to me and less inorganic. It doesn’t feel like they’re playing by the numbers on this one, even if the deep-throated vocals here can sound like mumbling.
The bottom line here is that Omnium Gatherum haven’t really changed much. They still offer the same experience that great melodeath acts do, complete with powerful leads and solo sections, as well as the airy atmosphere, keyboard theatrics and sound effects of many similar acts. The clean vocal effects were probably not as necessary as they thought, nor were the weird deep-throated vocal sections which reminded me a dying Dracula. I mean, I can’t discern these very well and they don’t work the same way that they did when Anders Friedan used them on some of In Flames more contemporary cuts. Feels more emo than funeral doom, so I wouldn’t advise mixing them in. Just stick to what you’re good at gentlemen, and we’ll have no problems. If you’re interested in another strong offering by Omnium Gatherum, you can check out the album at the link below.
(11 Tracks, 51:00)
Purchase HERE (Amazon)