Vera : This year Omnium Gatherum has been around for twenty years and we can celebrate this exuberantly with their seventh studio album ‘Grey Heavens’, since that is a stunner like fury again. After their previous feat ’Beyond’ (2013), the Finnish band toured in Europe as well as in the US with Insomnium and played as much festivals as possible. But guitarist Markus Vanhala (also active in Insomnium) is a busy bee. That’s why the six-piece could already enter the studio last summer to record new songs.
It has always been admirable how Omnium Gatherum forged all kinds of influences to their own signature brew, just like the band name suggests. In despite of the fact that this is very melodic death metal with loads of frivolous keyboards and magnificent, emotive guitar solos, they kept a beloved roughness due to juicy grunts of Jukka Pelkonen and ultra tight riffs. The art to craft all this into fetching songs came easily to them again on ‘Grey Heavens’ so it seems. You think you hear all kinds of details from other bands, yet it sounds ultimately like Omnium Gatherum. They also relish their songs with almost sweet clean vocal parts, another characteristic. Opening track ‘The Pit’ instantly convinces us with its Amon Amarth like rhythmic patterns and guitar accents, but in addition to the grunts there is also room for a few sweet clean vocal lines. More reminiscence to Amon Amarth during the resolute mid-paced ‘Skyline’. Later keyboards appear in the front for a moment, followed by a delicious guitar solo. The style of Vanhala is graceful: even if he plays fast, emotions prevail. That is also a salient feature in the with modern keyboards regaled ‘Frontiers’ (single and video clip) and the long, majestic ‘Majesty And Silence’ which reveals us its inventive twists and turns in eight minutes. This is top notch class, while we hear fervent as well as howling Floyd-like guitar solos. ‘Rejuvenate!’ has the energy of youth with sprinkling piano accents. Try to be immune for the catchy melody lines in ‘Foundation’, I bet you cannot. Every song also includes that pure Finnish melancholy, even if the performance is energetic. ‘Ophidian Sunrise’ has a dark spoken part for instance, but sudden guitar heaviness as well. One can find an instrumental song on every album and this time it is ‘These Grey Heavens’ in which atmospheric and emotive introspection go hand in hand with some heavy passages. The last track, ‘Storm Front’ has playful keyboards in the vein of Dark Tranquillity, but it finds it way heavily rocking towards the end. A wild occlusion; of an album that is obviously created with love and talent. Let us hope that they will soon come our way again to see them live.