As I listen to New World Shadows, the latest opus from Finland's Omnium Gatherum, I am awash in triumphant and majestic riffs that are far prettier than anything that a sub-genre of death metal should ever produce. But therein lies the rub. The reason I stay up at nights listening to New World Shadows followed by Scream Bloody Gore. These are not the same. Should they be considered in the same genre? The same sentence? The same subtext? The answer is.... I don't know. But I do know this album makes my balls tingle when I hear it. Melodic metal is something I have had to come to terms with in my declining years, casting aside the thoughts that metal is the soundtrack for punching things and hate sex, not to envision lush landscapes and unicorns.
Ok, this isn't unicorn music, but it really does create a dichotomy of the beauty and the brutality that is somewhat ahead of it's time. Sure metal and heavy music in general isn't the one-trick pony it used to be. It can send the listener to a whole brochure of different destinations besides the ninth circle of hell.
Omnium Gatherum know this and use it to their full advantage. The name of the band suggests a blackened sort of death, but these guys have been around for 15 years progressing more and more with every subsequent release since 2002's Steal The Light. They know their way around a song and have the chops to turn them into epics without ever sounding forced. Two songs clock in at over 9 minutes and with a full rumming time of 51 minutes and change, there's not a nanosecond wated.
NWS marks the first album without longtime guitarist Harri Pikka, leaving the last founding member Markus Vanhala handling all guitar duties, and lemme tell you – this man can shred. Don't believe me? Wait until around the 3 minute mark of “Nova Flame” and tell me I'm wrong. Go on, tell me. 303-425-9015*. New bassist Toni Mäki is all over the album kicking the shit out of tracks like the title track and “An Infinite Mind”. It's taken me the last couple of albums to decide for sure whether or not vocalist Jukka Pelkonen was the right man for the job since joining in 2006, but now I can say with the utmost confidence that of course he fucking is. I'm sorry I ever doubted it. Pyydän anteeksi. This spring, they can be seen across Europe touring with Rotting Christ who will most likely be seen at the side of the stage every night, taking notes.
** not my real number. What am I, fucking nuts?