Sound — 10
Okay I know there are a lot of people out there who are bored with melodeath and say that there are way too many melodeath bands out there. While this may be true that doesn't mean they are all just the same old same old. Omnium Gatherum is one of the special cases. I had never heard this band before until I discovered their new album was receiving rave reviews from everyone. I still am shocked that there was a review of the "Redshift" and not one of "New World Shadows" as this album has been out for well over a year. Pretty nifty cover artwork even though it is still in that kind of melodeath vein, the post-apocalyptic aspect of the artwork happened to strike a nerve with me. Listening to this pleasant surprise of a record made it a front-runner for album of the year 2011 in the metal category. Plenty of catchy but not giddy riffs and just enough synth without overdoing it made the atmosphere in this album very saturated with melancholy and the urge to do something amazing (at least for me). Song to song there aren't a lot of misses. Everything seems to be consistent in the melodeath vein but remains fresh. It is remarkable that any band is able to do this in today's music world. Not a lot of albums deserve the very high rating this one is getting but I really can't say otherwise. Song by song here we go:
Lyrics — 9
First an overall about the lyrics: They are mostly about despair and loneliness and never ending need to trudge forward. The lyrics are not terribly creative and consist mostly of fragmental phrases but they fit right in with the mood of the music. The vocalist is ten times better than their first vocalist. He has a deep and balanced growl and in a few songs does some clean vocals which are heavily showcased in "New World Shadows". Possibly my favorite song. 01. "Everfields": Everyone crowns Opeth in the metal community for having the most epic opening tracks in music. "Everfields" gives them a run for their money at nearly ten minutes having a slow build up and catchy lead hooks. One of the top 3 on the album easily. 02. "Ego": A pretty traditionalist melodeath song here. It has a very fresh chorus lead however that is a lot of fun to play. There is a guitar pro of this so you can play it yourself. Hey! Will you do it!?! 03. "New World Shadows": Although Jukka Pelkonen doesn't have the greatest clean voice in the world, he uses it at the end of this song in a dark anthematic breakdown layering vocal lines over each other in what is possibly the best track on this album. 04. "Soul Journeys": Here is some fresh melodeath. This was the single for the album and the band produced a music video for the song. Fast guitaring and a slower middle section with a spacey quality make "Soul Journeys possibly the song that characterizes Omnium Gatherum. 05. "Nova Flame": Again some prototypical melodeath but a little more creative than what we are used to. Impressive guitar layering here and a quick introduction with this track. Background synth provides more atmosphere. One of the better choruses on the record. 06. "An Infinite Mind": An intro similar to that of "Sky Is Mine" - Amorphis for those of you who know. The main break in riff is my favorite on the album. Extremely fresh song here that is one of the more technical on the album. Best outro on the album. 07. "Watcher Of The Skies": Here we have the only instrumental on the album. One of the best songs on here though. It is also slow but very melodic and is a song I enjoy meditating to. This is the kind of song that you could imagine playing just before a heavy downpour. 08. "The Distance": Fresh traditional melodeath song. The main riff is one of the happier ones but still melancholy. This would be considered one of the B-sides of the album but don't skip it. Still a track you will remember. 09. "Deep Cold": Final tracks on any album, especially in the melodeath vein are usually ultimate (Dark Tranquillity ftw). "Deep Cold" is no exception. The second longest track on the album it is another front runner for the best track on the record. It has an unforgettable middle section with acoustic guitars that I now have as a ringtone. "Deep Cold" is the perfect ending to a possibly flawless album.
Overall Impression — 10
Talk about surprise of the year. This album really came out of left field and stunned a lot of people. If you are not a melodeath naysayer then you will not want to miss "New World Shadows". Omnium Gatherum may be the most underrated metal band in existence and certainly in the melodeath category. Good luck seeing them live though. They pretty much only play in Europe right now. They would be one hell of a force live. As I have matured so has my musical taste and this album is one of the most intelligent-sounding records out there.