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Omnium Gatherum: New World Shadows

Watcher of the Skies

Despite being hailed as one of the best melodic death metal outputs from Finland, New World Shadows was my entrance into the wonderful world of Omnium Gatherum. This isn't an album for your close-minded death metal purist, but anyone who enjoys melody, progressive sensibilities, and symphonic keyboards in their extreme metal should adore this one. Although many albums of this type tend to often feel generic and uninspired, it's clear that Omnium Gatherum put buckets of blood, sweat, and tears into their latest effort. This is certainly one of the better melodic death metal albums in recent memory, and one every fan of the genre should have in his (or her) collection.

The music on New World Shadows is melodic death metal with obvious progressive leanings towards bands like Edge of Sanity (especially the Crimson II-era). Dan Swanö even lends his wondrous clean vocals to the album. New World Shadows opens up with the highly-progressive tune "Everfields" - possibly the best track on the entire album. There's plenty of variation here which keeps out any stale flavor, and the CD remains interesting throughout its entire 52 minute duration. Although there are plenty of killer death metal riffs, I love the beautiful atmosphere of something like the title track. That's top-notch melodeath right there and Dan Swanö's commanding vocals add even more to the mix. This surely isn't the heaviest death metal album you'll ever hear, but it's among the best that 2011 has yet to offer. I'd recommend all fans of Gothenburg-styled melodeath to give this a shot - you won't regret it.

An interesting sidenote is that the seventh track is titled "Watcher of the Skies". I don't think it's at all related to the Genesis track, though I could be wrong. I doubt it was at all a coincidence, especially considering the amount of progressive influences on the album.

The production is certainly polished, and maybe even a bit synthetic, but I really enjoy it. This is yet another aspect that old-school death metal purists will hate, but I have no issues with the production whatsoever.

Conclusion:

New World Shadows is a top-notch melodic death metal album from Omnium Gatherum that all fans of the genre should definitely look into. I've had a great time listening to the album recently, and it's currently one of the highlights of 2011 melodic death metal. This isn't a perfect album, and it may be a bit "too" polished at times, but it's a generally stellar effort from a skillful and talented group of musicians. I'll go with 4 stars for this unique and highly-enjoyable masterwork. Fans of progressively-inclined melodic death metal are in for a treat with New World Shadows.


Track Listing:
1. Everfields
2. Ego
3. New World Shadows
4. Soul Journeys
5. Nova Flame
6. An Infinite Mind
7. Watcher of the Skies
8. The Distance
9. Deep Cold

Added: March 13th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Score:
Related Link: Omnium Gatherum Website
Hits: 1610
Language: english

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Omnium Gatherum: New World Shadows
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-13 08:21:16
My Score:

The term melodic death metal does not do this album justice. Striking a balance between the heavy and the melodic, the light and the dark, Omnium Gatherum has created a genre bending gem that only gets better with each play. The band calls their sound Adult Oriented Death Metal. This is as good of a description as I can think of as they bring a maturity and a musical wisdom into places where few have tread before. The closest I can think of in recent memory are Barren Earth and Crematory. These bands both combine elements in a way similar to Omnium Gatherum but this Finnish quintet really has come up with a most unique blend. They lean more to the melodic than the bands previously mentioned and it makes for one of my favorite disc so far this year.

The melancholy start to this disc made me think of later day Genesis (briefly) before a huge drum roll by Jarmo Pikka takes you into the darkness of the metal side of "Evenfields". As the band takes you on a journey that transcends both of these worlds it becomes almost like a duel between the heavy and the melodic where the battle is so intricate and thought provoking you really don't care who wins because both sides are equal combatants. At just over nine minutes, this introduction hits you hard as the layers of sound that assault your ears seems to be almost too much. With each time that this work goes into the player you are rewarded with not only what you remember from previous sessions but you will also find new and exciting musical nuances that were not apparent before. This is the mark of a band that really has taken their time and done it well. It is not something that you will grow tired of. It is music that invigorates and definitely leaves you wanting more.

The way that the band combines the light and dark in varying degrees is what makes this one special. Where a song like "Ego" that is dare I say a happy melody that has some shades of gray to it, you next get hit with something like "Soul Journeys" or "Nova Flame" which are both pretty dark and cold but have the occasional beam of light that enters. It is the way that they bounce you from one extreme to the other that makes this one of the most amazing roller coaster rides you will find!

The legendary Dan Swanö lends his talents behind the board and he has made this one of the lushest albums you will hear. He also added some clean vocals to the mix also and his yin is definitely the yang to the vocals of Jukka Pelkonen. Personally I think Dan might have just wanted to make sure that he had his mark on this album and could say that he sang on it too. It is one to be proud of for sure.

Great music of any kind is like a fine wine that should be savored. It also gets better with age. I would have to say that Omnium Gatherum is the Asti Spumanti of symphonic death metal. Sparking and with a taste that gets better the more it rolls around your tongue. It is easily an early candidate for album of the year and a treat to the ears and cerebral cortex. I have had a hard time putting this one away and come to think of it, it still resides in the player in my car!



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