Joy fills my dark, withered soul when a band who I've never heard of smacks me upside the head with an album that reaffirms my love of metal. Such was the case with Omnium Gatherum's spectacular Spirits and August Light. Amazingly, this album is their full-length debut... but they sound like they've been playing for many years and are at the peak of their art. The album is a masterpiece of progressive blackened power thrash, which is a new genre I have invented for just this occasion. The raw propulsive energy, intricate songwriting, and uplifting riffs mark Spirits... as an instant classic, an album that metal fans should not ignore.
Nothing is missing in this tour-de-force of high octane metal. The guitars are virtuosically handled by Markus Vanhala and Harri Pikka, who rip off dancing melodic leads and thundering rhythms with equal aplomb. Jarmo Pikka never misses a beat as he pounds the skins through dozens of tempo changes that come flying in from all angles with no warning. Anti Filppu's manic, frenzied rasping fills each track with a desperate urgency and provides a darker counterpoint to the melodic and often beautiful guitar passages. The keyboards and bass serve as seasonings in the dense sonic stew, providing depth and fullness to the band's sound. Taken all together, the individal contributions gel into a sumptuous meal fit for conniseurs of fine, vintage metal.
Spirits... never has a chance to become uninteresting or stale as a seemingly endless fusillade of riffs careens off the CD and into the stimulus cortex of your brain. The album's brisk pace slackens occasionally, but only to let you catch your breath before the pedal hits the metal again. Pacing is definitely one of the strong points of the songwriting, as the band knows just when to lay off the accelerator in order to make it even more dramatic when they floor it again. The clear, lush production also does its part in keeping the interest level high by giving the album a meaty, thick crunch but allowing for all the vibrancy and life of the performers to shine through.
Fans of Children of Bodom will be especially at home listening to Omnium Gatherum, but that comparison doesn't fully describe their sound. I instantly felt a connection to latter-day Carcass (from their Heartwork and Swan Song era), in both bands' ability to merge a relentless rhythmic assault with catchy riffs and blistering leads. Echoes of classic Death also peek through, but really it doesn't matter where Omnium Gatherum's sound came from. What does matter is that Spirits and August Light is superbly crafted metal that transcends genre and scorches a blazing path into the metal landscape.
Omnium Gatherum is:
Omnium Gatherum Official Site:
Rage Of Achilles Records: