Review: “Origin” by Omnium Gatherum

Formed in Finland 1996 during a time that saw an emergence of a new wave of Melodic Death Metal in Sweden that would latterly be known as the Gothenburg Sound, Omnium Gatherum have been a band who have endured the test of time despite a myriad of line up changes that at times has threatened their very existence. That is perhaps one of the reasons that they have not enjoyed the success that the likes of Dark Tranquility and In Flames have in that time with lead guitarist Markus Vanhala the only original member of the group still standing in the ranks today. That being said, keyboard player and backing vocalist Aapo Koivisto and frontman Jukka Pelkonen have both been in the group now for more than 15 years, creating something of a holy trinity…

…and that marks “Origin” as the bands seventh studio album with the trio at the forefront. Recording at Helsinki’s famous Sonic Pump Studios (Amorphis, Wintersun) for the first time since 2004’s “Years In Waste“, the band remain innovative and fresh sounding compared with some of the more recent material from some of their counterparts and peers in the genre. They do this with by trusting their instincts and writing with a freedom which others seem afraid of, perhaps not wishing to alienate their core fan base, and that sees Omnium Gatherum continuing to show the Progressive Metal influences in their sound which the last few records have brought the the fore. There are times when the Death Metal growl of Pelkonen is the heaviest part of a song rich in vibrant synths and melodic guitar work but that is by no means a problem. Each song has a depth and texture with a density built up of powerful rhythms, bright melodies and powerful vocals that are perfectly balanced thanks to the mixing of Jens Bogren (Sepultura, At The Gates) that gives the album as a whole a wonderful flow from the very start, together being greater than the sum of its parts. It feels like the synths are more prominent of the opening half of the record with the guitars coming to the fore more in the latter half with the trilogy of “Friction“, “Tempest” and “Unity” being the finest of collective offerings here thanks to a more rounded, less synth heavy sound that allows the guitar melodies to shine. The staccato riffage of the powerhouse “Friction” which has a face melter of a solo is one of the highlights of the album, it’s bold arena filling clean sung chorus a majestic triumph in the context of one of the albums heavier tracks. Similarly while “Tempest” is melodic at the stat, it builds into a ferocious middle section and the Thrash inspired soloing of “Unity” is just immense. That’s not to say that the first half of the record doesn’t have plenty to offer in its own right and first single “Paragon” is certainly a powerhouse cut, the clean vocal parts perhaps distracting from just how heavy it is the verses. The spacey keys of “Reckoning” start it off like something from the 80’s before the gruff vocals kick it in the guts and allow the heavier rhythm guitar work to shine. Overall, a solid record from a band who perhaps don’t get the credit that they deserve [7/10]

Track listing

1. Emergence (2:35)
2. Prime (5:23)
3. Paragon (4:13)
4. Reckoning (5:15)
5. Fortitude (6:19)
6. Friction (4:54)
7. Tempest (5:58)
8. Unity (6:19)
9. Solemn (8:46)

Origin” by Omnium Gatherum is out 5th November 2021 via Century Media

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