I was really enthusiastic to cover a record by Omnium Gatherum since I had seen them live earlier this year. The band managed to mix energizing melodic death metal with highly atmospheric, enchanting, and melancholic progressive passages and the longer tracks had especially amazing and profound buildups. I decided to discover more of this band and stumbled over the reissue of its fourth full length release The Redshift that had been released back in 2008. Reissues and especially re-recordings don’t always make sense. This is also the case for this package. The band included the original album on this release plus four bonus tracks. Instead of offering anything really new, the additional material is composed of one live track, two demo versions and an alternative version of some songs taken from this release. If you can still get your hands on the original release, I would simply go for this.
It took me some time to accept that this record wasn’t what I had initially expected. There are no highly atmospheric, epic and progressive tracks on this release. The longest track is only five minutes and a half long and the album even includes many shorter and faster tracks between two and four minutes. The only faster and more diversified that really impresses me is though the inspired opener “Nail” which is maybe even one of the best tracks on here.
Despite a first disappointment, The Redshift is an album that easily surpasses anything that had recently been released by genre colleagues such as Dark Tranquillity or Soilwork for example. Instead of only adopting the sound of the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene, the sextet added something very Finnish to their sound that I can also find in my favourite metal band Amorphis or in almost any Finnish band I have ever known from Apocalyptica over HIM to Stratovarius. It’s this uniquely sweet melancholic feeling that gives the songs a longing touch. This is this band’s winning element to stand out and it’s mostly transported by floating guitar melodies, a clever use of keyboards and the use of diversified vocals between unchained growls and fragile clean passages to build up a magic atmosphere. Many of the songs are too short and fast to fully develop this element but each time it appears for a while, the band completely grabs my attention.
A good example is the less aggressive and more atmospheric “No Breaking Point”. The slow and menacing but at the same time hopefully longing spirit of “Shapes On Shades” almost reminds me of a harsher Amorphis song and is a definite grower. The melancholic and slow hymn “Greeneyes” that almost starts like a Dream Theater ballad sounds a lot like contemporary Amorphis by using only profound clean vocals. This particular tune manages to touch my mind and my soul. It’s somewhat the hidden gem on this record for me. The floating and progressive instrumental interlude “Song For December” reminds me of the eerie atmosphere of Opeth and it’s a pity that this song is so short. Omnium Gatherum shows us glimpses of its incredible talent in many places but I’m still missing an absolute breakthrough anthem on here.
After several spins, these bittersweet and thoughtful passages get omnipresent. They grow on you and make what seemed to be a good average album at first try a pretty amazing record. Omnium Gatherum need to some more time to open up on a studio record than in concert but once the magic unfolds you are absolutely stunned. The patient listeners will get rewarded for sure with this band. From a personal point of view, I’m sure that this is only the starting point of an artistic love story between Omnium Gatherum and me. If you care for atmospheric, emotional and profound metal music in the key of Amorphis, you can’t get around this band anymore. They would really deserve to get some more recognition for their recent works. Go and check them out now.