(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum.)
As you know, we’re not really in the business of publishing negative reviews here at NCS. In fact I think the very idea of publishing something wholly negative gives Islander heart palpitations.
Still, I have to say that Grey Heavens, the seventh album by Finnish melodeath titans Omnium Gatherum, is, without a doubt, a thoroughly frustrating listening experience.
There are times when it positively crackles with the band’s patented musical magic, driven by the same passion and energy that made The Redshift, New World Shadows, and Beyond such thrilling, electrifying albums, ably accented by characteristic tinges of proggy melancholy and shamelessly extravagant fretboard theatrics.
Unfortunately, there are also times (more than I’m really comfortable with, truth be told) where it limps rather than gallops along, with a much more uneven gait, hamstrung and prevented from reaching its full potential by a nagging feeling of over-familiarity and a sense of “been there, done that” which lingers like a vaguely unpleasant odour.
Like I said… it’s frustrating, fluctuating as it does between utterly stupendous, and unsatisfyingly stock in its delivery. But that doesn’t make it a bad album. Just an uneven one.
In preparing these round-ups of new songs I usually try to include music from more obscure underground bands in addition to names most of us would recognize. But I didn’t have much time yesterday to wade through the interhole in search of new things, and by chance two of the new songs I heard come from some of the bigger names; the third one has been out for a month, but there’s a reason I’m including it now. And by chance, catchy melody is the common theme for these songs (which is a big reason these three bands are so well-known).
It’s been over two years since Finland’s Omnium Gatherum released their last album, Beyond. On August 9 they began a North America tour headlined by fellow Finnish melodeath stalwarts Insomnium — who are mounting the tour without growler/bassist Niilo Sevanen, replacing him for this tour with Mike Bear (Artisan, ex-Prototype) from the U.S. And to coincide with the tour, Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium are releasing a 7″ vinyl split, featuring artwork by Olli-Pekka Lappalainen.
We’ve collected here a quintet of new videos for your viewing and listening pleasure. In a rare display of brevity, I’m not going to attempt to describe the sounds or what you’ll see in the videos. I’ll identify the music and provide a band link, and then let you dive into the streams… beginning with an exception to our Rule.
Album: Distant Satellites
At long last, we begin our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. This is the fourth year I’ve compiled such a thing. With each year, the list has grown longer — last year I made myself stop only after the list had mushroomed to 56 tracks. I don’t know how long the 2013 list will be, because I’m still working on it. But I know what the first 3 songs will be, and if you continue reading you will know, too.
I will continue posting a pair of songs more or less daily until reaching the unknown end. The songs are unranked and appear in no particular order, because ordering them would be too difficult. If you’re wondering what this list is all about, go HERE.
HEAVEN SHALL BURN
“Heaven Shall Burn are what you get when you force Earth Crisis and Bolt Thrower to conceive a child, and then have that child raised by At The Gates and Carcass, while supplementing their intellectual development with a steady diet of Kant, Marx, and Baudrillard.” That’s what Andy Synn wrote when he reviewed this long-running German band’s 2013 album, Veto, and it does make a kind of demented sense.
Not long ago we received this announcement: Beginning early next year Dark Tranquillity will be mounting a North American tour in support of their new Construct album, and they will be joined by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum. Both of those bands turned in superior albums this year, with OG’s Beyond being a particular favorite of this site.
The third band on the tour is a California outfit named Exmortus. It appears we will have to investigate their music.
The tour begins on January 31 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before moving to the actual North American continent in Atlanta on February 1. It’s scheduled to conclude in Philadelphia on March 2. I know you will be thrilled to learn that, in between, it will stop in Seattle so that I may see it. These are very accommodating bands.
The entire slate of dates follows the jump. Tickets are already available for purchase at this site:
After a night of debauchery and a half day of painfully early work, I’m finally able to start catching up on what I missed in the world of metal since yesterday afternoon. This post is devoted to two things that caught my eye right off the bat.
Is that album cover up there awesome or what? It’s recognizably the work of John Baizley, and I think this may be my favorite cover he’s ever done. The fact that it graces the new album by Skeletonwitch just makes it all the more killer. The complete artwork was unveiled yesterday, along with more info about the new album — Serpents Unleashed.
It’s now scheduled for release on October 29 in NorthAm (a day earlier in the UK and most of the EU, and October 25 in Germany). It was recorded earlier this year at GodCity Studio with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Trap Them, High on Fire), AND there’s a song from the album that’s being given away for free: “Burned From Bone”.
Here are two new videos that appeared over the last 24 hours. Get your melodic death metal on.
The new album from Sweden’s Darkane is named The Sinister Supremacy. It’s their first album in five years and features the return of vocalist Lawrence Mackrory, who last appeared with Darkane 14 years ago on their debut album Rusted Angel. The album also includes eye-catching cover art courtesy of former Soilwork member Carlos Holmberg. It will be released by Prosthetic Records on June 28 in Europe and July 2 in the U.S., and it’s available for pre-order at this location.
Yesterday gave us the premiere of the album’s title track in the form of a lyric video. The words feature such loving phrases as “Violence is all I can see”, “I feed on your fear”, and “Murder is all that I crave”. But don’t worry, there are words of comfort as well, such as these: “In blood red ecstasy devoured by lunacy / This malicious demonocracy / Death resides in me”.
Okay, the words may not have much touchy-feely in them, but what about the music?
(Occasional NCS contributor Mike Yost has kindly allowed us to re-publish this recent piece he wrote about the importance of metal on long road trips.)
Denver, Colorado to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. About 1,638 miles. That’s 2,882,880 yards of asphalt. Burning through almost 200 gallons of diesel fuel. Passing what must have been over 1,000,000,000 fucking construction cones. The vehicle: A 22 foot-long Penske moving van with a dolly towing a car. 12 foot, 7 inch height clearance. Ten tires on the road. Total weight of about 30,000lbs.
Yes, this was (dare I say) an epic trip. And an expedition of this magnitude required tunes. Lots of tunes. Lots of metal. With almost 30 hours of drive time, silence for that long would have driven me into a bridge. Or rather, I would have driven willfully into a bridge, laughing manically while beating my head against the steering wheel.
Combine the claustrophobia of a truck cab, the inability to sleep while occupying such a contraption, the stomach aches from eating shitty gas-station sandwiches made with meat shaved from the hind-end of a decaying maggot-infested human carcass laying out back, the traffic jams in the middle of fucking nowhere due to construction, the congested cities you must fight your way through, and just the general mind-numbing tedium of miles and miles of road rolling out in front of you—endless and without mercy or conscience—then you understand the function and importance of metal to sooth nerves and subdue the urge to suddenly veer into oncoming traffic.
It’s only fair that we tell you Omnium Gatherum’s forthcoming album Beyond is now streaming in full. Since we published three different glowing reviews of Beyond months before its scheduled release dates (Feb 25 in Europe and Mar 5 in the U.S.) when we had no music we could share with you, it’s the least we can do.
Before today, Omnium Gatherum did begin streaming one of the album’s numerous stand-out tracks, “New Dynamic” (which you can hear at this location), and then they later premiered a wonderful official video for a second one — “The Unknowing” — which, for the hell of it, I’m including after the jump again.
But now you can hear the entire album. Thanks to a tip from DGR, I learned that it was premiered today by the Finnish Inferno site, and the SoundCloud player is embedded after the jump. But Inferno also has a track-by-track commentary by the band, and you don’t even need to process it through the hilarity of Google Translate because there’s an English translation of the track commentary at that site. Go HERE to read it.
Now, music . . .