May 302023

(What you will find below is NCS writer DGR‘s review of a new EP by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum, which will be released on June 2nd by Century Media Records.)

There’s always a fair share of carny/used-car-salesman when it comes to catching someone’s eye with a new release, and especially when it comes to an EP, so if you had told us ages ago that Finland’s Omnium Gatherum were going to put out an EP that included a cover of the song “Maniac”, we probably would have assumed that’s what was going on. However, in 2021 Omnium Gatherum would put out Origin, which was a release so bathed in musical neon and earworm synth lines that it makes perfect sense for them to cover a song like “Maniac” – if anything it’s perfectly in line with what the band are up to these days.

That forthcoming EP, Slasher, consists of the new title song, the aforementioned attention grabber of a cover, and then two songs that were taken from the Origin recording sessions, roughly translating to the simple conclusion that if you loved Origin, you’re going to like Slasher because it is quite simply more Origin.

If you’ve enjoyed Omnium Gatherum throughout the years, and especially as they’ve embraced their campier side post-The Burning Cold, you’re also going to dig hard into the Slasher EP because even with an eighteen-minute run time, Omnium Gatherum still find a way to create some absolutely lush music with plenty of hair-blowing-in-the-wind-esque guitar and keyboard soloing to justify its time with you.

photo by Terhi Ylimäinen Photography

The exchange with Slasher is simple. Omnium Gatherum don’t stretch their wings and fly off into some unknown landscape here; Slasher remains firmly within their metaphysical wheelhouse, full of inward-looking lyrics and gorgeous soundscapes. You come to Slasher because you want more Omnium Gatherum, and even though lineups have shifted within the band over the years – the current incarnation includes the addition of journeyman guitarist Nick Cordle – the crew still sound a shit ton like Omnium Gatherum as they have before on both the newer “Slasher” song and the “Maniac” cover.

“Slasher” is Omnium Gatherum as can be seen from space, built around a powerful chorus and glorious guitar lead with plenty of room for drummer Atte Pesonen to lay down a horse-charging gallop. The “Maniac” cover plays it surprisingly straight, save for the obvious low bellow of Jukka Pelkonen making it recognizably the band’s own take. Most of the melodies are either picked up on guitar lead or handed over to keyboards, but as said before, given that the band are bathed in neon and nostalgia at the moment the cover is almost perfectly fitting. Never strays too far and basically just slows things down for a few. You’re not about to get the avant-garde take on the song.

It is, however, amusing when you hit a song like “Sacred” and you realize that’s a song they felt didn’t quite make it for the Origin album sessions. Even though it is easily the most expected you get out of the band it is still stunningly good. Slasher being the most consistently Omnium Gatherum they could get, even a song that was from the recording sessions for an album two-years prior, it’s still good enough that it is worth having on its own. It’s not some odd experiment or weird take on the band’s sound where they felt they could stretch. It’s a song that would’ve been just fine slotting right into the lineup of Origin: uptempo and likely to have its main chorus melody bored into your head for a long time.

photo by Terhi Ylimäinen Photography

“Lovelorn” does the same, though it’s a slower track. Omnium Gatherum have developed into having two modes when they’re not doing long, progressive numbers like the ones that dominated the tracklist on 2013’s Beyond. They’re either doing the keyboard-happy and uptempo numbers or they have the more ambient and stompier songs, wherein the rhythm section drives the bulk of the music forward and slows things down, leaving the guitars to float up into the air only to chafe at the chains on the ground during the chorus. Again, a song that would’ve fit perfectly well within the Origin lineup, though “Sacred” would’ve won the overall boxing match had someone offered up room for one more song on that disc.

Slasher, as stated before, is exactly what you might want from Omnium Gatherum in lieu of a full album. It is simply more of what the band are already good at. This isn’t a forward-looking EP, it’s just one of those records that shows why the band are still able to have a fruitful career nine albums in. They’ve found the mark of consistency that makes things still sound like them no matter what filter they put their music through. The new song and cover are all fun and good, the two outtakes just as enjoyable – though it’s “Sacred” and “Slasher” that are getting the constant trips back right now. If you’re happy with the idea of Omnium Gatherum just adding more material to an already consistently good collection, Slasher is a worthy get.

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