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. Continue reading »

Nov 032021

(There’s a new Omnium Gatherum album out this Friday, and Andy Synn has the low-down on what you need to know about it)

After you’ve written for any site/blog/zine for any decent amount of time you’ll find that certain habits, certain patterns of writing, set in.

Case in point, it turns out that I have written, in one way or another, about every single Omnium Gatherum album released over the course of the last decade, which should tell you two things:

One, I am getting old, and two, I am definitely a fan.

That being said, I’m not a fanboy, by any means, and have never hesitated to call out what I think (and hope) are valid criticisms, which is why the rather mediocre Grey Heavens ended up on my “Disappointing” list for that year, and why I didn’t hesitate to point out that, for all its good points, The Burning Cold was a little too long and uneven for its own good, and lacked the steely-eyed focus of the band’s very best work.

Of course, another thing you should know by now is that when I say something is good, really good, I mean it. And not only is Origin really good, it’s also easily the band’s best work since Beyond.

Continue reading »

Oct 012021

Unto Others

(NCS contributor Gonzo returns with another end-of-month roundup of music that caught his ears.)

There are a few bittersweet observations I’ve come to realize in the past month, related both to music and to the endless hellscape that is the human condition:

As of this writing, 2022 is just three months away and I’m still processing whether 2020 was even real. This means that while I survived the endlessly overwhelming shitstorm of that year, it does beg the question of how much worse this planet could get for humans over the next decade.

While live music is back and I’ve been reveling in the joy of sweaty venues and the sleep deprivation that comes with festivals again, I was just notified that Judas Priest is postponing the rest of their tour due to Richie Faulkner’s heart condition.

The next date would’ve been where I would see them (for the first time, no less) here in Denver.


The good news? Sabaton, who opened for Priest on this tour, is still playing a show in Denver, and by the time this piece goes to print, I’ll have seen the show and will post a full review in the coming days.

In the meantime, I’m at least somewhat distracted by the troves of amazing heavy music that keep blasting out of the darkest corners of the netherverse as of late.

Join me as I take you through some unfettered heaviness and savagery that’s emerged in the past month and kept me sane as we descend into 2021’s final few months. This month, I’ve got two albums and three singles for you to delve into. Continue reading »

Sep 252021


To avoid boring you and offending vegetarians and vegans out there, I’ll spare you the details, but I have to pick up an animal carcass and then burn wood in a pit for about 6 hours today before burying it. There’s a lot to be said about staring at fire for 6 hours, but I’m going to drink anyway.

And anyway, because this all has to get started soon and because I slept in, I’m unable to write this morning. Even in the “Overflowing Streams” format I usually manage to write a couple sentences about the new music and videos I’ve chosen and then leave pre-order and Facebook links. I don’t even have time to do that today. In the 11+ years of NCS I can’t remember another time when all I’ve done is installed the music streams and videos. I guess there’s a first time for everything.

To salve my wounded conscience I did decide to (mostly) limit this collection to what I consider well-known bands because you’ll probably have a good idea about what’s coming without me providing any guidance. But there may still be a few surprises.

P.S. There’s no new music from Lock Up in this collection. I just like Khaos Diktator‘s cover art for the band’s new album. The first single, “Dark Force Of Conviction”, will be coming on September 30th with a video. Continue reading »

Feb 052019


Another day, another pair of songs for my list of highly infectious tracks from 2018 releases. Without further ado, here they are (you can check out the preceding installments of this series here):


The first track I’m adding today is “Lightless“, from the 2018 album Shed by Denver-based Mire. A choice of something from this album might have seem fore-ordained, since it made Andy Synn‘s “Personal Top 10” year-end list, as well as No. 33 on DGR’s year-end list. But not so. I don’t always agree with my colleagues’ views about albums, and even when I do (as in fact I do here), that doesn’t mean the album will necessarily be home to one or more genuinely infectious songs. But I do think this one is. Continue reading »

Dec 312018


(DGR is actually turning NCS into a coffee table book, but slowly, one day at a time, from now through Friday.)

About halfway through the year I actually thought I was going to make it through the year-end with a solid Top 30 list and nothing more. For a good chunk of the year, 2018 seemed to move in fits and starts — there would be large batches of album releases and then a couple of quiet weeks, then another small collection, and so on. A lot of the more consistent older guard were on something of an “off year” too, so at first I wasn’t expecting to see a large cast of repeats from two years ago making themselves known. I’ve gotten used to a two-to-three year album cycle, so I half-expected stuff to start pointing towards a real loaded front-half of 2019.

But alas, instead the back-half of 2018 turned out to a be a flood. Not just in bands that I’ve consistently enjoyed either, but a whole bunch of new faces that have either been hammering it out over the years and put out some genuine surprises, or people with some absolutely stunning first-time exposures on my end. Not only that, but who would’ve expected an actually pretty solid -core resurgence, with a lot of groups that had thought to hang it up deciding 2018 would be a good year to resurface and put out some stunningly good releases (at least in some cases).

As a result, 2018 proved to be an absolutely massive year. In some ways I think people’s year-end lists are reflecting just how vibrant the year was for our specific subsection of the musical sphere. While people lament that rock ‘n’ roll is dying or has become lame, heavy metal seems perfectly content to just be the constantly angry and forever roiling collective of music — as if it has found a sort of equilibrium in comparison to the mainstream world outside. Which is how you wind up with stupid shit like this, where I once again have FIFTY (warning ahead of time: if you think this introduction is getting verbose, do I have a surprise for you) albums to talk about in wrapping up this tire fire of a year. Continue reading »

Dec 222018


(In this week’s edition of Andy Synn‘s series of interviews focused on lyrics in metal, he poses the questions to Jukka Pelkonen, vocalist of a favorite band we never lose interest in — Omnium Gatherum.)

If you’re one of those strange, yet oddly wonderful, people who’ve been reading this site for a while then you’ll probably be aware that the entire NCS crew has been “ride or die” (that’s right, I’m hip) for Omnium Gatherum since at least 2007, meaning that our collective love for the band actually predates the site’s very existence!

And though that love has been tested at times, we’ve kept the faith with the Finnish sextet through thick and thin, and been richly rewarded for our dedication.

So, for the last edition of Waxing Lyrical for 2018, I caught up with OG’s long-serving vocalist Jukka Pelkonen to get the skinny on the in’s and out’s of his lyrics and his writing style over the years. Continue reading »

Aug 062018


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum, which will be released by Century Media on August 31st.)

Before I kick this review into high-gear, I want to clear something up once and for all… despite sharing some superficial similarities (and, these days, a guitarist), Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium really don’t sound all that much alike, and it would take a truly committed contrarian to suggest otherwise at this point.

Truth be told, regardless of whether you think they ever even sounded all that much alike in the first place, the differences between the two bands have only become more pronounced over the years, as while the latter have spent their time pursuing a moodier, more melancholy sound, the shameless synths ‘n’ solos approach favoured by the OG crew has taken them in a markedly different direction, to the point where their highly anticipated eighth album finds the Finnish sextet now occupying the same sort of highly energetic, audaciously anthemic, niche once inhabited by In Flames in their prime. Continue reading »

Jul 062018


The last 24 hours brought a big slug of new music from a bunch of well-known bands, and the first four items in this end-of-the-week round-up are among those. I found quite a lot of good new music from lesser-known bands as well, and put one of those at the end of this collection.


To begin I present for your enjoyment the official video for “Squalor Opera“, a new song taken from the next album by perennial NCS favorites, Aborted. Entitled TerrorVision, it will be released through Century Media on September 21st, 2018. Continue reading »

Feb 122016

Omnium Gatherum-Grey Heavens


(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. Continue reading »