Omnium Gatherum - “The Burning Cold” [Album Review]

- Aug 27, 2018 at 09:00AM
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Rating: 9.5 out of 10
As the eighth album in their career, The Burning Cold marks a further foray for Omnium Gatherum to earn their seat at the top table of melodic death metal. Quality-wise, their music has always been of the utmost standard – Beyond (2013) stands out as one of the finest melodeath albums ever realised – yet they have not yet become as well-known as Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquillity or guitarist Markus Vanhala’s other band Insomnium, for example. Could this be the release to propel their reach to these heights?

The album begins in a way familiar to Omnium Gatherum fans, with brief intro “The Burning” also serving to introduce new listeners to their sound – pounding double bass drums (from new member Tuomo Latvala) contributing to a deep rhythmic foundation filled out by atmospheric keys, all overlaid with the lead guitar work of Vanhala; the man with the best guitar tone in metal [1].

Launching from here into the frantic “Gods Go First”, the first video released from the album, Jukka Pelkonen’s vocals hit with as much depth and force as they have throughout Omnium Gatherum’s career. With Pelkonen’s growls and sparsely used cleans being lower in pitch than most other melodeath vocalists, they contribute to the fullness in Omnium Gatherum’s signature tapestry, leaving the upper register for Vanhala and Joonas Koto’s guitars to drive the melody, occasionally met by Aapo Koivisto’s keys. It’s a sound honed over their twenty-two-year career; captured by a melodeath dream team of Teemu Aalto’s production [2] and Dan Swanö’s mixing, it comes across exactly as intended by the band.

Check out the pounding “Gods Go First” for a taste of The Burning Cold’s superb quality.


The early parts of The Burning Cold hark back to Stuck Here on Snakes Way (2007) and the steps taken with previous release Grey Heavens (2015) – tracks are shorter and more accessible, with none on the album clocking in over 6 minutes. The great strength of The Burning Cold is its ability to hit both the grandiose scale and atmosphere of tracks from Omnium Gatherum’s previous albums Beyond and New World Shadows (2011), whilst marrying this with the catchiness and groove of bands such as short-track supremos In Flames or Soilwork in their prime.

One of the album’s many highlights, “Be The Sky” covers more ground in terms of building atmosphere, providing heavy groove and leaving a lasting impression than many melodeath bands manage across an entire album. The range between tracks exhibits Omnium Gatherum’s songwriting strength further; “Driven By Conflict” works Latvala’s drumming to its limits in its relentless thrashing pace, whereas “Rest In Your Heart” has more of a poignant ballad-esque feel to its progression, with the gradual building of rich layers leading into its chorus.

The Burning Cold doesn’t stretch any boundaries in terms of mixing genres; instead it’s purely melodic death metal by Omnium Gatherum at its leanest, hardest hitting and most emotionally evocative. Those who are already fans will love this album, and fans of melodic death metal in general who have yet to check Omnium Gatherum out are highly likely to find themselves with a new favourite band. The Burning Cold is my release of the year so far, and one which should see Omnium Gatherum reach the level they deserve, as one of melodeath’s household names.

This tune will find you out in your own backyard, “Refining Fire”.


The Burning Cold Track Listing:

01. The Burning
02. Gods Go First
03. Refining Fire
04. Rest In Your Heart
05. Over The Battlefield
06. The Fearless Entity
07. Be The Sky
08. Driven By Conflict
09. The Frontline
10. Planet Scale
11. Cold

Run Time: 51:21
Release Date: August 31, 2018
Record Label: Century Media Records

Footnotes:
[1] Author’s opinion – check out the embedded track and let us know if you agree!
[2] See Insomnium’s previous two releases and Omnium Gatherum’s recent back catalogue for further examples of his work.
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