OMNIUM GATHERUM – Slasher (EP Review)

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Slashing metal and frosty melodies abound.

Good things can and often do come in small packages, or at least that’s the conclusion one might reach wherein the latest offering of Finnish melodic death metal stalwarts Omnium Gatherum is concerned. Having staked their claim as one of the premier acts to oversee what has arguably been the most formidable rival scene to the original Gothenburg one, they’ve since refined their craft into an expression of densely painted atmospheric wonder after the mold of Dark Tranquillity. In contrast to their similarly styled counterparts Insomnium, however, the approach this outfit has taken veers a bit closer to a traditionally impact-based approach when the guitars are blazing away rather than a post-rock oriented dream-like approach, though their anthems often feature enough dreamy-sounding keyboard elements to keep them closer to said fellow countrymen rather than the power metal-tinged handiwork of Children Of Bodom and Kalmah.

The year 2023 has seen this now 6 person fold chase their 2021 smash LP Origin with a short and to the point EP dubbed Slasher, and while this particular killer of an album lulls its victims to a state of security with a consonant veneer, it wields the knife of death metal brutality as aptly as any melodeath outfit. The addition of touring guitarist Nick Cordle to the permanent lineup has definitely seen an expansion in the guitar arrangement, while the absence of his predecessor Joonas Koto’s ultra-clean vocals acting as a foil to Jukka Pelkonen’s bear-like grunts and groans has afforded the latter the opportunity to dabble in standard singing, and he proves quite up to the task. The chief fixtures that turn this from a standard affair into a highly distinct player on the stage continue to be Aapo Koivisto’s flowing keyboard ambiences and the impact-based riff work and melodic asides of founder and guitarist Markus Vanhala, but the collective whole exhibits a level of prowess that should not be overlooked.

Walking the thin line between relaxingly steady grooves and a frenetic mode of thrashing brilliance typical to the sub-genre, Omnium Gatherum manages to show forth in under 20 minutes what many bands fall shy of in double the time. Kicking things off with a moderate length banger, the title anthem “Slasher” somehow manages to wheel between the band’s heavier demeanor and lighter balladry while maintaining a clear sense of accessibility and coherence. Nipping closely on its heels is a pummeling metallic rendition of the Flashdance soundtrack hit “Maniac”, which sees Jukka’s ferocious bark that could challenge Chris Barnes circa 1994 somehow meld seamlessly with what is essentially a reformatted slab of 80s new wave syrup. The up tempo cruiser “Sacred” is also no slouch in terms to delivering impactful riff work at a break-neck speed, turning up the technical side of things to full blast and coming the closest to appropriating the more popular power metal-infused side of the Finnish style, while the closing number “Lovelorn” leans a bit closer to the mellow rocking mode of Insomnium, albeit with double the lead guitar goodness.

Omnium Gatherum is just the sort of band that knows what works and has a way of sticking to it without becoming stale. Those that have following them since the mid-2000s will note that very little has changed in terms of their stylistic demeanor, but they’ve lost none of their potency in the years since despite a few notable lineup changes. Those that have yet to experience what they have to offer yet have somehow managed to stumble upon the similarly styled work of Insomnium, Mors Principium Est and Skyfire will find a similarly credible version of the signature sounds of each combined with a more calculating execution. It may have already been done several times over the past 15 years by the same fold and a couple of others from northern Europe, but it never gets old, and it will be undoubtedly interesting to see where this six-person strong incarnation of Omnium Gatherum will go in the near future.

Released By: Century Media Records
Release Date: June 2nd, 2023
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Musicians:

  • Markus Vanhala / Lead guitars
  • Aapo Koivisto / Keyboards, backing vocals
  • Jukka Pelkonen / Lead vocals
  • Mikko Kivistö / Bass
  • Atte Pesonen / Drums
  • Nick Cordle / Rhythm guitar

Slasher Track-Listing:

1. Slasher
2. Maniac (Cover Version)
3. Sacred
4. Lovelorn

Order Slasher at HERE.

8.8 Excellent

Finnish melodic death metal masters with an eye for the melancholy Omnium Gatherum usher in a shorter version of their dreamy studio craft, weaving lofty atmospheres with an impact-based metallic edge

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 8
  • Production 9
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