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Interview

Omnium Gatherum Guitarist Markus Vanhala Sheds Light On "New World Shadows"

Finnish melodic metal act Omnium Gatherum is in the process of dropping the new opus "New World Shadows," which is the follow-up to the band's previous album "The Redshift." Solidifying the album's place in Finnish metal history, "New World Shadows" features guest spots from Niilo Sevänen of Insomnium and the legendary Dan Swano.

Omnium Gatherum guitar player Markus Vanhala filled me in on the band signing to Lifeforce Records for the new album release, the band's prog rock influences, and an upcoming string of tour dates in Europe with Rotting Christ.

xFiruath: When did you guys get set up with Lifeforce Records?

Markus: They saw us on a European tour in Germany about a year ago, and I guess they liked what the saw and heard on stage, sweaty Finnish metal magic. We were just fulfilled our deal then with our previous label Candlelight and were searching a new fresh boogies and here we are now. Setting the new standards for adult oriented death metal, building the new shadows for the metal world!

xFiruath: Tell me about your new album “New World Shadows.” How has the music changed from previous albums?

Markus: It’s always a bitch try to review and tell what’s really new on your newest baby, but its “matured” into bit more epic direction, maybe also more melodic side presented. A perfect marriage of aggression and melody with a large scale of influences presented via Finnish melancholy, a soup that we nowadays call “adult oriented death metal." As there’s between the lines lots of prog rock and even some crazy AOR influences, well a really small amount, haha, presented via the death metal template. It’s still very much OG but it really gives much new for the old recipe of ours.

xFiruath: Where did you record the album and who did you work with?

Markus: We recorded the whole album here in Finland and mixed it with our neighbours, in Sweden. Worked again with the trusted men featured also on our previous album “The Redshift,” which means the mighty metal hero and living legend Dan Swanö did the mixing/mastering task and Teemu Aalto did the recording and producing.

xFiruath: Did you recruit any guest musicians?

Markus: Yeah, Dan Swanö did some clean singing also during mixing the album, and played also one synth moog, without asking, for the song “Deep Cold.” But whatta hell, it works 110% so he was on a mission! For an old time Edge Of Sanity fan boy like me, it’s so cool. Wouldn’t have imagined that in the mid 90’s. There’s also two other friends featured on the new album; Mikko Reinamo from Kaihoro/Wolftrap playing Hammond organ and Niilo Sevänen from Insomnium doing few guest growls.

xFiruath: What do the lyrics deal with?

Markus: I’m not so familiar with the lyrical side of OmG as Jukka, our vocalist, does all those by himself and we others are just stupid musician doing stupid musician things. But what I’ve heard and understood, I guess the lyrical concept is somewhat critical towards most of the attitudes and beliefs of our time, and doesn't every new world have always also its new shadows and fuck ups there. What way we can face the world, which is simultaneously complete and incomplete. There comes a time, or that time is already here, that we'll face it that the mankind will sink to its own mud or the planet will burst first. But we really don’t pretend to be Bono!

xFiruath: Who did the artwork?

Markus: Olli Lappalainen is the man behind all OG illustrations in the covers, since the first demo. He is our, you know, graphical member on the band.

xFiruath: Where did you record the video for “Soul Journeys” and how were the recording sessions?

Markus: The gig shooting was done at our real live gig in Helsinki, so it’s not any posing kind of thing. A real deal live with real sweat. Then some parts on Jukka singing was done, somewhere in Finland I guess, I don’t even know. I don’t also know where the location is where that bird flies on the video, haha. But there’s lil bit of snow also, so it’s gotta be the Finnish land. Jussi Rautaniemi did the video, and he is also one of our “trusted man gang” and this was already 4th time we worked with Jussi. Cool guy, even won some Cannes movie fest stuff!

xFiruath: Are the members of the band currently working with any other projects?

Markus: There’s some projects going on always when there’s some time beside OG, to keep your musical flame alive and interesting. I’m playing in a progressive metal project called Malpractice, and hard-rock therapic stuff on Wolftrap. Might be that both of these bands will release albums during a one year again. Just need to find some free time to record all the stuff somewhere, but there’s a big pile of ready material.

xFiruath: What bands have you been listening to lately?

Markus: I’m a music freak so listing all things here would take the whole interview. But I’ve been much into the prog rock of the 70’s and 80’s lately and been digging the bands like Rush, Marillion, Kansas, Genesis, Yes, and things like that. But I’ve also been finding some cool “new” bands, like black metal heroes Watain that just blew my mind. Ghost Brigade is also really good new stuff, new Nevermore kicks ass as also the new Anathema and Bloodbath records. At the moment I’m waiting the new album of Whitesnake to emerge as Coverdale always finds the right notes and knows the business. Of course old school death metal never dies in my heart, Death being my all time favourite! It’s also cool that those old bands of tech-death metal have come back, like Cynic, Atheist, Pestilence. I saw Cynic live while ago, it ruled and I never thought it to happen in the 90’s when they split.

xFiruath: Where is Omnium Gatherum headed out to tour in support of the new album?

Markus: We’ll start from our country and tour the Finland first, after that we’ll be heading to tour Europe with Rotting Christ and have some festivals like With Full Force Open Air in Germany, etc. There’s also second Euro tour in the works for the first half of the year. We also just started to co-operate with the U.S. agency First Row Talent, so hopefully also U.S. touring will be opened with this release.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

Markus: Jackson guitars rule the world, *not a buyed commercial* haha, but it’s true, get the best and fuck the rest! Also a big thank you and we salute thee goes to all our fans there who buy our albums and support the music. See ya on tour folks.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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