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Omnium Gatherum - "New World Shadows" (CD)

Omnium Gatherum - "New World Shadows" CD cover image

"New World Shadows" track listing:

1. Everfields (9:17)
2. Ego (4:07)
3. New World Shadows (6:00)
4. Soul Journeys (4:54)
5. Nova Flame (4:10)
6. An Infinite Mind (5:43)
7. Watcher of the Skies (4:17)
8. The Distance (3:59)
9. Deep Cold (9:29)

Reviewed by on May 6, 2011

"Omnium Gatherum injects fresh dynamics into their staling melodic death metal sound on 'New World Shadows.'"

Omnium Gatherum injects fresh dynamics into their staling melodic death metal sound on “New World Shadows.” The Dark Tranquillity-meets-In Flames mannerisms of past records is still around, though given a glossy progressive makeover. The band’s willingness to branch out after four records is a sign that being one-dimensional is far from their prime agenda. Those worried the band has lost their way can be assured the sound developed over the past decade has gone nowhere.

The melodic side of death metal usually means some tuneful guitar harmonies or upbeat keyboard parts, both of which occupy a heavy percentage of “New World Shadows.” However, in an attempt to break the mold, nine minute songs start and close the album. “Everfields” and “Deep Blue” reaches into Opeth’s playbook for inspiration with fantastic results. A lengthy instrumental, “Watcher Of The Skies,” and several instances of clean vocals by Dan Swano are tucked in-between them.

It’s odd that their most neutered material are the traditional tunes, like “Ego” and “Nova Flame.” The Gothenburg equation is written to perfection. The band’s ability far outshines the potential cliches, but it’s disheartening to go from a majestic tune like “Everfields” to an ordinary back-and-forth jam regurgitated hundreds of times before. Omnium Gatherum has enough in them to make these standard numbers engaging, with help from the bellowing growls of Jukka Pelkonen and the understated rhythm section.

There are a few tracks that don’t really fit into the two categories stated above, an odd accumulation of different styles and influences. “An Infinite Mind” doesn’t jumpstart into the usual death metal tempo, keeping restraint whenever necessary. Layered vocals send shivers down the body, and a moody clean break draws on a low-key piano melody. Swano’s guest spot around the halfway mark on the title track is a welcomed surprise from the harsh tone used in the rest of the vocals.

“New World Shadows” has slipped under the ears of many since its release date. The melodic death metal tag may irk some, but there is a lot more to Omnium Gatherum than the muck that’s been tossed out from the genre since the mid ‘90s. The band is as heavy on the head as a migraine, yet has the sensibility to include acoustic guitars and low-key synth work without jeopardizing any power. The band seems energized this go-around, and that leads to an all-around solid effort.

Highs: Push towards progressive material, Dan Swano's guest clean vocals, bellowing growls from Jukka Pelkonen, solid death metal all around

Lows: The band doesn't do much with the standard melodic death metal formula on much of the record,

Bottom line: Omnium Gatherum shows a slight evolution in their melodic death metal sound with their fifth album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)