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Skyline - 25%

Spatupon, July 21st, 2018
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, Lifeforce Records

Omnium Gatherum has recently taken the metal subculture by storm, releasing several albums within a short period of time and on a very prominent label/s. I've never paid much attention to this band, mainly because I believe that there are far better bands out there who play a much more refined version of melodic death metal. In my opinion, bands such as Wintersun and Insomnium which happen to be from the same country as Omnium Gatherum, Finland, have all released much better and more fulfilling music than Omnium Gatherum has ever done. This band can trace its history to the late 90s when melodic-death metal was really just bursting out into the general metal scene. Rather than listening to "Grey Heavens" in its entirety, I chose to check out this single first. Anyway, that's why singles are for, they're supposed to give you a general idea of what the album is about, and try to rake in as many new listeners as the band can.

Nowadays, melodic-death metal seems to be taking a more commercial path. We can see this with multiple bands, such as Amon Amarth and In Flames who haven't released a decent album in ages. Other more conservative bands such as Dark Tranquility and Insomnium have stayed truer to the sub-genres roots and they can boast about releasing good albums recently, as much as they want. With the rise of metalcore in the early 2000s and then deathcore in the early 2010s, it seemed that melodic-deaths' faith had all but been sealed. Metalheads who weren't seasoned enough to tell apart a genre from the other were confusing metalcore bands as being melodic-death bands and vice-versa. One band which always comes up in this discussion of whether a band plays deathcore or melodic-death metal is The Black Dahlia Murder. Now, it's not my place to judge, mostly because I couldn't give two shits, because music is music by the end of the day, but I'm just pointing out the lamer discussions which occur on metal forums. With all the touring bands such as In Flames were doing, it became more attractive for melodic-death bands to adopt a more "family friendly" image and become tamer.

Enough blabbering though, let's get straight to the music. "Skylline" is an almost five-minute track which was supposed to represent Omnium Gatherums' upcoming album at that time. This track is your average run-of-the-mill pop-infused melodic-death metal. The song has a very rudimentary structure, not unlike most pop songs you hear on your radio. This track can also boast of a very alluring and unfortunately often-repeating chorus. When the song starts out, the listener is immediately put through a very groovy power-chord progression which sounds like it could have been taken straight out from a Pantera or latter-day In Flames album. The solo on this track is basically one of the most useless solos I've heard in my life. The whole idea behind it could have worked out, but it is literally just a few seconds long. It doesn't seem to have any fucking point other than to serve as bragging rights for the guitarist.

The guitar leads are very ear-friendly and make you think of breath-taking landscapes common in Finland, the mother country of this band and so many other great melodic-death metal bands. However, the song-structure of this song is so skeletal and empty, that these leads do not add anything to the song except making it more bearable than it would have been otherwise. The vocals are executed in a pretty well manner, although the singer doesn't show much range, he still holds his own and gives off an impressive performance. The drummer pulls his part in an incredible manner to, even though he repeats certain ideas far too many times for them to remain interesting, I can't say they bothered me too much. The bass guitar can barely be heard, and as ofttimes occurs, they just mimick note by note whatever the rhythym guitars are playing. The production is fucking stellar, and I believe that it fits the song well. This song was meants to be produced well, because it wasn't meant to appeal to the hardcore fans who like it rough around the edges. This song is clearly catering for those who are still trying to get into metal, and as beginner music, this stuff fits well.

Overall, I think that this is a pretty poor performance by Omnium Gatherum. I could imagine this song being on the charts of some "Top 40" hit singles or some other bombastic cheap shit like that, but I can't see it withstanding the test of time. If this single encapsulates the spirit of the entire album within it, I'm not quite sure whether I actually want to move forward to the album, because I guess it's gonna be more of the same pop-metal these guys seem to enjoy playing so much.