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This should/could have been incredible - 75%

matt85210, August 9th, 2009

This album is quite a difficult one to review, as it is full of absolutely brilliant moments and exhibitions of musicianship, yet by the end of it you cannot help but a feel a little bit unfulfilled despite its merits.

'Spirits and August Light', the bands first proper full length release, gets out of the starting blocks incredibly fast, bulldozing straight into 'Writhen', a frantic, consistent and galloping opener, but the real highlights are 'Deathwhite' and 'A Perfumed Garden' (tracks 2 and 3 respectively). 'Deathwhite' is a groove-heavy monster of a song with all the trimmings; ethereal keyboards, awesomely constructed guitar riffs and leads, and some pretty varied vocal work.

'A Perfumed Garden' is, WITHOUT DOUBT, the song of the album. It has... God, it has everything. Melody, absolutely fucking thunderous hooks which are further accentualted by battering drum fills and rhythms, acoustic interludes and one of the best solos I have ever heard in melodic death metal. The perfect song. Outstanding stuff.

So far, very good. However, as the album progresses, Omnium Gatherum seem to rely more and more on the momentum they garnered from the opening three or four tracks. 'Amor Tonight' is inspired enough, exhibiting some interesting moments and good musicianship, but songs like 'Cure a Wound' and 'The Emptiness of a Spirit' find the band slowly easing off the gas and slipping into third gear, content to merely cruise through the rest of the CD, happy that the hard work has been well and truly done in the first 20 minutes.

By 'Wastrel' things are showing tentative signs of picking up again, until... "ah, this sounds familiar... Ah! I know what this is! These are some of the bits that metalcore borrowed! Oh no, I know where this is all going from here..." Once you hear something like that in an album that showed so much promise, you know its pretty much game over. This is, of course, the start of the inevitable rinse & repeat formula that finally sees the album, barely out of breath, saunter indifferently over the finish line like an over-laden mule.

I am actually more annoyed by albums like this than I am by outright terrible ones. This album should have been 90+, easily, yet I am forced to relegate 'Spirits and August Light' to the mid seventies because the band couldn't be bothered to finish the job properly. I might be taking this slightly personally, but I feel as if I have been deprived of one of the best CDs in my colllection.

1 part incredible, plus 1 part dross, can only equal a good album, nothing more. Download the first four out of spite.