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Promising elements but no breakthrough yet - 79%

kluseba, May 27th, 2014

I was really enthusiastic to cover a record by Omnium Gatherum since I had seen them live earlier this year. The band managed to mix energizing melodic death metal with highly atmospheric, enchanting, and melancholic progressive passages and especially the longer tracks had amazing and profound buildups. I decided to discover more of this band and stumbled over the reissue of its fourth full length release The Redshift that had been released back in 2008. Reissues and especially re-recordings don’t always make sense. This is also the case for this package. The band included the original album on this release plus four bonus tracks. Instead of offering anything really new, the additional material is composed of one live track, two demo versions and an alternative version of a song taken from this release. If you can still get your hands on the original release, I would simply go for this.

It took me some time to accept that this record wasn’t what I had initially expected. There are no highly atmospheric, epic and progressive tracks on this release. The longest track is only five minutes and a half long and the album even includes many shorter and faster tracks between two and four minutes. The only faster and more diversified track that really impresses me is though the inspired opener “Nail” which is maybe even one of the best tracks on here.

Despite a first disappointment, The Redshift is an album that easily surpasses anything that had recently been released by genre colleagues such as Dark Tranquillity or Soilwork for example. Instead of only adopting the sound of the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene, the sextet added something very Finnish to their sound that I can also find in my favourite metal band Amorphis or in almost any Finnish band I have ever known from Apocalyptica over HIM to Stratovarius. It’s this uniquely sweet melancholic feeling that gives the songs a longing touch. This is this band’s winning element to stand out and it’s mostly transported by floating guitar melodies, a clever use of keyboards and the use of diversified vocals between unchained growls and fragile clean passages to build up some magic atmosphere. Many songs are too short and fast to fully develop this element but each time it appears for a while, the band completely grabs my attention.

A good example is the less aggressive and more atmospheric “No Breaking Point”. The slow and menacing but at the same time hopefully longing spirit of “Shapes On Shades” even almost reminds me of a harsher Amorphis song and is a definite grower. The melancholic and slow hymn “Greeneyes” that almost starts like a Dream Theater ballad sounds a lot like contemporary Amorphis by using only profound clean vocals. This particular tune manages to touch my mind and my soul. It’s somewhat the hidden gem on this record for me. The floating and progressive instrumental interlude “Song For December” reminds me of the eerie atmosphere of Opeth and it’s a pity that this song is so short. Omnium Gatherum shows us glimpses of its incredible talent in many places but I’m still missing an absolute breakthrough anthem on here.

After several spins, these bittersweet and thoughtful passages get omnipresent. They grow on you and make what seemed to be a good average album at first try a pretty amazing record. Omnium Gatherum definitely need some more time to open up on a studio record than in concert but once the magic unfolds you are absolutely stunned. The patient listeners will get rewarded for sure with this band. If you care for atmospheric, emotional and profound metal music in the key of Amorphis, you can’t get around this band anymore. Omnium Gatherum would really deserve to get some more recognition for their recent works. Go and check them out now.

Originally written for The Metal Observer

Joining and sharing the light. - 80%

Diamhea, January 28th, 2014

Omnium Gatherum's first three records lack direction, as the band was still searching for their sound. The album introducing then-new vocalist Pelkonen, Stuck Here on Snakes Way, was by far the least impressive of the bunch, obfuscating the landscape The Redshift was dropped into two years later.

While The Redshift is far superior to it's predecessors, it also introduces the somber, melancholic attributes that have in retrospect become Omnium Gatherum's most defining hallmark. Terse, reverb-drenched acoustic passages give way to esoteric, uplifting leads and buzzing synths in "A Shadowkey", serving as a functional-enough introduction the primary approach here. It's not that opener "Nail" is bad, but The Redshift really builds momentum as it nears it's midway point. This comes to a head during "The Return", which is dripping in atmosphere courtesy of Koivisto's brash, synthetic keyboard leads. The guitars manifest themselves as an amalgamation of stacatto notes, surging powerchords, and the occasional slower-picked tremolo passage. The performance isn't amazing, but the uplifting leads save it in this regard.

The one sonic attribute that makes Omnium Gatherum stand out are without a doubt the melodies. I understand that may sound redundant in a genre already called melodic death metal but in this case it comes off as near-groundbreaking. The esoteric melodies are quite numinous and stirring, evoking an atmosphere of somber optimism not often heard in the genre. The soundscape summoned is quite potent, making the listener crave more when the band settles into more stock melodic death posturing, like on the quasi-title track "The Redshifter". It isn't perfect, as the band tends to kneecap itself just when you think they are going to elevate to greatness, settling on guitar progressions and vocal patterns more typical of the genre.

Pelkonen's vocals I am in the middle of the road on. His cleaner, shouted choruses are decent and help give The Redshift some of it's identity. Conversely, his primary approach is very much an acquired taste. His guttural roar comes off as inert and forceless at times, almost like he is screaming using his diaphragm alone. The one exception is his caterwauling performance during "Greeneyes", which is interesting if a bit hokey. The Redshift's rhythm backbone is solid, but the band never exactly breaks through the space-time continuum in the speed category, so Pikka is hardly tested at all on the kit.

The Redshift is best digested in smaller doses, as some of these songs tend to sound very samey and faceless if taken in as a whole. As stated above, the opener "Nail" is one of the less impressive tracks here, serving as a poor introduction to the album. The closer "Distant Light Highway" is slightly better by virtue of its more enterprising riffs, but also fails to make much of an impact on the whole. I also can't stand "Chameleon Skin", which rubs me the wrong way with its generic riffs and stock disposition.

Omnium Gatherum has so far released two sonic twins to The Redshift in New World Shadows and Beyond, which should speak volumes towards the potency of this approach. Unique for the atmosphere it summons alone.

Shifting to a less subtle red. - 72%

hells_unicorn, April 9th, 2013

While they were definitely late studio entries to the world of Finnish melodic death metal, Omnium Gatherum has gone through some rather major changes through the course of the 2000s. It is arguable that their 4th studio offering "The Redshift" marks the biggest turning point in the band's sound, as current vocalist Jukka Pelkonen setting comfortably into the arrangement of his 2nd go with the band, while the caliber of the overall production job has taken a noteworthy uptick thanks to the handiwork of Dan Swanö, a respected name in progressive and death metal circles who has helped unearth an ever expanding number of great albums. Ironically, this also proves to be among the weaker of this band's offerings, largely due to a number of issues that are not obvious at first glance, but become noticeable after repeated listens.

For the most part, this album seems stuck somewhere between the extremely pristine and more contemplative character of subsequent albums with Swanö handling production, and the more rudimentary world of late 90s Gothenburg practices. The result is an album that is definitely polished and professional in presentation, but also a bit too predictable and seemingly stuck in upper mid-tempo land without any really auspicious peaks or valleys to speak of. The songs generally tend to be a bit more streamlined and rocking in character, though some shorter songs such as "No Breaking Point" and "The Second Flame" break through the mix with a brilliant clean vocal presentation to complement the bottom-heavy toneless grunts and groans, as well as a multifaceted riffing approach and some intricate keyboard effects. Barring these 2 exceptions, most of the music on here listens like a slightly less memorable version of Dark Tranquillity's "Projector" with slightly busier lead guitar work.

This isn't to say that the bulk of the short, catchy rockers that populate most of this album are bad by any stretch of the imagination. Whenever the Kalmah influenced thrashing of "Nail" hits the speakers, it's difficult not to bang one's hand in approval, though one has a hard time separating it from much of the faster works of the aforementioned earlier Finnish melodeath institution. The same holds true with near equally animated thrasher "Chameleon Skin", as it is replete with intricate guitar and keyboard work, but also finds itself running together a bit too much with a number of impressive Kalmah songs from the earlier 2000s. The real weakness in all of this is the sense of safeness that the album tends to cling to, seemingly keeping just a bit too close to standard practices, and only occasionally breaking into something resembling progressive territory on the title song "The Redshift", which also proves to be where the band gets a bit overly technical and starts to sound a bit disjointed.

By all standards, this is a good album, and it stands above much of Children Of Bodom's recent output, but it isn't a great album and proves to be one that leaves a bit wanting in comparison to both previous and subsequent works. From start to finish the album comes off as a bit mechanical, as if going through an entirely scripted exercise with little organic content or spontaneity to speak of. The riff work of the rhythm guitars is where the band has been somewhat weak and most of these songs either don't do much exploring beyond average, run-of-the-mill chugging and open chord hits, or when they get busier in content tending to come off as overly derivative. All the detailing (vocals and lead work) is top of the line, but as with any structure, a truly strong foundation is what makes the difference.

Riding the Redshift - 96%

Fragments11, September 15th, 2011

Melodic and atmospheric death metal at its finest. Omnium Gatherum have seemingly perfected their sound and place in the melodic death scene with the solid release of The Redshift.

The second release with newly acquired Jukka P., Omnium Gatherum are back with a very progressed sound. Jukka's vocals definitely shine through as his best work as OG's early work lacked vocal quality. Omnium's missing piece seems to have been filled. Listening to early Omni Gathe, I couldn't help but get the feeling something was missing. The Redshift has definitely filled the cracks.

The album starts strong with Nail, a blast of melody and a great album opener. A Shadowkey is the next track with a great change of pace, touching melody on many levels. Chameleon Skin comes next which is a very strong track with some very surprising melodies that bring moments of complete tranquility. Four is No Breaking Point, a song with a more groove rhythm leading into an epic piano/bass breakthrough that sounds like it's something off of Tool's Lateralus. Five is by far my favorite track, The Return, which really shows Omni Gathe's progression as a band. The song has a constant driving epic melody with explosions of melody that will leave you speechless. Shapes and Shades comes next and is another decent track with your typical OG melodies and surprises. The Redshifter is seven and is another solid track. The Redshifter gives you the old school sounding OG with Jukka's powerful vocals. Number eight is Greeneyes, a beautiful mellow track with some powerful doom-like melodies. Greeneyes fades directly into The Second Flame flawlessly, adding to the beauty of the song.

The Second Flame is another strong track on the album where progressing riffs and relaxing melodies are found the whole way through with one of my favorite solos on the album. Song For December is ten and is an instrumental track on the album. It's written well and is really well placed as it leads directly into the gorgeous song Distant Light Highway. Distant Light Highway is another Redshift epic masterpiece. Jukka shines strong once again, laying down his best vocal effort on the entire album. This is an album closer you wont forget.

All in all, The Redshift is easily the best OG release to date. It's mixed very well and is very well produced. Jukka fills the previous holes the band seemed to have, leaving their options endless. I also want to add the bass in this album stands out like nothing you have ever heard. Every track has moments of sheer bliss as the strong harmonies shine. I would give this album a try regardless. To old Omnium Gatherum, there's no comparison. These guys are getting GOOD!

I nearly forgot about its existence - 62%

autothrall, April 13th, 2010

Whereas Stuck Here on Snake's Way felt like a more simplified, subtle effort than anything the band had released prior, it wound up winning me over due to the memorable mesh of the riffs and synthesizers. The Redshift comes out firing immediately, and it essentially returns the band to where they were at with Spirits and August Light, only with Jukka's vocals and a much cleaner production altogether courtesy of a solid Dan Swanö mix at Unisound. But the guitars are lighter here like Stuck Here on Snake's Way, and the album has an overall less chunky appeal than the band's 2003 full-length debut.

Unfortunately, it's just not all that great. While I have no doubt that The Redshift is probably the band's most focused, seasoned work, there is simply something about it that did not last me very long. The playing is pinpoint accurate, the atmospheres balance themselves well between the charging riffs and the tranquil segues, and the lyrics continue their journey along a minimal, poetic route that leaves the listener with much introspection to fill in the spaces. But The Redshift a word...dull. Almost every song moves along at a predictable pace, with nary a single catchy melody lurking around any corner. The songs filter safely through the brain and out the waste valves as if they had never existed, almost ghostlike in their delivery, as if the album doesn't want to exist. All of the album's catchier moments seem to dwell outside the metal music entirely, when the band is performing transient clean sing-a-longs over streaming melodic chords as in "No Breaking Point" or the mellow and depressing "Greeneyes".

I'm not saying there aren't distinct attempts to try and lunge forward and grab the listener by the collar, as a good percentage of the 11 tracks is spent in momentum like "The Second Flame", "The Redshifter", "Chameleon Skin" or "The Return", but none of these were able to contain my attention, and the album quickly became a less interesting alternative to the many bands out there who perform the melodic death with keyboards with far more aggression and hooks that sink deep in the flesh rather than deflecting off the skull as a cursory blow. Everything about The Redshift is level, super polished and sterile despite numerous attempts at emotional resonance, and the album had the equivalent impact of the dour and forgettable Years in Waste.

Omnium Gatherum is a band I had high hopes for after their first full-length, but they appear to ever huddle at the edge of a breakthrough, perhaps playing it too tidy and safe for anyone who is not a melodic, progressive death metal enthusiast to pay much attention to. There is nothing offensive about The Redshift, it is not a poorly written or necessarily bad effort, and the clean production alone will probably impress those who think music like Nightingale, Sonata Arctica, or the 2nd Crimson album from Edge of Sanity is the bee's knees. But there is simply no lasting impression. The band is not as wild or furious as Kalmah and Children of Bodom, not as emotionally powerful as Insomnium, not even as spring-coiled with 'THIS MALL KNOWS HOW TO ROCK' attitude as Soilwork or In Flames. They've already written a pair of fine albums, but until they can pen a real scorcher, they'll just have to gestate a little more in their collective, creative womb.

Highlights: No Breaking Point, Distant Light Highway


Space 'N Ace - 87%

GuntherTheUndying, March 18th, 2009

Atmospheric melodic death metal…sounds like a mouthful of one of two things: gold, or shit, but Finland’s Omnium Gatherum doesn’t cope with the later in their metallic sense of melody-laden bombardments. Many could possibly foresee another band doing what At The Gates or Dark Tranquillity have been equating for a few decades now, but from the sky, comes the sky: atmosphere in Gothenburg’s homegrown singularity, and these gentlemen use this crazy trick wonderfully throughout “The Redshift.” Omnium Gatherum, however, musically falls in the lines of melodic death metal, yet their approach is anything but typical, at least from my perspective, from what melodic death metal offers. Overall though, “The Redshift” is a keeper.

To be honest, Omnium Gatherum’s instrumental approach dubs quality that isn’t just enjoyable, but simply ethereal. The riffing attack this group showcases focuses mainly on hearty melodies, smashing grooves, rich harmonies, and fantastic soloing only contributing just the right amount of shred-laden goodness. The bass and percussion, however, apply simplistic attributes that create Ominum Gatherum’s majestic surrounding, dazzling in an air-based perimeter of heaviness and dynamism. I must say, this curious touch of atmospheric nutrition in Omnium Gatherum’s melodic base is better than intelligent, or even fun for that matter; it’s sensationally excellent all around, and brings new organisms to a realm some might label as dying.

As strange or ambivalent as it may sound, “The Redshift” can remain stuck in these situations while pumping entertaining rays with mighty harmonies during “No Breaking Points,” or steady, catchy riffs that catch your attention and refuse to let go, like what “Nail” proudly demonstrates. Also, Jukka Pelkonen’s voice falls in the spacey collision like his horoscope told him he would. With those nice, deep growls and clean chimes that actually fit into every musical pattern available, I’d say he did a bang-up job. Obviously, the brains behind “The Redshift” are quite unbreakable once this hovering philosophy has taken its purest form, mainly throughout several numbers quoting a likeable balance between melody and atmosphere. It might seem kinda toxic, but that’s what fucks you up!

Perhaps, Omnium Gatherum will one day receive an appropriate identity among the big-league bands that validated a certain formation in metal. After all, the sky never made Possessed or Black Sabbath take a detour, so I’d watch out for Omnium Gatherum’s metamorphosis that might sway the physical features of melodic death metal into atmospheric quarters, and possibly a new genre. Only time will tell what may happen, and that’s an exciting thought to grasp. Still, “The Redshift” meets no rebuttal during its fantastic cuts of anthems, so give this puppy a shot.

This review was written for:

Thoroughly excellent. - 89%

duncang, October 20th, 2008

The sound of Jarmo Pikka’s drums opening an album, that’s the kind of sound that hasn’t been heard since 2003, when Omnium Gatherum put out the genre-defining masterpiece ‘Spirits And August Light’. Since then we’ve had two albums of wasted potential, displaying short glimpses of the band’s former glory but caking it all in a thick crust of mediocrity, (although ‘Years In Waste’ was definitely not as bad as it could have been). You have no idea how reassuring hearing something as simple as a drum intro can be, as any resemblance to ‘Spirits’ is heavily revered by yours truly. However, unlike their last two attempts, Omnium Gatherum have made a whole god-damn album of aggressive, melodic brilliance. Immediately noticeable from opener ‘Nail’ is the top-notch sound quality and tone, which is a godsend after the tinny abomination that was ‘Stuck Here On Snake’s Way’, and is no doubt thanks to the mixing and mastering from avid project-hopper Dan Swanö.

Still, a good production job is nothing without good songs. Just as well, then, that this album is filled with them. While the focal point is still the guitars, every instrument gels together naturally and that results in what is actually a very sophisticated sound (see: ‘The Return’), where no member ever struggles for any extra attention. Despite this, one can’t help but admire the work of Markus Vanhala and Harri Pikka, who are the band’s guitarists and songwriters. As usual, Vanhala’s songs are stronger in quantity and, generally, quality than Pikka’s, but all eleven songs on ‘The Redshift’ are highly polished, well written and generally enjoyable.

Unlike their several billion Finnish melodeath contemporaries, Omnium Gatherum’s focus on keyboards has never been too strong, but Aapo Koivisto has definitely found a place in the band’s palette here, providing nice textures and some melodies that could have been made by Kevin Moore if he’d gone easy on the cocaine. He seemed somewhat peripheral on ‘Stuck Here On Snake’s Way’, but without him many songs on ‘The Redshift’ would be empty. But as I said before, all instruments have their essential place on this album, and the sound would fall apart without any one of them.

Jukka Pelkonen’s debut with Omnium Gatherum last year failed to convince me, however his performance on ‘The Redshift’ is excellent. His voice has gained much more strength and his timing has improved drastically, morphing his sound from a dog having a seizure to a fully fledged and very competent metal vocalist. There are also more clean vocals featured on this album, adding some really evocative touches to songs like ‘A Shadowkey’ and ‘The Second Flame’.

Unfortunately, Pelkonen’s lyrics are not yet in the clear. His lyrics are fragmented, contrived, and at times nonsensical, which is a shame because the song titles and artwork do have a continuity and appealing quality to them. There is some improvement on the horrendous lyrics on ‘Snake’s Way’, but ultimately lyrics are not this band’s strong point, and probably never will be.

Considering that it took Omnium Gatherum seven years to put out ‘Spirits And August Light’, it is very impressive that an album of this quality was released only a year after their last. It is a given that ‘The Redshift’ is a better album than ‘Stuck Here On Snake’s Way’ and ‘Years In Waste’, as once again we have the potent juxtaposition of the aggressive (‘The Redshifter, ‘Chameleon Skin’) and the beautiful (‘Greeneyes’, ‘Distant Light Highway’). With this in mind, is this better than ‘Spirits And August Light’? I’ll leave that for you to decide, but it is without a doubt a worthy contender.

Shifting Upwards - 85%

Daru_Jericho, October 13th, 2008

Omnium Gatherum are growing rapidly in popularity and with ‘The Red Shift’ hitting stores, this popularity will undoubtedly continue to ascend. This slab of melodic death metal is innovative, ultimately rendering it a completely compelling listen.

This opus was mastered by metal all-rounder Dan Swanö and coincidentally, the band uses clean vocals (in addition to growls and whispers) that sound like a cross-breed between Swanö and Katatonia’s Jonas Renske, a much welcomed change from the usual metalcore-influenced whiney singing melodic death metal bands usually utilize when they engrain their music with clean voices. In direct contrast with the singing are abrasive guitars, as can be heard on ‘No Breaking Point’. ‘The Redshifter’ is a ballsy track and overall quite a memorable tune. Similarly, ‘Nail’ contains attitude with a clear hard rock influence and a power metal styled keyboard, which keeps the song gripping – a prime selection for an opener.

‘Song For December’ is a breath-taking instrumental, relaxing and emotive. Featuring traces of progressive metal, the album is varied further and a poignant smooth bass employed effectively marks this a unique and grand instrumental. On ‘Greeneyes’ the bass is a muscular one at the song’s conception before the number evolves into a disheartening mood. Various emotions manifest throughout this album, from the uplifting feeling on the racy ‘Chameleon Skin’ to the sorrowful mood on ‘The Return’.

With ‘The Red Shift’, Omnium Gatherum have recorded their most mature effort to date, emphasising fresh ideas and masses of promise. The only tainting attribute of this album is the presence of insipid and generic guitar riffs. Otherwise, this observation demands to be listened from start to end.

Originally written for: