Killing My Erectium
Omnium Gatherum & I have a strange relationship. Sometimes they have me convinced they are the second coming, meticulously combining atmospheric, progressive structures with the aggression of a crossbow wielding, privately schooled nutcase. Seconds later though, I find them ruining things with a concerted In Flames impression or, god forbid, a keyboard-driven gay part (that’s a technical term for clean vocals). Anyway, this habit has been rearing it’s ugly head more & more often with too many melodic flourishes at the expense of some good, old fashioned brutality. The emphasis has been on the melo-, not the death, leading them dangerously close to that musical cul-de-sac that is “metal my bird likes”. Luckily, they’ve managed to make this one not suck. Until track 3.
Anyway, things begin with the crushing Everfields which, despite a rather boring melodic interlude, is a perfect example of what I love about them. Low, gutteral death growls act as a menacing undercurrent to a soaring, atmospheric slice of uplifting morbidity, even if the drum intro stinks of Phil Collins. At just over 9 minutes, it’s the first of the two epics that we were promised in news updates during the recording process & stands out as one of the best tracks Omnium Gatherum have ever done. Ego takes us slightly too close to modern In Flames for my liking but some catchy riffing from the perennially underrated Markus Vanhala saves the day.
Things go awry on the title track which kicks off with good intentions but around the 3:5o mark, everything gets a bit piss. The clean vocals & keyboards kill my erection quicker than a KFC bucket full of rat feces which is a shame. Things were going so well up until then. I was going to take the album out to a nice restaurant. Wine it, dine it, take it home & plunder it’s many cavities. Instead, Peter Gabriel & the keyboard player from Blessed By A Broken Heart turn up & shit on my dinner plans.
Things continue on very much in this vein, one minute gripping me with their undeniable mastery of moods & the next, slapping me in the face with a handbag full of soppy widdle. Some inspired shredding on Nova Flame is tempered with some Amorphis-lite keyboards & vocal delivery in the style of a man receiving a blow job off an experienced, transsexual hooker on the unforgettable-and-not-in-a-good-way An Infinite Mind. Thankfully, things end well with another 9 minute epic bookending the album. Deep Cold shifts from Gothenburg worship to Alcest effortlessly. This, combined with some cheeky harmonics & space rock guitar work, showcases OG‘s ability to create epic ambient soundscapes whilst retaining an underlying brutality capable of kicking a large farm animal to death.
Performance-wise, vocalist Jukka Pelkonen is on top form & this is by far his best effort with Omnium Gatherum, his growls being the heaviest thing on offer. As mentioned previously, Vanhala‘s guitar work is as glorious as usual & Dan Swanö‘s production has the sheen of an obsessive compulsive’s kitchen worktop. They are a band firing on all cylinders, it’s just a shame they are often pointed in the wrong direction.