omnium gatherum - the redshiftWhen you’re a melodic death metal band from Finland what you really need are the multi-faceted talents of a producer such as Dan Swanö to bring out all the best elements of your music. Sure, an ability to write and play well are necessities but the proper direction and production can elevate your music from the ranks of the fledgling many to the proven few. Omnium Gatherum are an act with which you may not yet be familiar but, given the strength of The Redshift, you should be made aware. The reason? This release deftly surpasses the mediocrity of their past couple and even trumps their impressive 2003 debut, Spirits And August Light. The band have finally brought all the pieces together in a synergistic manner creating a cohesive and impressive work that should make their name more accessible to the larger community of metal brethren the world over. And their music will even appeal to our Sisters in Metal as well, so let’s not pretend this is all part of a special, masculine group. We can’t even get the handshake down.

From the snap of the snare to the melodic guitar interplay to the low-end bass rumble with understated keyboard touches and growling vocals everything is mixed together perfectly and the propulsive riffing on opener “Nail” is infectious. This is Amon Amarth by way of Iron Maiden. The licks that begin “A Shadowkey” are pure Somewhere In Time-era Maiden drenched in Death distortion and work beautifully within the context of some of the best songwriting Omnium Gathering have given us thus far. You can go ahead and ignore the rather inane lyrics but everything else here is a feast for the senses.

“No Breaking Point” begins with the sort of Death N Roll you might expect from Entombed but slyly adds in keyboard piano along with a clean, sung chorus and a bridge that almost seems influenced by late-Eighties Rush. Everything gels quite nicely and while they throw out a lot of interesting noises over the course of this album’s forty-eight minute running time it all comes across as easily attributable to what can now be referred to as the Omnium Gatherum sound. You can shout out band names as influences and make comparisons to contemporaries all you like but The Redshift‘s greatest success is in firmly establishing this band as a strong presence within the greater melodeath scene.

With the gorgeous intonations of the all-too-brief instrumental, “Song For December,” which provides the lead-in for album closer “Distant Late Highway” – a song whose last minute and a half make it difficult to refrain from just starting the whole album over again immediately – it’s evident that Omnium Gatherum have finally come into their own and are a band about which you’ll be hearing considerably more in the near future.The Redshift may not break any new ground but it’s an immensely likable disc you’ll be reaching for time and time again.

Three and a half out of five horns.)

[Omnium Gatherum on MySpace]

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