Sometimes you listen to a band’s new record and you think, “Holy shit, this might just be their best one yet!” Well, that’s all that has gone through my mind with each listen to OMNIUM GATHERUM’S new album Grey Heavens (out now via Century Media Records) because they have well and truly topped themselves on this one. The song structures are impeccably built, and the hooks are outstanding. The combination of melody and death is done in such a way that no other band can touch it, although many try. Being a Melodic Death Metal band with a progressive touch has worked well for them in the past, and all those elements are present on this disc. However, the arrangements and choruses on this one are the kinds that blow heads wide open.
Case in point? Opener “The Pit”…a great song that immediately grabs you by the throat, then puts a slug in your head while lulling you into a false sense of security. “Skyline” has easily one of the best riffs on the record and vocalist Jukka Pelkonen’s nasty death growls fall into an almost military-style march with the rest of the song, making us wonder if the end is near, or if those in power just want us to think it is. But all of this pales in comparison to THE best track and MAESTRO’S Song of the Year candidate in “Frontiers”. On this one the band nails it, and nails it like their contract will expire tomorrow if they don’t get it right. The verses take care of the wind-up to throw a strike and the chorus bangs it out of the park with a vengeance. This is such a fucking incredible song I simply have to stop talking about it.
Up next is “Majesty and Silence” a number clocking in at 8:36 that goes from dark and moody to somewhat harder while still retaining the aforementioned elements that keep people coming back for more. “Rejuvenate!” is a total kick in the balls, not unlike when you’re hung over in a hotel room and this track comes knocking on the door full of piss and vinegar. Another one I loved was “Foundation” because it is so simple and honest you can’t help but throw up your Devil Horns. Then we come to “The Great Liberation” which is one of the more brutalizing and speedy tracks on this fucker.followed by “Ophidian Sunrise” which jackhammers you into a fetal position while still retaining a nice melody.
An acoustic guitar opens “These Grey Heavens” and what follows is an instrumental that stopped me in my tracks due to the guitars of Markus Vanhala and Joonas “Jope” Koto. Right after that is album closer and what I like to call a melodic beatdown in “Storm Front”. This track swings the sonic baseball bat and pretty much dares you to step up and take your lumps. At the end of the day Grey Heavens is without a doubt my favorite OMNIUM GATHERUM record, and I will be blasting this bitch often so if you see me doing so, come do a shot with me!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Frontiers”, The Pit”, “Skyline”, “Storm Front”, “Foundation”