OMNIUM GATHERUM to me are one of those bands that ages like a fine wine. They just keep getting better. I actually think their last album Grey Heavens is their absolute best. And I really don’t care who disagrees, that’s just how I feel. Hell, “Frontiers” from that one is still in heavy rotation for yours truly. Now, two years and some change later we get the follow-up with The Burning Cold, out now via Century Media Records. All the trademark touches are here en masse: riffs for days, infectious hooks, keyboards lending just the right atmospheres, and more.
After an intro the disc begins in earnest with “Gods Go First.” As soon as it was released I knew we were getting a great album, as this song just rips. Next up is “Refining Fire”, a Melodic Death Metal masterpiece. The dual guitars of Markus Vanhala and Joonas “Jope” Koto coupled with Aapo Koivisto’s keys weave a sonic tapestry to get wrapped up in, and vocalist Jukka Pelkonen finds the right blend of evil growls and melodic tones. Just over halfway through the song takes you to a place not unlike the eye of a hurricane before it comes crashing back in. Meanwhile “Rest In Your Heart” has an ascending riff that is hard not to get lost in.
“Over the Battlefield” sounds exactly like the title would suggest. Pummeling drums and bass courtesy of Tuomo Latvala and Erkki Silvennoinen respectively see to that. And the rest of the band takes up their swords and joins the fray with a vengeance. Oh, and then “The Fearless Entity” comes along and showcases some more brilliant interplay between guitars and keys. “Be the Sky” is one that should have you going from the very first listen, while “Driven By Conflict” will rip your fucking head off. Oh and look at that, it’s another favorite!
“The Frontline” is truly interesting because it’s not only a completely different tempo than what we’ve been working with so far, but the pendulum swing only adds to the sonic backdrop. “Planet Scale” is without a doubt another winner because the band goes into full take no prisoners mode and you can feel the intensity from the very first note. Closer “Cold” has a slow, stalking tempo that calls to mind a Frost Giant bearing down upon his prey, and ends things in fine fashion.
The Burning Cold is a very, very good record from a very, very good band. That’s simply not up for debate. They have shown once again that they can deliver crushing Melodic Death Metal many times over for their faithful and devoted. My thing is that I really want to catch them live, but something always gets in my way. And while this record is not quite as good as the last one, maybe by less than half a point, it is still a fucking awesome album. OMNIUM GATHERUM are a well-oiled machine, and they leave their contemporaries squarely in the dust. Deal with it.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Planet Scale”, “Driven By Conflict”, “Refining Fire”, “Gods Go First”, “Over the Battlefield”