“This just in: the six Karhu lager drinking Finns performing under the monicker of OMNIUM GATHERUM are currently high on songwriting!”
Last year´s “Stuck Here On Snake´s Way” introduced some heavier and experimental atmospheres into their sound leaving the trademark melancholic melodies on the sideline on some of the songs. Already back with a new album, this time the band has struck a new balance in melody and aggression!
“The Redshift” unleashes a northern soundscape that´s incredibly moody, heavy and rocking at times. Opening with the uber catchy “Nail”, the band fires off sinful melodic riffs together with lead melodies that stay etched in your mind for days. Next up is “A Shadowkey”; the deep atmospherics and the sheer energy of this track shows just how great potential the songwriting has to offer on future releases.
It doesn´t take long to figure out that “The Redshift” is one helluva album, but the most astonishing thing about the Karhula bunch is their vast influences and how they merge together into these awesome songs. The songs have their own creative identites but also unveil links to the member´s influences; on “Green Eyes” I hear the same dreariness found on “Brave Murder Day”, on “No Breaking Point” I hear traces of albums like “Damage Done” or “Haven”, on “Song For December” I hear OPETH, and on “Chameleon Skin” I hear a sound I thought was completely lost as it strangely recalls parts of Dan Swanö´s MOONTOWER project.
While we´re on the subject of Mr Swanö, getting him to do the mixing and mastering has proved to be a real catch. The sound is exquisite, warm and heavy, and thankfully the keyboards are centered, which is important because they carry many strong melodies. A fairly discussed topic among fans are the vocals of Jukka Pelkonen. While few will disagree on the fact that he doesn´t have the most brutal roar on the planet, I think he´s upped his performance on this release (“Snake...” had decent growls if you ask me) and the occasional clean vocals are fairly unique but not the easiest to digest.
Ever since bursting unto the scene in 2003 with “Spirits And August Light”, the eyes have been cast at this band. The band is still young and widely influenced, but they´ve created their first milestone with “The Redshift”. If you´re into catchy, gothic vibed, rocking Death Metal with excellent melodies, look no further!
(Online October 30, 2008)