New World Shadows

Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold Review

Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold Review

“I wasn’t all that impressed with 2016s Grey Heavens. To my ears it felt flat and a bit boring, and the inclusion of a more stripped down modern sound didn’t feel like it fit the band’s tried-and-true formula. Naturally this led me to approach The Burning Cold with some trepidation, hoping for a return to form but bracing for diminishing returns. So which will it be for this Finnish melo-death institution? Newfound glory or further decline?” It’s very cold in sadboy world.

Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun Review

Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun Review

“Over the past decade, Insomnium has been one of, if not the most consistent of the morose Finnish styled melo-death acts in operation. They’ve delivered album after album of “dead puppy under the Christmas tree” flavored music, loaded with gothic trappings and they’ve won the melancholy sweepstakes more often than not. In recent years, fellow countrymen Omnium Gatherum have stolen some of their thunder and lunch money with ripping albums like New World Shadows and Beyond, but the sleepless ones soldiered on regardless, doing what they do best on quality platters like One With Sorrow.” Ready to cry a frozen river? Steel Druhm clearly wasn’t.

Witherscape – The Inheritance Review

Witherscape – The Inheritance Review

“There are few sure things in the world, but there’s one name that screams quality and excellence and that name is Dan Fucking Swanö. From his work on top-notch death metal albums like Edge of Sanity‘s Crimson, his collarboration with Bloodbath, Threshold and Demiurg and his proggy solo albums like Moontower, the man has the midas touch and one of the best death roars of all time. He’s also a producer extraordinaire and perhaps the best at making death metal sound the way it should. Witherscape takes his hefty talents and pairs them with unknown instrumentalist Ragnar Widerberg and the result is a concept album about a gothic insane asylum and evil goings on. Musically, it’s a stunning mash-up of Crimson, Damnation-era Opeth, Omnium Gatherum, Mercyful Fate and even King Crimson.” Steel Druhm has a mancrush on Dan Swanö and you should too, unless you’re a woman. Join him as he explains why Witherscape justifies his love.

Omnium Gatherum – Beyond Review

Omnium Gatherum – Beyond Review

“It’s old news to loyal readers that I really took to the last Omnium Gatherum opus (as did AMG himself). Though I appreciated their prior album The Redshift a lot, I certainly wasn’t expecting the monumental slab of Finnish melo-death mixed with mega-melodic Euro-power metal that was New World Shadows. It’s one of those rare albums that has the perfect mix of atmosphere, melody, hooks and power, and it was my album of the year in 2011. I was pretty sure Omnium Gatherum would be unable to equal or top it, and when Beyond appeared in my promo bin, it was just of question of how close they could could get to the ridiculous quality of NWS.” So, how close DOES this get to New World Shadows? Steel Druhm busts out his slide rule and does some scientific measurements, so you don’t have to.

Nothnegal – Decadence Review

Nothnegal – Decadence Review

Sweden this, U.S.A. that. Its always the same countries churning out the metal that lands on the cluttered desk of Steel Druhm. Sure, every now and then a Middle Eastern or Asian act tosses a spiked glove in the ring, but it’s predomiantly Europe and the Americas tasked with carrying the metal standard these days. That’s why its such a treat when we get a promo from someplace new and exotic. Nothnegal clearly qualifies, since they hail from the tiny Maldive Islands, way out in the Indian Ocean (their location is actually listed as an atoll, which counts as mega-exotic). Decadence is their first full length and its all about modern melodic death with loads of keys, bells and whistles. They take the basic melo-death concept and mix in semi-industrial Fear Factory-like riffing, loads of electronic effects, keys and even synthesized guitars. The big mystery is how this remote isle act wrangled drum services from Kevin Talley (Six Feet Under, ex-Hate Eternal, ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) and keys by Marco Sneck (Poisonblack, ex-Kalmah, ex-Charon). Sounds interesting so far, right? Well, it may be interesting, but sadly, it ain’t too good. Despite the endless array of interesting keyboard noodling and effects, things never really work out and Decadence quickly sinks below the waves of mediocrity. This is a real shame, since there are some interesting ideas on hand and some talented folks involved. But, as the saying goes, no band is an island (sorry, island jokes are rough going).

Omnium Gatherum – New World Shadows Review

Omnium Gatherum – New World Shadows Review

There was a time when melodic death metal was every breath I took. While it’s been a long time since that was the case, I certainly can say that I spent the late 90s and early 00s listening to my fair share of melodic Swedish death metal and loving it. But since then melodic death metal has kinda fallen off a cliff. This is partially due to the dawning of metalcore and the co-opting of Swedish thrash and death metal by hardcore kids, but I think it’s mainly because just like every scene after a while you start growing tired of the sound. Every new album that gets released gets a “Yeah, well, I’ve heard this before.” While there have been some notable melodic death metal records in the last couple of years, Barren Earth and Be’lakor come to mind, only the former has really stuck out as truly remarkable. That is until I checked out New World Shadows from Omnium Gatherum.