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Omnium Gatherum - Biography





Omnium Gatherum is a band of many directions and styles, some of them clearly visible while others more unseen. Namely working and keeping it all together under the monicker of melodic life-and-death metal, bastardized by various influences from a whole lot of genres and sub-genres (thrash, black, power, heavy, punk, progressive, what the fuck ever, you name it), with a lyrical concept not very often seen in the world of metal - that is, academically twisted old school tell-a-tale folk singer attitude with a small amount of mystic poetry hidden somewhere between the lines. That's not gonna work, is it? Who cares. The band name itself says it all; an odd sense of humour meets talented and uncompromising musicians with a vocalist who (un)willingly plays the part of an outsider.

Omnium Gatherum came into being somewhere in time in Autumn 1996. After a year of hard training and songwriting OG recorded their first demo tape Forbidden Decay containing atmospheric melodic death metal, in the Spring of 1997. Two self-financed releases followed: the OG cd EP in 1998 and Gardens, Temples... This Hell! MCD in 1999. Especially Gardens caused some positive stir in the metal underground, but no good record deals were offered.

It was not until, and after a failed attempt to record it (coinciding with the change of a singer), the fourth demo Wastrel was released in May 2001, that the band found its own identity and promotion could get started. The line-up was now almost complete; only the keyboard player has changed a few times since those days. The review in Terrorizer summed up what was going on: "there is a sense of something special happening here. Technically the sextet have got it all worked out, but if I could apply the word 'beautiful' to metal songs then I would do so here because they are as complete as would be expected from any top class album."

In December 2001, a new and growing label Rage of Achilles from England offered a deal that sounded reasonable, and after signing it OG were sent straight to the Sonic Pump studios in late December to re-record Wastrel, to be released as a debut MCD. The title was changed to Steal the Light so that no one would mistake it for the demo. Released in September 2002, despite the ageing songs, both the critics and the audience seemed to like it. The musical atmosphere was light and the sound close to power metal, with half-crazy hysteria and despair balancing the scales.

In August 2002 OG entered the Sonic Pump studios again to record their first full-length album Spirits and August Light. Released after a long, long wait in April 2003 through Rage Of Achilles, it showed another side to the light: despite the clear melodies and the stable rhythm all along the way it had a lifelike taste of dirtiness to it, with desperate love and uninvited hate searching for an outlet, like something you didn't want to see happen but it did none the less. The reviews were unbelievable, considering that the band thought they had failed. OG appeared in Kerrang! a few times, being the only Finnish band ever with a debut of 5/5, and all the major British magazines followed in the same vein. Metal Hammer introduced the band:"Classically inclined operatic metal at its most snobbish. Lead breaks to make metal gods Judas Priest weep, and vocals that lift them out of any black metal pit. If Opeth are the Pink Floyd of this scene, then Omnium are likely to turn into Rush at the very least". The British were not the only friends, Germany agreed also (Rock hard gave 9,5/10 and hoped OG to become the next big thing from Finland). So far, so good... so what.

It was time to chill out (winter came, the air was freezing and the nights were long) and get introspective. The song writing was now divided between Pikka and Vanhala, and both were searching for something new. More technical, more progressive, more sophisticated but at the same time colder and moving away from the listener; the new recipe was completed with themes from the wasted youth, depression and soul-loss, shamanistic metaphors leading the twofold way back in time while the moon shone stranger than ever. It is always darkest right before the morning. Years in Waste was under construction in June-July 2004, and Rage of Achilles called it a day. Two promo cds were mysteriously lost by the post office before Nuclear Blast heard it, wanting to sign the band. In November 2004 Years in Waste came into this world, surrounded by a dim and mythical climate. The response was more diversified than before, just like the music itself. Finland was the band's best friend now (Soundi 4/5, Hamara 4/5).

But the times are a-changing; with almost a hundred gigs behind, only two of them outside Finnish soil, the band is composing material for the next album........and the spirits are high!