Stuck Here On Snakes Way
Omnium Gatherum - Stuck Here On Snakes Way - 2007 - Candlelight Records
1. The Snake & The Way
2. Into Sea
4. A Part Of God
7. The Third Flame
8. Just Signs
11. In Sane World
Finland remains the land of great wealth and opportunity in metal circles. From the likes of established acts such as Stratovarius and Children Of Bodom to off the wall talents such as Stoner Kings this country has probably contributed more to today's modern metal movement than Germany and Sweden combined. Now Finland's up-and-coming tier becomes one greater with Omnium Gatherum, a talented melodic death unit that has released their third release, "Stuck Here On Snakes Way". This is actually my first ear jaunt with the band, having absorbed as many Finnish acts that my vehicle, Ipod, and hard drive could possibly muster. Somehow I missed this unbelievable band, a must have in a who's who of today's superstars. "Stuck Here On Snakes Way" is simply mandatory listening for anyone even remotely interested in the likes of In Flames, Callenish Circle, Kreator, and the legendary Amorphis with huge nods to progressive arrangements.
This is the band's first venture with giant label Candlelight Records after a split with Nuclear Blast. Another first is the addition of new singer Jukka Pelkonen (also in Elenium) who replaces the band's long running vocalist Antti Filppu. Everything else stays the same for this fusion of delicate keyboard sweeps entwined with glorious duel melodies and intense groove parts. While so many bands simply get too caught up in the "atmospheric symphonic attraction", Omnium Gatherum keep things simple while still going long range in terms of progressive tendencies, intricate arrangements, and timing changes. One just simply can't help but fall in love with this type of band, a stellar group of musicians who simply make innovative music with their own identity...of course this is a Finnish band so why would we expect anything different?
The band's charisma and abstract songwriting contributes to the success of "Stuck Here On Snake's Way". Just when you think the band is simply going to deliver a par track with groove rumblings and ear candy solos things shift into completely new directions. The perfect example of these tendencies is strong opener "Into Sea", which opens with thunderous Bay Area thrash (see Overkill) with clarified deep growls before hitting some neo-classical razor-sharp riffs comparable to natives Wintersun. With that shift change the band still keeps things accessible with plenty of beefy groove smash. "Bastard-O" runs the gauntlet of thrash-melodic-death before slowing to hit a progressive arrangement made up of soft riffs that sound a bit like Hawkwind. Check out "Undertaker" with it's dark orchestra backdrop draped all over churning guitar riffs that simply stay with the listener. I personally like "A-Part Of God" with its mosh pit of doom swirling with jazzy elements before exploding into NWOBHM like Saxon and prime Priest. Another favorite is "Dysnomia" with its late '70s new wave approach punctuated by an intense battery.
The Bottom Line - All in all this is really a stellar performance and one that will definitely have me bookmarking the band for repeated listens in the future.