Omnium Gatherum’s latest output, Beyond, begins with unusually gentle sounds. But don’t worry, the soft sides of the instrumental opener Luo To are soon energised. This seems to be a new concept because, as far as I remember, on the Melo Death Metallers’ previous albums those dreamingly romantic instrumentals appeared later on the tracklist. New is also the line-up, at least on two positions: second guitar and bass.
After this extravagant opening, everything is back to normal with The New Dyamic. The song displays the typical OG division of powers: on one side there are the melodic, playful elements provided by Markus Vanhala’s lead guitar and Aapo Koivisto’s keyboard. They have to compete with the brute vocals of Jukka Pelkonen and the unremittingly pounding drums of Jarmo Pikka. It’s like a fight good vs evil and in the ideal case, it’s the listener who comes off as the winner. On the predecessor album New World Shadows, the band managed to deliver exactly this ideal case but Beyond as far from it.
I think this is mostly because the guys opted to raise the AOR share in their musical recipe to an intolerable level. Some fans will certainly like it but it’s definitely not my favourite genre. Because of this, the album sounds very old-fashioned, out-dated. And even though the press release talks of “forward-thinking metal”; I think it’s going in the totally opposite direction. Even worse; Vanhala’s guitar is played a few pitches higher than, for example, on the previous record. One could almost get the impression his guitar is howling. Already with the second song this starts to get really annoying, with the next one, one starts looking for the volume control. For me, the only highlight of the album is the slower song Who Could Say where all instruments work together nicely and un-annoyingly. The vocals, however, could’ve done without the added echo, too.
Bottom line: There are a few good moments on Beyond but they are overshadowed by too much ‘grown up music’ and, above all, ‘the howling guitar of Kotka’. Sorry, guys but this record doesn’t work for me. But then again, you can’t please everybody.