Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast
I had heard a lot of good things about Finland’s Omnium Gatherum a couple years ago when SPIRITS AND AUGUST LIGHT was released on Rage of Achilles. The only thing was that at this point I was completely burnt out on the Gothenburg/”melodic death metal” sound. With so many followers, pretenders, and bands that saw fit to just rip off At The Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquillity I didn’t think there would be any bands that could help either reinvigorate or reinvent the style until the general fever for the style was over. Here we are two years later since the band’s debut and I still haven’t heard it, despite hearing bands like The Duskfall and Insomnium who have helped recapture my interest in what is generally a dying and stagnant subgenre. The lack of talk of Omnium Gatherum since 2003 has, in my mind, shown that maybe the band’s debut wasn’t as good as a lot said it was…
Well, here we are in 2005 and Omnium Gatherum’s sophomore effort, YEARS IN WASTE, has been thrust upon me. Being completely unfamiliar with the band, aside from the past hype, I’m going in rather clean with this one. From what I’ve seen most fans have stated that YEARS IN WASTE is a disappointment and from what I’m hearing, I find no reason to disagree. The band utilize a slightly less “upbeat” Gothenburg sound, dropping many of the happier or dual guitar melodies that most of the bands playing this style began with. Possibly in an attempt to sound different the band utilizes a more melancholic sound, though a band like Insmomnium tends to do this far better. The band tends to use keyboards to “flesh out” their sound, usually more as a background accompaniment, reminding one of older Soilwork in some regards. Vocalist Antti Filppu uses much of the same higher pitched growling that his predecessors perfected though he tends to have a slightly more hoarse delivery, not unlike Johan Liiva (ex-Arch Enemy).
The album begins to plod immediately with “The Fall Went Right Through Here” which starts off rather upbeat with thick meaty guitars though the main riff is rather pedestrian with a vocal that neither enhances nor detracts from the overall experience. I actually like the simple keyboard section that’s used to enhance the rather mediocre offbeat chugging at 1:00 (and repeated at 2:25 with annoying whispered vocals). “Waste of Bereavement” starts off like At the Gates (SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL-ERA) before going horribly wrong with a soft straight picked section with vocal ontop… reminds me of something I would have heard from a mallcore band circa 1999. “No Moon & No Queen” is the only standout for the entire album, mostly for its intro. The opening riff seems to have a penchant for the notes to roll overtop of each other, something I tend to find in some of the black/thrash metal bands, which is something I really enjoy.
As the album trails on though things start to get really blurry. The songs aren’t memorable and don’t have any sections that tend to stand out, they’re there but if you were to play me the album twice in a row in one sitting I couldn’t tell you what makes “Black Seas Cry” sound different from “Gravesilence” or “More Withering”. The album is just a smattering of faster sections mixed with slower offbeat sections and the odd soft part. The sign of a good album is when someone could play you a 10 second piece of a song and you can instantly tell which song it is but with YEARS IN WASTE, no matter how many times I listen to it, I would have a hard time telling you which song is which, even if you played me half the song.
YEARS IN WASTE is a Gothenburg album that sounds horribly lifeless and manufactured with little feeling or emotion. The album leaves me cold, not caring or giving much interest. Which I guess leaves me with the question, is it okay for a band just to exist? When one is neither a benefit nor a detriment to their genre, is there really a point for Omnium Gatherum to exist in an overcrowded metal scene?