Omnium Gatherum

Spirits and August Light

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With all the genre-bending experiments and stylistic dilution going on out there in extreme metal land, it certainly is nice to hear some good old-fashioned, quality death metal like Omnium Gatherum's brand. Don't misunderstand now; the Finnish sextet's sterling 2003 debut, Spirits and August Light, is hardly predictable or one-dimensional, but rather a melodic death metal album in the best Gothenburg mold -- meaning it merely accessorizes non-death elements with confident modesty, where others overindulge in transparent attempts to impress. In other words, Omnium Gatherum utilize keyboards and synths to enhance, rather than disfigure or dominate the cleverly textured guitar harmonies heard on album highlights such as "Writhen," "Deathwhite," and "Wastrel," all of which display ample aggression without going emotionally overboard into the murderous realms of black metal. Another standout, "Amor Tonight," displays a noticeable but not overwhelming In Flames influence, while the awesome "The Emptiness of Spirit" quite simply annexes the Gothenburg formula as if the town was located in Finland. Spirits and August Light is a promising debut that doesn't reinvent the wheel but rides its momentum nonetheless.

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