Watcher of the Skies
Despite being hailed as one of the best melodic death metal outputs from Finland, New World Shadows was my entrance into the wonderful world of Omnium Gatherum. This isn't an album for your close-minded death metal purist, but anyone who enjoys melody, progressive sensibilities, and symphonic keyboards in their extreme metal should adore this one. Although many albums of this type tend to often feel generic and uninspired, it's clear that Omnium Gatherum put buckets of blood, sweat, and tears into their latest effort. This is certainly one of the better melodic death metal albums in recent memory, and one every fan of the genre should have in his (or her) collection.
The music on New World Shadows is melodic death metal with obvious progressive leanings towards bands like Edge of Sanity (especially the Crimson II-era). Dan Swanö even lends his wondrous clean vocals to the album. New World Shadows opens up with the highly-progressive tune "Everfields" - possibly the best track on the entire album. There's plenty of variation here which keeps out any stale flavor, and the CD remains interesting throughout its entire 52 minute duration. Although there are plenty of killer death metal riffs, I love the beautiful atmosphere of something like the title track. That's top-notch melodeath right there and Dan Swanö's commanding vocals add even more to the mix. This surely isn't the heaviest death metal album you'll ever hear, but it's among the best that 2011 has yet to offer. I'd recommend all fans of Gothenburg-styled melodeath to give this a shot - you won't regret it.
An interesting sidenote is that the seventh track is titled "Watcher of the Skies". I don't think it's at all related to the Genesis track, though I could be wrong. I doubt it was at all a coincidence, especially considering the amount of progressive influences on the album.
The production is certainly polished, and maybe even a bit synthetic, but I really enjoy it. This is yet another aspect that old-school death metal purists will hate, but I have no issues with the production whatsoever.
New World Shadows is a top-notch melodic death metal album from Omnium Gatherum that all fans of the genre should definitely look into. I've had a great time listening to the album recently, and it's currently one of the highlights of 2011 melodic death metal. This isn't a perfect album, and it may be a bit "too" polished at times, but it's a generally stellar effort from a skillful and talented group of musicians. I'll go with 4 stars for this unique and highly-enjoyable masterwork. Fans of progressively-inclined melodic death metal are in for a treat with New World Shadows.