Wrapping Up 2013: Omnium Gatherum Takes Home Album Of The Year

Wednesday, 1st January 2014

We’ve crossed into 2014, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give pause to the year that was. Since our “official” launch date of April 8, 2013, this site has seen 480 reviews and 165 features posted, which isn’t too shabby given we lost roughly three month’s of time during our transition from Blistering.com to Dead Rhetoric.com. Therefore, I’d like to extend a much-deserved thumbs-up to the staff, and those who helped launch the darn thing, especially Kevin Antonacci (our developer), along with Derek Vasconi and Erich Sparks, who have been vital in making cosmetic and back-end changes.

Productivity and goodwill aside, the year saw a gaggle of excellent releases come down the pike, but none was more well-received than Omnium Gatherum’s sixth album, Beyond. The Finns’ brand of melodic death metal has long touched many on the staff’s hearts (they tied Anthrax for the top spot in 2011, too), but this year they don’t have to share the #1 spot with anyone. Alas, here’s OG lead guitarist/primary songwriter/all-around Rush fiend Markus Vanhala with some words on 2013, and what lies…beyond:

“Year ’13 was the lucky 13 for OG – we got our new album Beyond out as a really satisfying product and the response towards the album have been overwhelming everywhere. We finally also broke the ice and got our asses outside the European soil touring-wise and fulfilled our big rock’n’roll dream to play in the land of the rising sun, Japan. In fact, we were there twice last year as also visited awesome new territories like South Korea and China, and had the days of our lives there!

“So the album got us somewhere BEYOND the old familiar countries, and we got confirmed also to fulfill another career dream – OG will be hitting the US and Canadian shores finally in a month, in February/March 2014. That’s what I am really, really waiting here at the moment: [to] go beyond the Atlantic and deliver the goods there! See ya friends soon!” -Markus Vanhala, 1/1/2014, Finland

Dead Rhetoric.com Top 5 (er, 6) Albums of 2013:


1. Omnium Gatherum – Beyond (Lifeforce Records)
Yes, this hit the market early in 2013, but this Finnish melodic death metal band seem to know when to hone in on this delicate blend of amazing progressive sensibility and sheer heaviness- along with atmospheric, intuitive contrast. Beyond sets the bar high in the genre, and for Omnium Gatherum themselves. Looking forward to hearing many of these tracks live when this tour with Dark Tranquillity hits North America in early 2014. – Matt Coe


2. Carcass – Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)
If this is not the best comeback album to come down the death metal pike, then what is? Surgical Steel – as we have covered in detail – is simply the near-perfect cross between Necroticism and Heartwork, bumped up with a killer production job and exhaustive drumming of newbie Daniel Wilding. Curious to see how long of a shelf life this will have, and if the Brits will tour this thing incessently, or race back to the studio for a follow-up. – David E. Gehlke


3. Wolfheart – Winterborn (Self-Released)
Tuomas Saukkonen – what else can one say about this mastermind? He dissolves all four of his projects, comes back with a single one named Wolfheart, and releases an album that’s as smooth and powerful as anything he’s ever done. The man can do no wrong. Start to finish, a classic piece of melodic death metal. Well done, sir. – Dan Barkasi

In Vain

4. In Vain – Ænigma (Indie Recordings)
Progressive death metal from Norway that has everything I love in metal, in spades: soaring melodies, pummeling rhythms, barbaric heaviness, outstanding musicianship, great songwriting, depth and originality. Outstanding. – Daniel Keating


(Tie) 5. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth (Nuclear Blast)
Thematic to the album’s title, the intro of the first song “Kingborn” conveys the sounds of someone escaping from a labyrinth with storming, elemental sound effects and exasperating breaths. And like a labyrinth, this album is a bewildering infusion of musical passages. I highly value Italian extreme metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse for their expansion of technical death metal to orchestral and operatic instrumentals in Labyrinth, for they have genuinely symphonized metal. – Bridget Erickson

cultofluna - vertikal

(Tie) 5. Cult of Luna – Vertikal (Density)
The reemergence of the Swedish seven (down from eight) saw both refinement in some aspects and some dramatic explorations in others. Lumbering paces and blackhole-level heaviness continues to the primary virtues of the band but these are accompanied by, beautifully at times, intensely unnerving electronic passages. Highlighted by early album standout “Vicarious Redemption” (and its monstrous 19 and a half minute runtime) this album has proved to be a glorious throwdown for the band, further solidifying their place on their own merits and outside the legacy of Neurosis. – Matthew Bowling

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