A long-tenured melodic death metal act from Finland, Omnium Gatherum paid their formative dues in the late '90s before earning their place in the European metal community with a series of respected albums in the mid-2000s for labels like Nuclear Blast and Rage of Achilles. Already headed in a more progressive direction, the band worked with Swedish producer Dan Swanö on 2008's The Redshift, igniting a hard-won breakout phase that would culminate with 2011's career highlight, New World Shadows. Over the next several years, the band deepened their collaboration with Swanö, settling in for a fruitful tenure with Century Media Group that yielded albums like 2016's Grey Heavens and 2018's The Burning Cold.
Formed in Karhula, Finland in 1996, the history of Omnium Gatherum has been marked by a succession of lineup changes with founding guitarist Markus Vanhala serving as the group's only mainstay throughout their career. During their early years, Olli Lappalainen -- initially a guitarist -- acted as vocalist, but was replaced in 2000 by Antti Filppu, while his replacement on guitar, Harri Pikka, remained with the band for their first four albums. Two other bassists preceded Janne Markkanen's 1998 entry to the lineup, while only one drummer served before longtime sticksman Jarmo Pikka, who joined a year later. After several independent demos and seven years together, Omnium Gatherum signed with Rage of Achilles and released their 2003 full-length debut, Spirits and August Light. Along with keyboardist Mikko Pennanen the membership on their first album included Vanhala, Filppu, Harri and Jarmo Pikka, and Markkanen, all of whom except Pennanen appeared on their 2004 follow-up, Years in Waste, which appeared via the Nuclear Blast label. This release marked a noticeable shift toward a more technical, progressive approach as well as Filppu's last appearance on vocals. By 2007, the band had again swapped labels, this time to Candlelight Records, and introduced vocalist Jukka Pelkonen and keyboardist Aapo Koivisto, both of whom would go on to become core members with their own distinctive sound. Their first release with this new lineup, Stuck Here on Snake's Way, made a solid showing on the Finnish albums chart and was followed in 2008 by the more innovative effort The Redshift, which marked their first time working with Swedish metal titan Dan Swanö, and placed even higher on the national chart at number 24. Between those two releases, bassist Markkanen was replaced by Eerik Purdon, who himself was succeeded in 2009 by Toni "Tsygä" Mäki. Another major lineup shift occurred with the departure of longtime guitarist Harri Pikka, leaving Omnium Gatherum a five-piece on their epic 2011 Lifeforce Records debut New World Shadows.
New World Shadows proved to be a both a commercial breakthrough, topping the Finnish album chart, and it was touted by critics as one of Finland's finest representations of melodic death metal. Following its release, the group promoted touring guitarist Joonas "Jope" Koto into proper band membership. With their recently boosted profile, Omnium Gatherum spent a significant amount of time on their follow-up, working with producers Teemu Aalto and Sami Koivisto and enlisting Swanö to mix 2013's Beyond. One of their more melodic releases, it continued in the tradition of both The Redshift and New World Shadows. With Swanö back in the producer role and incoming drummer Tuomo Latvala taking over Jarmo Pikka's seat, the band issued the more wide-ranging Grey Heavens in 2016, making their debut for the Century Media label. This same lineup returned two years later to release their eighth album The Burning Cold. ~ Timothy Monger