Omnium Gatherum | Interview with Markus Vanhala

It appears that the year of 2008 is going to be one of the busiest and most hectic of Finland’s Omnium Gatherum career to date. The Melodic Death-Metal sextet is currently on the final process of writing the follow-up to their successful and critically acclaimed "Stuck Here On Snakes Way" album, which is scheduled for release this spring through UK’s Candlelight Records.
Meanwhile, the band will support Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity on their UK tour this month, before heading for studio to register their new as-yet-untitled record. Scratch the Surface caught up with guitarist Markus Vanhala to learn more about Omnium Gatherum upcoming studio release and the support slot for one of their main influences.

It takes a simple click at your internet browser to discover that Omnium Gatherum roughly means a miscellaneous collection, all gathered. Well, Melodic Death Metallers Omnium Gatherum couldn’t have picked a better name for themselves as its significance perfectly reflects the band’s posture towards music since the Finnish sextet is a band that places great value on dynamics.
After two well received full-length albums 2003’s “Spirits In August Light” and 2004’s “Years In Waste” released on Rage Of Achilles and Nuclear Blast respectively, with both blending a diverse range of influences and textures in a surprising and innovative manner it was only last year that Omnium Gatherum truly blossomed into a unique and grandiose musical entity with the release of their third record. Issued by Candlelight Records, “Stuck Here On Snakes Way" is where the likes of Iron Maiden, Rush, Dark Tranquillity, Opeth and Amorphis converge in equal measures and the sextet consolidated their position as a band poised to make the big jump from the underground to the forefront of the Metal scene. 2008 promises to be a great year for Omnium Gatherum as the band is currently finishing writing the greatly expected follow-up to “Stuck Here On Snakes Way".

When asked about the musical orientation of the new songs, guitarist Markus Vanhala suggests a return to the more metallic, harder inclinations of the band’s early period.

“The stuff is sounding little bit like a return to the roots of Omnium Gatherum, lots of melodies, easier song structures, but still really heavy stuff with some beautiful progressive atmospheres.
I think the songs are a lot more easily approachable than on “Snakes Way”, though it still isn’t any disposable one-hit-wonder stuff, hehe.”

What can you tell us about the writing process of your new album? How are the new songs developing?

“It’s been maybe the easiest record composing project so far, it seems that the songs have composed itself within a very short period. We have over 10 songs ready and waiting some hard arrangement process, though we have very busy schedule as the recordings are starting already in March and we have a tour to play before that and lots of work to do... But, I’m still very enthusiastic about the coming release as it’s really having the strongest potential yet!”

Have you already settled for a title for the new album?

“No, we haven’t got yet any title, so the working title is “a big 4th”.

What about the recordings, have you already chosen a studio and a producer to work with?

“Yeah, we have just booked all the studios. It’s going to be done in three different studios; drums will be recorded in Sound Supreme by Janne Saksa (Rotten Sound, Amoral, Manitou etc.), other recordings will be done at the same place as “Snakes Way”, which is our local SouthEastSounds studio in Karhula, Finland. The mixing and mastering will take place in Örebro, Sweden at the legendary UNISOUND studio by the legendary Swedish metal master Dan Swanö, who has done albums for Edge Of Sanity, Opeth, Katatonia, Dissection, Bloodbath, Nightingale etc. I surely am really eager about this as I’m a big Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Moontower fan!"

Any guest appearances profiled to appear on the new album?

“We haven’t decided yet anything on that case, so it remains to be seen.”

The new album will once again be released by Candlelight Records; do you think they're the perfect partner for Omnium Gatherum?

“Things have worked nicely with Candlelight. The label got a nice staff, they have cool individual bands and we have total artistic freedom on our music. It’s a good sized label for us, as for example our previous label Nuclear Blast was way too big for a band like Omnium Gatherum.”

The upcoming album will mark the debut of new bass player Eerik Purdon who replaced Janne Markkanen last year, did he contributed to the writing of the new album?

“Eerik haven’t done any composing for the album, but he have been a great influence factor for writing new stuff and have helped with arrangements and stuff like that. He really is one hell of a bass player, so I can guarantee that there’s infernal low-end pulse and groove on our next chapter that have not seen at the Omnium Gatherum stuff yet!!!

Omnium Gatherum will be touring with Dark Tranquillity on February through the UK, seeing that they had a big influence on the band in the beginning, what are your feelings regarding the tour?

“Well, Dark Tranquillity’s “The Gallery” album was one of the main influences why we ever formed this band in ´95/96. So, it’s totally amazing to tour with that band and I couldn’t invent better band style wise to tour with. We’ll be also sharing the nightliner bus with Dark Tranquillity so it’s going to be a nice ride for all of us, Sweden vs. Finland! Last time we did a headlining tour in UK at 2006 and it was a success, so also because of this we’ll be looking forward to head back to UK stages.”

What can we expect from Omnium Gatherum on these shows? Will you be playing some new songs?

“Highly energetic sweaty show with tight playing and rock´n’roll movements, hehe!! Yeah, we’ll be testing some new stuff on these gigs for sure.”

1 comment:

  1. Great band, lookin' forward to hear the new songs.