by Mark Allard-Will
It was March 19th 2022 and I, North Sask Music Zine's resident Metalhead - Mark, was there as the house lights went down and the thunderous gallop of live international Metal returned to our province after two long years of pandemic restrictions.
Finnish Melodic Death Metal band, Omnium Gatherum, took the distinction of being the first overseas Metal band to headline a Metal show in Saskatchewan since COVID-19; bringing in tow American bands The Black Crown Initiate and Allegaeon as their tour supports, the latter of which was still riding high on the North American success of their latest single, Of Beasts and Worms, with some thanks going to Sirius XM's Liquid Metal for the breadth of that hype.
The show took place at Regina's The Exchange. The audience took a while to warm up and get into the spirit of Metal, but this is where the experience and stage presence of the Finnish headliners really came into its own; as everything changed when they took the stage.
Jukka's (singer) ability to command a crowd really got the audience amped up, bringing the full force of the expected audience headbanging and circle pits to bear.
Hearing the guitar mastery of band founder, Markus Vanhala, is amazing to hear on the band's recorded albums, but seeing his performance on-stage is another thing altogether. The sheer showmanship put into his solos is almost otherworldly, giving a third dimension to his recorded works.
This brings me onto the band as a wider whole. The cohesive nature of Omnium Gatherum's stage presence was second-to-none, switching positions around the stage to amp up their showmanship to a varied segments of the audience, Markus and Mikko (bass) facing each other as though dueling guitar and bass, Jukka's sheer energy, and the precision of Atte's drumming.
It was as if the venue was electrified when Omnium Gatherum did their thing and the excitement of the audience was palpable. This was a night when international Metal loudly stated that it had returned to Saskatchewan.