Omnium Gatherum is a great description for the Finnish Melodic Death Metal band of the same name. Latin for "a collection of miscellaneous things", this definition is borne out in the eclectic sound and lyrical content that founder Markus Vanhala and the band members that have made up Omnium Gatherum across the years have pursued. Ranging from soaring melodic guitar harmonies through to your typical fast, blast beat prone Death Metal-influenced sections, growling vocals juxtaposed with affirming and positive lyrical content (especially under the direction of current singer, Jukka Pelkonen) and even keyboards and synth make up a sound that's unique in the Melodic Death Metal space.
Omnium Gatherum and their friends (and fellow Finns) in Insomnium always go out of their way to book a real Canadian tour, shaking off the usual Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver-only schtick, instead touring across the provinces and covering all of Canada's major cities.
March 2022 is no different, with their Saskatchewan date at The Exchange in Regina on 19th.
To find out more about what makes Omnium Gatherum tick, and why they opt to play Saskatchewan when so many others see us as a fly-over province, Mark caught up with Markus:
Poster for Omnium Gatherum's North America tour of 2022
MARK: Markus, thanks for joining me. Omnium Gatherum has had an amazing career so far, how does it feel when you look back on your achievements?
MARKUS: Hello and no problemos, we Finns salute you Canadians and feeling like relative tribe! :) It's been a pretty long journey for me with this band, as I basically formed this when I was a 14 year old kid, haha. Still I like to look more forward than back. Great things ahead and aiming always for the better victories!
MARK: For the benefit of newcomers to Omnium Gatherum, what was it that drove you to start the band in those early days?
MARKUS: I totally fell in love with this Swedish and Finnish wave of Melodic Death Metal back in the mid '90s, and bands and albums like In Flames "Subterranean" and "Jester Race", Dark Tranquillity "Gallery", "Edge Of Sanity", "Crimson" et all, Amorphis "Tales..." and Sentenced "Amok" were highly inspiring us, alongside of some Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anathema, et all, Florida Death Metal and even US Hard Rock. There came the moonshine concoction and structures for OG sound. Still expanding it, always, with the latest albums the so called "Finnish melancholy" been topped a lot with good ol' '80s Miami Vice toppings. We in Finland have four seasons, so maybe that can be heard from our music too. Melancholic winter, needs joy and glory of summer with all summer dying fast in autumn, and everything waking up and raising to new glory in springtime. Hope to see you all and on the show at Regina and we'll turn you all for the Omnium Gatherum belief! OG's definitely a live band, and we're on our best on stage releasing the energy and aggression way better than from album.
MARK: You've also been a member of another of my favourite bands since 2011, that being Insomnium. How did the gig with Insomnium come to be?
MARKUS: Insodudes were my good friends, and OG and Insomnium grew together in the past and were the bands walking their own paths among the Finnish Metal scene. At some point guys asked me to help and fill in on some live shows, and one thing lead to another and in the end they asked me to join the band. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse, on a Godfather movie terms :)
MARK: Your guitar style is so wildly unique. It walks the line between a brutal assault and these soaring empathetic melodies. How do you think that unique sound you've carved out distinguishes OG from other Melodic Death Metal bands?
MARKUS: I've never wanted to chain myself under any narrow genre name, and try to avoid that melodic death metal" thing and just mix the things I love, which is music in a large scale. Somehow via that route comes the "peculiar mixture", "strange kind of gathering" aka Omnium Gatherum sound. I've always been a fan of guitar players who can tell a story via their solo, which means there's action parts with shred and melodies, epicness, pathos and true feeling. Gotta feel the notes and wing 'em!
Omnium Gatherum's latest album "Origin"
MARK: You've played Saskatchewan before with Insomnium in the depths of winter in early 2015 at Saskatoon's Louis' Pub. Were you prepared for our extreme cold here with those blistering prairie winds?
MARKUS: Of course, I'm a Finn. We do have that same thing called long hard winter. I think I've been even a few times around Saskatchewan, at least on a travelling day-off at hotels, is it really I'm played there only once? Booking agents works in mysterious ways, and I don't know why we've been having those days-off there and not shows. I love that good northern feeling around there.
MARK: Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium are unique as far as international touring acts go, in that most Metal bands just skip right over most of Canada on their North American tours, opting to play just Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver instead. Yet, OG and Insomnium always go out of their way to play "the provinces". What is it about real Canada that drives you to keep coming back to us?
MARKUS: Like I earlier stated, I feel we Finns and you Canadians share a lot in common. We're both these weirdos from the North. But all-in-all, we've always had amazing shows in Canada and the Canadian Metal crowd is amazing and active. Let the metal flow and keep on moshing!
MARK: When you're touring a country as impossibly huge as Canada, spending days at a time on travel, what kind of things do you get up to on the our bus to pass the time and stop yourself from going stir crazy?
MARKUS: Well, mostly sleep as we mostly drive through the nights and mornings. Of course always & every now and then long evening beers with the booyas with some nice music listening hangouts et all. Many times tried to use the time wisely for composing or so, but that’s impossible for me, as I need my isolation for working.
Thanks so much to Markus for joining us at North Sask Music Zine. Tickets for Omnium Gatherum's March 19th show at The Exchange in Regina, can be purchased here. Digital streamers can find Omnium Gatherum's music on all major streaming platforms, physical releases available through most record stores.