Markus Vanhala of Omnium GatherumOMNIUM GATHERUM - The Thinking Man's Band
By Sara Lambeth

Omnium Gatherum remains the epitome of how metal can move beyond the tropes of the genre while becoming something else entirely. With Century Media Records, Omnium Gatherum is releasing a new record that the band calls, “Fresh rebirth of Omnium Gatherum!” Set for deliverance August 31st, 2018, '"The Burning Cold, " interpretation of metal music far surpasses any expectations. This is hands down the best melodic death metal album of the year so far.

The depth of the sound these guys are able to produce, with the kind of guitar solos that make you want to learn to shred, is astounding. Every time you listen to "The Burning Cold" or any Omnium Gatherum record, you will discover new lyrics that inspire, a harmony that entrances, or a wicked riff that makes the devil horns raise up.

In support of "The Burning Cold," Omnium Gatherum is hitting the North American roads with Amorphis, Dark Tranquillity, and Moonspell.  Guitarist extraordinaire, Markus Vanhala (Insomnium) talked with us about the new record and upcoming tour.

DB: First off, I am super excited about the new record. I have mine on preorder.

MV: Thanks for the support, I’m super excited too about this release, even [if] this is the eighth one. Finest hour for sure. So far.

DB:  I like how Omnium Gatherum has a family behind the music, Dan Swano, and Olli-Pekka. Were you happy with Olli-Pekka interpretation of your concept for the album cover? In particular the pile of skulls.

MV: Yes, we like to work with our creative circle, [a] band of brothers, that goes over the musician borders in Omnium Gatherum and these guys are an important part of the process and feel. Like Olli-Pekka has made all our cover artwork since the first demo of ’97, Teemu Aalto has been recording and engineering [with] us since the 2004 ”Years In Waste” album. We just had a tenth-anniversary co-operation date with Dan Swanö as the fifth album with him. Also, been working with the same band photographer, Jari Heino, since ”New World Shadows” album  2011. Are we just too antisocial Finns who don’t wanna meet and work with new people. (laughs) It’s only why change the working winning team with whom we’re having a lot of fun together. Olli is one of my best buddies in real life and we’ve grown together with listening to music and OG et al. I always send my new material demos for him to illustrate and we speak a lot about concepts and ideas. So our cooperation really goes on both ways with visuals and music. Last time we had two skulls on ”Grey Heavens” album artworks. Now we needed more. This is still death metal. (laughs).

DB: You have released two singles off the new record so far, both with video, "Gods Go First" and "Refining Fire," both are beautifully shot, where were these videos filmed?

MV: Both titles were filmed near where I’m living in Kotka, southeast coast of Finland. Especially with ”Refining Fire” we wanted to have a lot of local nature for the visuals, and there’s this streaming little river of life. It would’ve been too cliched to use fire in [the] song with a fire song title, so there’s a lot of different metaphors and [symbolism].

DB: Did Olli-Pekka produce "Gods Go First" as well?

MV: Olli-Pekka produced only ”Refining Fire” video on top of artworks, ”Gods Go First” was made by another video team.

DB: Does the band come up with the idea for what the video will show?

MV: We the band had more input for ”Gods Go First” video, where we wanted the main point to be on lights and colors  in the same line with the album cover artwork. We also wanted it to be intimate, the band playing in some small barn inside, and not huge factory industrial hall as metal bands usually [are] playing in videos. It was funny to film it in this really old dusty small barn in the middle of forest. Gnomes and hobgoblins and ghosts were definitely in with the spirit.

DB: The vibe I get from "The Burning Cold" is almost cinematic in a way. Kind of like being on horseback about to go into battle. Very persevering.

Markus Vanhala and Jukka Pelkonen of Omnium GatherumMV: Music-wise, I always tend to think of music as visuals and landscapes and yes, in a cinematic way so you got the point there! I try to take people for a little journey through my music, escape to some different place than you are for a duration of the record(s).

DB: Being a "mature metal" band, or a "thinking man's metal" band for this album lyrically, it is reflecting on human emotion and the overall hatred in the world. Correct?

MV: Album concept is dealing basically with how human emotions and your inner world can cope with the craziness of the too intensive outside modern world of today. Emotional scales are pumped up to the maximum with all the never-ending stimulants in this modern fast world which have turned a bit to a chaotic space.  World leaders aren’t thinking on the long run, and people have to get it all now ASAP and as cheap as possible or even better, for free. We’re living a sensitive minds era, where people feel strong hate or strong justice or injustice or whatever, and with social media explosion, everyone can get their opinions public in a second and without thinking too much. It is you in the middle who have to decide how you wanna live [in] this chaos, whether to fly or die.

DB: Going back to the lyrical content. As a touring band, with how unpredictable the world is, are you guys taking any extra precautions?

MV: Fear is a mind killer. So we don’t surrender to fears, it would kill all the fun, and you cannot live your life in fear. Do your thing, and hope for the best.

DB: Have you noticed a difference in how security is handled at shows and festivals to ensure everyone's safety?

MV:  In some places yes, and then at other places not at all and it could be way more well organized.

DB: OG has a huge tour coming up, kicking off with Summerbreeze. It looks like you may achieve your goal of "most gigs played by a Finnish musician," once this tour is over.

MV: Yeah, we’ll be touring North America first with Amorphis, Dark Tranquillity, and Moonspell, so this is gonna be a melodic death metal festival tour of your life. Definitely looking forward to this great lineup of great bands and good friends that we are, as I’ve been already touring with all these bands earlier and these are the best guys in the business. After that, we’ll head out to European headliner tour, and after that, there’ll be a lot more later on in touring front. As always, so yes, my life is crazy and as I’m playing with two touring bands with OG and Insomnium, I’m constantly on the road.

DB: In an interview with you and Jukka, Jukka mentioned something about a cover from a legendary '90s band. Can you elaborate on that?

MV: Yes indeed, we recorded a song by one legendary Brazilian metal band for a bonus material. It’s from the album called ”Chaos A.D.” It is we, who are not as others.

DB: Do you, or anyone in Omnium Gatherum ever listen to people cover your songs that are uploaded on Youtube? If yes, what are your thoughts on them?

MV: Usually not, as when I have free time I prefer listening to some other music than songs made by me. (laughs.)

DB: Thank you so much Markus. Is there anything you would like to add?

MV:  See you soon on the tour folks, let’s have a metal party and enjoy some good American craft beers.

Special thanks to Markus for taking the time to chat. You can purchase "The Burning Cold" at and

No. Title Length
1. "The Burning" 3:16
2. "Gods Go First" 3:45
3. "Refining Fire" 3:50
4. "Rest in Your Heart" 4:21
5. "Over the Battlefield" 3:22
6. "The Fearless Entity" 1:29
7. "Be the Sky" 3:34
8. "Driven by Conflict" 3:33
9. "The Front Line" 4:18
10. "Planet Scale" 3:49
11. "Cold" 1:23
Omnium Gatherum - The Burning Cold 

Omnium Gatherum:
Markus Vanhala - Guitar
Jukka Pelkonen - Vocals
Tuomo Latvala - Drums
Aapo Koivisto - Keyboards
Joonas Koto - Guitar
Erkki Silvennoinen - Bass

North American Tour
w/ Dark Tranquillity, Amorphis, Moonspell

07.09.2018 New York (NY) - Gramercy Theater
08.09.2018 Montreal (QUE) - Corona Theatre
09.09.2018 Quebec City (QUE) - Imperial
10.09.2018 Toronto (ON) - Opera House
11.09.2018 Ft Wayne (IN) - Pierre's
12.09.2018 Detroit (MI) - Harpo’s
13.09.2018 Joliet (IL) - The Forge
14.09.2018 Minneapolis (MI) - The Cabooze
15.09.2018 Winnipeg (MA) - Park Theatre
17.09.2018 Edmonton (AL) - The Starlite Room
18.09.2018 Calgary (AL) - Dickens
19.09.2018 Vancouver (BC) - Rickshaw Theater
20.09.2018 Seattle (WA) - El Corazon
22.09.2018 Berkeley (CA) - The UC Theatre
23.09.2018 Anaheim (CA) - The Grove
24.09.2018 West Hollywood (CA) - Whiskey a Go Go
25.09.2018 San Diego (CA) - Brick By Brick
26.09.2018 Tempe (AZ) - Marquee Theatre
27.09.2018 Las Vegas (NV) - House of Blues
28.09.2018 Salt Lake City (UT) - Liquid joe's
29.09.2018 Denver (CO) - Herman’s Hideaway
01.10.2018 Dallas (TX) - Trees
02.10.2018 San Antonio (TX) - Rock Box
03.10.2018 Houston (TX) - Scout Bar
05.10.2018 Tampa (FL) - Orpheum
06.10.2018 West Palm Beach (FL) - Kelsey Theater
07.10.2018 Atlanta (GA) - The Masquerade
09.10.2018 Louisville (KY) - Diamond Pub and Billiards
10.10.2018 Durham (NC) - Motorco
11.10.2018 Baltimore (MD) - Soundstage
12.10.2018 Philadelphia (PA) - The Trocadero
13.10.2018 Worcester (MA) - The Palladium
14.10.2018 Clifton Park (NY) - Upstate Concert Hall

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