Christopher Robin: A trip down nostalgia road

By Peter Partoza

Disney fans have been buffeted with live-action remake and sequel after sequel of classic movies, such as “Toy Story,” “Cars,” “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and countless others. But with “Christopher Robin,” a nice change of pace has hit the cinema scene.  

Christopher Robin tells the story of an adult Christopher who has left the Hundred Acre Woods and has been through the rollercoaster ride of growing up. Those who grew up with “Winnie the Pooh” are pulled in, easily identifying themselves with Christopher Robin as they watch him go through schooling, falling in love, going to war, and starting a family, all within a brief montage in the opening portion of the movie.  

The movie cuts to a view of Christopher Robin, now a workaholic with a strained relationship with his family. Trouble at work adds to Christopher’s stress and begins to push him further and further away from his family, causing him to send them to his childhood cottage for the weekend as he works.

As Christopher aged and grew, Pooh eagerly awaited the return on the other side.

Coming to the movie’s present time, Pooh discovers that he can’t find his friends one day. He decides to venture through the door Christopher Robin would always come through to visit and play.

As Pooh comes through the door he enters our world and through story driving coincidence, Christopher Robin and Pooh reunite.

After realizing that the tree Pooh came through no longer has a way back to the Hundred Acre Wood, Christopher is propelled into a journey to his childhood home, all the while carrying the lighthearted Pooh with him.

As the movie goes on, Christopher Robin’s adult cynicism and stresses begin to clash with Pooh’s childlike wonder and simplicity, making it a recipe ripe for not only comedy and cartoon antics but also somber moments that bring the viewers back to the idea that they are no longer children.

As strange as this sounds, this movie was not made for children. Hear me out. Children being brought to this movie will enjoy the simple comedy that Pooh and friends bring, but the real meat of this movie is the idea of when a child such as Christopher Robin grows up.

It grips those who have already gone through that transition, playing on the heartstrings of those who miss a simpler time. If I had to say one message that this movie had, it would be that “it’s never too late to be a kid again.” “Christopher Robin” is a feel-good movie, which, if only for a short time, will bring you away from the negativity in the world and leave you feeling better than before.

Entertainment Featured Features Reviews

Internship Experience: Fixing the Pilot Shortage at the Highest Level

By James Ritchey

This past summer, I had the opportunity to live and work in Washington, D.C. through an internship program offered by Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings.

I, along with a few other Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp (AFROTC) cadets from around the nation, had the opportunity to work at and immerse myself in the Pentagon, working with a variety of different departments within Headquarters Air Force.

Despite being a Global Security and Intelligence Studies major, with interests in foreign and operational policy, I was placed in the Aircrew Crisis Task Force (ACTF), a special organization created to tackle one of the largest hurdles facing the current Department of Defense: the shortage of pilots and other aircrew members, especially at higher levels.

The ACTF is a special “matrixed” organization under the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (HAF/A3). Because of the complexity (and hopefully temporary status) of the problem, officers from around the Pentagon worked together to develop an actionable, lasting plan to ensure the Air Force maintains proper personnel levels for the coming decades.

I worked with officers from A5/8, the department for Strategic Plans and Requirements, A1, the department for Personnel, A3T, the department for training and readiness, and many others from a variety of backgrounds and skills. My office was headed by a one-star general, and consisted mostly of officers who had been in the Air Force for over 15 years. As a cadet who has not even been in the active Air Force yet, it was somewhat daunting to be around such high-level officers on a daily basis. However, I was welcomed with open arms, and quickly assigned tasks to complete.

While I at first did not have much interest in the subject or any skill in operational research, I was quickly on-boarded and put to work in developing budget proposals, contract requirements, and idea solicitation. On many occasions, I was able to participate in meetings regarding potential future programs for developing pilots, many of which would involve AFROTC detachments and aviation schools such as Riddle and the University of North Dakota. Despite my lack of experience in the operational Air Force, I was productive within the ACTF and actively helped develop solutions for the near and distant future.  

Along with working on solutions for the aircrew crisis, I also had the opportunity to branch out into some other areas of the Department of Defense. I had the opportunity to go to the State Department and sit in on negotiations for foreign weapon sales of American aircraft, as well as take flights in F-16D and KC-135 aircraft at nearby Joint Base Andrews. The USAF’s Light Attack (OA-X) experiment was a critical matter as well, and I had the opportunity to work on budgeting and congressional proposals for the acquisition and stand-up of its potential future fighter squadrons and Formal Training Units.  

The Pentagon itself is a massive building, featuring a multitude of shops, food courts, and people incredibly important to national security. I had the opportunity to meet several of these people, including USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, Vice Chief of Staff General Stephen Wilson, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Lieutenant General Mark Nowland. It is rare to see anyone below the rank of Major (O-4) in the building at all, and even rarer to see anyone below Captain (O-3). As a cadet in that world, the experience and connections I made were unparalleled. 

AFROTC/ROTC Diversions Featured Features News

Music Review

By Peter Partoza

Another week, another slew of new music coming out from artists across the spectrum. Logic is back with a brand new single, and he’s not holding anything back. “The Return” features the same aggressive unopposed lyric style he’s built his career on, and yes, he’s still got it.

Dropping names on big brands like Nike and Audi he takes a no-holds-barred approach, calling out the music business for how it still seems to deny him his place in the franchise and instead lumps him in with the mumble rap crowd.

A fast flow and a driving beat paired with powerful (and explicit) lyrics ensures he plants another flag in the rap genre, calling out other artists to push against the current rap trends and bring more types of his style of lyrically based music. Logic recently announced a new album coming soon, “Young Sinatra 4,” set to release Sept. 28, so keep an eye out.

Sliding over to the rock scene, Bring Me The Horizon’s new song “MANTRA” brings back the group after a two year hiatus.

Filled with resonating electric guitar, plenty of cymbal crashes, and the same pseudo-electric style they’ve shown off in the past, “MANTRA” brings a new story to the group, starting the song off with “Do you want to start a cult with me?”

The remainder of the song continues with lyrics speaking to those who feel like they are drifting through life with no purpose, stuck in a rut, and those who are “chanting that same old MANTRA.” No word as of yet on when the next album from them will drop, but with the release of this new song and its music video, you can expect more in the coming months.

Moving away from the more mainstream artists, a new face is making his way onto the scene. Alec Benjamin is an up and comer and his new song “Death of a Hero” features an acoustic and ambient tone with melodic lyrics.

The song laments the “death of a hero,” i.e. the moment you move out of childhood wonder and begin to see the world and people as they truly are without the veil of perfection attributed to icons. This is a good song for those rainy days or times where everything just feels too real. Benjamin is a Phoenix native and has released multiple other singles, and can be found on major music streaming and downloading websites.

There is no word yet on whether we can expect an album or not from the new kid on the scene, though, so fans will have to wait with bated breath.

Audio Featured Features Reviews

Sports Update

By James Ritchey

Volleyball (6-1) 

24 Aug (Home) 

ERAU 3 – 1 Hope International 

ERAU hosted and played in its own Volleyball tournament, playing Hope International in the first two of its three games. In both matches, the Eagles came out on top with the same final score. The two teams played very evenly in the first set, but the Eagles stayed ahead by a few points for most of the set. HIU surged ahead late in the game, tying the score at 17 and pushing forward to take a 23-25 win. The second set played out similarly, however this time, it was HIU who led for most of the set. The Eagles stayed within two points of the Royals for nearly the entire game, even leading briefly 14-13 before again falling slightly behind. An HIU attack error tied the game at 18-18, and ERAU took that advantage and ran with it, taking the lead on a kill by Erin Clark. HIU stayed within striking distance until two attack errors gave the Eagles a 23-20 lead. Errors on both sides gave the Eagles a 25-23 win to tie the match.  

The momentum from the second set gave ERAU confidence in the third set. After holding a small 10-9 lead, the Eagles scored seven straight points to give them a nearly insurmountable lead; they took a 2-1 match lead with 25-16 set win. In the fourth set, the Eagles started strong, pushing ahead to a 13-6 lead early in the set. However, the Royals then fought back, taking a 18-19 lead to give the Eagles a scare. ERAU then responded with six straight points from causing five HIU errors and a kill from Erin Clark. A final kill from Caylee Robalin finished the match with a 25-20 win.  

After a short break, both teams returned to the court for an immediate rematch. The Eagles returned dominant, capitalizing on several HIU errors to take a 20-8 lead. A few more kills and ERAU found themselves up 1-0 in the match from a 25-12 win. In the second set, the Royals were able to find their bearing again and put up a fight. HIU went up 7-15 over ERAU, and the Eagles were unable to recover. HIU tied the match with a 17-25 win. The third set saw the Eagles back in their groove, going ahead 10-3 to begin. ERAU kept the pressure on HIU, and maintained a consistent lead, finally taking the third set 25-20. In a tumultuous fourth set, the Eagles found themselves down 2-11, their largest deficit of the day. However, in the coming plays, the Eagles maintained a good defensive effort and cut down that deficit. A series of aces, blocks, and kills brought the Eagles back into the game, tying at 15-15. A hard fought battle on both sides ensued, and the Royals and Eagles found themselves tied at 24-24. Kills from Erin Clark and Caylee Robalin sealed the victory for the Eagles, and pushed them into the second day of the tournament.  

25 Aug (Home) 

ERAU 3 – 0 Arizona Christian 

In the last game of their home tournament, the Eagles comfortably swept the ACU Firestorm. In the first set, ERAU took an early lead and maintained a superior level of play, taking the set 25-16. In the second set, the Eagles expanded a 11-7 lead by scoring six straight points to stifle any attempt of an ACU comeback. A kill by Erin Clark and a series of service errors by the Firestorm gave the Eagles a 25-17 set win. Without succumbing to overconfidence, the Eagles ensured a match win with a solid performance in the third set. Scoring four straight points early in the set to take a 5-2 lead, ERAU was clearly superior as the set progressed. Late in the game, the Eagles scored seven straight points to take a 23-9 lead. An ACU service error and a kill from Caylee Robalin sealed the victory with a 25-12 set win. Erin Clark led the Eagles with 13 kills and 14 points, while Caylee Robalin earned 11 kills and 11.5 points.  

Women’s Soccer (1-1) 

20 Aug (Home) 

ERAU 4 – 1 Midland 

Women’s Soccer kicked off their season facing highly-ranked opponent Midland University. The Eagles, ranked 14th in the nation, looked to build off their highly successful 2017 season against Midland, who had received votes in the latest NAIA Top 25 poll. The Warriors were the first to strike, scoring an unassisted goal in the 25th minute. However, Breanna Larkin tied the match 1-1 late in the first half off an assist from Sierra Vicente, capitalizing on one of ERAU’s many offensive pushes. With under three minutes left in the first half, the Eagles received a penalty opportunity to potentially take the lead, but were unable to convert, and the halftime score remained 1-1. The Eagles had 14 shots in the first half, compared to the Warriors’ six. That offensive momentum paid off in the second half, as Maggie McElrath scored early in the half from an assist from Riley Martinson. Later, Riley Martinson ensured an ERAU victory by scoring two goals in less than two minutes; Ashley Askevold assisted both. The Eagles finished the game with 26 shots, while Midland had only nine. Midland also garnered 13 fouls, including two yellow cards.  

24 Aug (Home) 

ERAU 0 – 1 Eastern Oregon 

Eastern Oregon, ranked 25th nationally, barely escaped with a win over ERAU in their second game of the season. Both teams put forth several offensive drives in the first half but none resulted in a goal. ERAU goalkeeper Caitlyn Aaron had three saves in the first half. Early in the second half, EOU managed to break the stalemate and score. However, this only inspired ERAU to work harder and put forth even more shots and offensive pushes. Unfortunately, by the time the 90 minutes were up, the Eagles never found the back of the net. ERAU had 18 shots overall to EOU’s 10.  

Men’s Soccer (0-1) 

17 Aug (Home) 

ERAU 2 – 4 Ottawa University  

The ERAU Men’s Soccer team opened their season against in-state rivals Ottawa University. The Eagles began the match well, as Simon Jensen gave them a 1-0 lead within the first three minutes off an assist from David Bates. The Spirit responded in kind, but ERAU goaltender David Hutto was able to make two saves to stall the OU counterattack. However, they were still able to tie the match with a goal at 29:46. About 10 minutes later, Mason Laaksonen returned the lead to the Eagles with a goal off an assist from Sergio Montero. The Eagles went into halftime leading 2-1, and returned eager to maintain their lead. A defensive struggle ensued as the second half kicked off, with both sides struggling to put together a solid offensive effort. About 21 minutes into the half, OU managed to tie the game on an unassisted goal. About two minutes later, they found the back of the net again and took the lead. The Eagles attempted to lock down their defense, playing a much more physical game, resulting in ERAU committing several fouls. With just 20 seconds left in the match, the Spirit scored yet again to cap off their victory. Both teams ended the match with similar statistics, each having 14 shots, eight shots on goal, and five corner kicks.  

Featured Features Sports

Washington high school students tour Prescott campus

By Isabelle Meboe
Special to Horizons

Editor’s note: Raisbeck Aviation High School (RAHS) is a public school next to the Museum of Flight (MoF) in Seattle. Western Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is an enthusiasts’ club hosted within the MoF itself, offering high-school level students from the West Coast up to five credits of aerospace-centered college curriculum. Both organizations send select students to attend a multi-day Embry-Riddle Prescott tour every summer. Meboe was one of these students. 

The most impressive aspect of the ERAU tour this year was not the propulsion lab or the flight simulators. What stood out most was the sense of family and true passion that each student and staff member demonstrated.  

This is clearly seen at all levels. Dr. Frank Ayers, ERAU Prescott Chancellor, took time out of his schedule to have lunch with our group. “The best part of my job is my daily interaction with our students,” said Ayers. “I love to share in their successes, to see their projects take shape. My wife Debbie and I live on campus, and we take the time to get to know all of our students personally.” 

“ERAU seems very focused on what its students need to learn in order to fulfill jobs later on,” according to RAHS sophomore Natalie Briscoe, who went on the trip. “Professors and students are able to interact and get to know each other on a personal level; they clearly want the best for their students,” she observed. 

ERAU made us feel at home instantly, as if we were already living there and not high school students. Everyone showed a true curiosity for what we want to do with our lives, asked questions about our studies, and showed some serious Eagle hospitality. 

On the second day, Dr. Krishna Sampigethaya of the Cyber Intelligence and Security Lab (CIS) postponed his flight to Seattle to present us a detailed and interesting informational session about CIS. We were impressed with the investment of current faculty in our group and their above-and-beyond efforts to familiarize us with the school. 

In the recess between lunch and our AXFAB tour on the third and last day of the trip, two wandering students stopped to greet us. Upon learning that we had a spare ten minutes, they voluntarily toured us around as much of the building as they could, answering our questions until our official tour guide arrived.  

There was a noticeable balance of opportunity and responsibility at ERAU radiating from both the students and the professors. All of our tour guides showed enthusiasm and respect while presenting us their home. 

Though the campus has a few key focus areas for many in the student body, tour guides made an effort to show everything ERAU has to offer. “They made sure to touch on all aspects of the school and didn’t focus on one subject. They made sure everyone was included,” said RAHS sophomore Max Welliver.  

In addition, our tour guides gave us a depth of experience that’s not found everywhere. “Most colleges just introduce you to the engineering lab,” said RAHS senior Heidi Yagen, “whereas Embry-Riddle hands you earmuffs and says ‘Welcome to our lab, care to watch a demonstration?’” 

The hands-on aspect of the school was taken to the next level for us; we got up close and personal with a machine-gun sounding propulsion system and flew Cessna 172s over Arizona. 

“Students who attend RAHS thrive in a rigorous academic environment, and ERAU is a natural progression for those who want to continue that style of learning,” said the Assistant Director of Regional Admissions, Jennifer Borge. Yagen agreed: “I loved the fact that it was RAHS in college form.” 

We students from RAHS and WAS appreciated the focus and duration of the tour experience. “That increased the amount of detail that could be added to virtually every part of the trip,” said RAHS senior Evan Grilley, “whether it be the campus tour, talking with the current students, or just getting a handle on the atmosphere of the university itself.” 

We have so much appreciation for our ERAU student tour guides: seniors Allie Brown (Aerospace Engineering), Ryan O’Connor (Aeronautical Science and Captain of the 12-time national champion Golden Eagles Flight Team), and Moritz Wienke (Aviation Business Administration, AFROTC, and RAHS alum), as well as John Moore (Admissions Staff). Having them on hand to answer all of our questions was incredibly special. 

Meeting successful and connected students from a high-quality university in person was extremely encouraging and made the thought of college more attainable for those of us feeling the pressure to make plans for our higher education. 

“Nothing makes me happier than seeing the students that I’ve been working with (for one, two, three, or even four years) make their dream of attending ERAU come true,” said Borge. 

Final Approach

Column of Whatever

By John Mills
Diversions Editor

It is always a challenge when I sit down to write this column, because I never know for certain what I want to talk about. This week, I’m sitting down to write this after its due because I completely lost control of my schedule this week, so that doesn’t help matters much.

But it does give me a fairly good topic to talk about—and that’s how to manage stress when you have more obligations than time seems to allow.

Junior and senior engineers are thinking one of two things right about now. Either, “I figured this out a year ago, what’s the big deal”, or “oh god, everything is on fire, please help.” A lot of people on this campus have, whether by necessity or simply good luck, how to manage their lives when everything is on fire. I sort of have.

Most of the time, regardless of how much I have to do, I find the time to knuckle down, get it done, and be ok. Sure, there’s stress, but its like dishes in your sink.

You know it’s there, and you should handle it, but the world isn’t going to end if you put it off for another few hours while you finish something up. Then sometimes, you have stress like the dishes in your sink inexplicably caught fire, and you need to handle it NOW.

I had a dishes on fire scenario approximately an hour before writing this when I realized I had to write it and two other articles that were due the day before. Oh, and I had blocked out the time I spent writing these for other, unrelated work.

Suddenly my plans for the day went  out the window as I had to spend an hour and a half writing what I hadn’t accounted for. It was not a comfortable feeling.

So what is the solution in cases like that. Well, first, put out the fire. In my case, I had a bit of slack that I didn’t want to use up, but was forced to out of necessity. So, in this case, putting the fire out meant writing the articles I thought were due in a week, including this column. But what if you can’t put out the fire on your own?

Well, things get more complicated. The first task is to calm down, because you can’t fix something if you’re panicking. I realize that telling someone to calm down is pretty much the exactly opposite way to get them to calm down, but that’s too broad a topic for a 500 word column.

Regardless of how you get yourself to be able to think rationally about something, you need to figure out priorities. Sometimes, you just need to let those dishes burn for a little while while you go find a fire extinguisher. Okay, the metaphor is breaking down a little, but the point is this: There will be times when you cannot possibly get everything you are obligated to get done, done.

When this happens, prioritize, hope you have some slack somewhere, and knuckle down and get to work. It will be over one way another soon enough, you just have to weather the storm.

Final Approach

The “Nature” of Your Health

By Justin Hawkersmith
Counselor and Outdoor Enthusiast

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”  

– Henry David Thoreau (Walden). 

For a long time, we’ve intuitively known that going outside can have a positive effect on us: mentally, physically, and emotionally. We may see updates via social media of a friend hitting the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail to “find themselves.” Some of us may even remember parents kicking us outside when we were younger to “get some fresh air” (with the underlying message of “get out of my hair”) and enthusiastically or reluctantly going along with it. However, research is starting to back this up too. 

A possible link has emerged between increases in obesity, diabetes, and ADHD symptoms and lack of outside time. Another study suggests a relationship between increased levels of anxiety and depression in children and a disconnection from nature. 

Part of the problem lies in that our relationship to the natural world has changed.  It’s estimated that human beings spend close to 90 percent of our time indoors. Part of that’s due to how society has changed: cars instead of bimodal transportation (legs), sitting in offices instead of working outside, etc. Technology has played a huge role in this change as well with smartphones and 24/7 accessibility redefining entertainment and being “plugged in.” 

So how do we “plug in” instead to the natural world? You can go big and hit the trails close to home (the Peavine Trail, Granite Mountain, and Thumb Butte Trail 33 to name a few) or “branch out” and mountain bike in Sedona’s Oak Creek area or head up Flagstaff’s Humphrey’s Peak to scale Arizona’s highest peak. But getting outside doesn’t have to look like that. It could be taking a walk across campus, reading a book outside, rock climbing in the Dells, or finding that perfect hammock-worthy spot to chill. Make your outdoor experiences your own! 

For more ideas, check out:

Or Check Out all the Clubs/Organizations on Campus Geared to the Outdoors! 

Statistics provided by “Using Nature as a Therapeutic Partner” by Lindsey Phillips        

Featured Features News

Club Spotlight: World4Women

By Peter Partoza

There’s an up-and-coming club on campus looking to make a difference in the world. Seeing that companies with equal numbers of men and women often succeed in business, World4Women was created in 2016 in the hopes of helping women and girls find a foothold in the competitive world of business.  

The club, headed by Associate Professor Karen Meunier, has one mission: “To advance women professionally through networking and mentoring.” The club has three main avenues of assistance: mentorship, micro-lending, and networking. Mentorship helps local young women by providing volunteers from within the club to visit local high schools.

These volunteers help with tutoring and attend talking groups, which provide a listening and understanding ear to whatever problems or questions the students have.

The club also seeks out scholarships to assist local university students in finding what may be completely unknown and unclaimed scholarships meant for women. Indeed, perhaps the most defining trait of the club is its pursuit of micro-lending.

By coming together and fundraising, on top of being a non-profit, the club seeks to send out small loans in order to help pay for a girl’s education in foreign countries.

These loans can help to pay the price of schooling for that single individual all the way up until graduation, while other larger loans assist women in starting up business. Members of the club can expect to help in many fundraisers throughout the semester.

The key to World4Women’s networking success is their Pechakucha series. Pechakuchas are a Japanese form of presentation that includes multiple speakers and generally revolve around a theme such as art, science, philosophy, or culture.

Presentations consist of 20 different slides, with each slide allowing only 20 seconds for the presenter to speak. This form of presentation condenses topics, requiring a presenter to deliver their information quickly while maintaining coherency.

These get-togethers provide a networking opportunity after the presentations, with local leaders mingling and discussing a whole spectrum of subjects all while being provided food and drinks.

World4Women is open to all students and will host meetings on a bi-weekly basis.  Their next upcoming event, the Fall Pechakucha, will be held at The Raven Café in downtown Prescott on Sept. 26 from 7 to 9 P.M.  


Heller 1/72 De Havilland Vampire FB.5 Model Kit

By Noa Brown

Although a rather old kit, the Heller De Havilland Vampire FB.5 is still a fun, quick build. The airplane recreated in this kit was the second jet fighter manufactured in Great Britain in the 1940’s.

The Vampire was then exported to many different countries including France and Sweden.

Despite its age, the parts were very well molded and didn’t show much flash. The interior detail was very basic and was painted with flat black and given a chipped effect using a silver pencil.

To make the model a little more interesting, a pilot figure from an Airfix kit was placed in the cockpit. The figure was painted with a silver helmet and a green flight suit.

The assembly of the airplane exterior was rather simple. The fuselage came in two halves that were glued together.

Before gluing the halves together, birdshot pellets were placed inside the nose to move the model’s center of gravity forward.

The wings fit snugly into the fuselage, and the two tail booms were separate parts that were attached both to the trailing edges of the wings and to the horizontal stabilizer.

Following assembly, a putty was needed to smooth out any gaps between the parts. The canopy was then masked using Tamiya masking tape and an Exacto knife before being placed on the airplane. 

Attaching the landing gear was rather difficult compared to the rest of the build. There were no clear attachment points for the gear doors and the gear legs were difficult to line up properly. To make matters worse, the pellets in the nose were not enough to get the model to rest on its nose wheel. 

With all parts of the airplane in place, the model was pre-shaded with flat black paint on its panel lines. The base coat used was Alclad aluminum paint and had an amazing metallic finish to it. However, in the areas where putty was used, there was a major change in the paint’s texture despite having sanded the putty extensively beforehand. 

The decals used on the model were for the French air force. They were from a set that came out of the box.

Despite the backing sheet having turned yellow, the decals held together perfectly well and were not discolored in any way.  They were placed on the model using micro-setting and micro-solvent solutions.

To conclude, this kit was an enjoyable build. Construction was very simple with only small amounts of work going into detail or assembly. This kit would be good for a beginner or for anyone wanting a fast simple weekend build! 

Diversions Featured Features Student Interest

Album Review: “The Burning Cold” by Omnium Gatherum

By John Mills
Diversions Editor

At least two albums released on Aug. 31. The bigger of the two was Eminem’s “Kamikaze.” The one that caught my attention was Finnish melodic death metal band Omnium Gatherum’s “The Burning Cold.”

The Burning Cold does a lot to be more appealing to people who might not be completely sold on the melodic death metal category, and is a thoroughly enjoyable album all the way through.

The “Burning Cold” opens with a purely instrumental track, “The Burning.” As an opening track, it establishes both the tone and some of the commanding chord progressions that follow throughout the album.

The track also sets the stage for what is a heavily instrumental album. Vocals are certainly present, but as is the case with a lot of non-American melodic death bands, understanding the lyrics is a secondary factor to the overall enjoyment of the music.

After its instrumental opening, the next two songs, “Gods Go First” and “Refining Fire,” are both high energy tracks, filled with expansive drums, driving lead guitar, and steady bass work.

Lead vocalist Jukka Pelkonen does not disappoint either, delivering a strong performance, growls and all. After these two header tracks, the album settles into a bit of a more defined groove with “Rest in Your Heart,” a track that echoes the opener “The Burning” in a lot of good ways.

“The Burning Cold” has a greater use of synthesizers and electronic influences than one usually finds in melodic death metal.

However, thanks to some excellent mixing, it blends well into the rest of the instrumental work. The guitar, bass, and drums still take center stage, and the electronic work functions as a pleasant accent rather than a defining trait.

However, compared to bands like Amorphis or Dark Tranquility, the presence is still noticeable.

Standout tracks of the album have to be “Over the Battlefield,” “Be the Sky,” and the “Frontline.”  All are powerful, driven tracks, but stand out for their pacing, composition, and follow the themes of the album while standing as their own tracks.

Strong vocals dominate these tracks, with that special blend of death growls and normal lyricism that just isn’t found in American bands.

The best praise I can give the album is that each song flows together without getting lost in the middle. It’s pretty common for good metal albums—especially melodic death metal with its emphasis on melody and flow—to still only have one or two standout tracks.

That’s the normal, and Omnium Gatherum breaks the normal in a full-bodied embrace of the best aspects of the genre.

“The Burning Cold” is probably one of the best albums of the genre this year, and a contender for one of Omnium Gatherum’s best.

It is available on Spotify, Google Music, and Youtube. If you’re looking for your next metal fix, give Omnium Gatherum a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Entertainment Reviews