|Reviews - 2009|
One of the Finnish metal scene's most prominent members, Tuomas Saukkonen (Before The Dawn, Black Sun Aeon etc.), called Insomium "The coolest band from Finland." Good reason to take a closer look at the Joensuu-based band that I didn't know too well earlier. Interestingly, they just released a new record, entitled as "Across The Dark" and immediately, I grabbed the offered review - is Tuomas' judgment justified?
Well, the first thing that strikes is the atmospheric artwork that kinda reminds me of Porcupine Tree's "Deadwing", but the music behind the visual facade is entirely different. The artwork-issue just hints at the fact that in the Dark/Atmospheric corner of heavy music ideas slowly seem to be runnning out among visual artists. But let's focus on the music in here.
Insomnium play some kind of Atmospheric/Folkloristic Melodic Death Metal that is performed in a groovy and catchy way. One can definitely say that those guys -who also quite often incorporate acoustic interludes- have their own style. Sure, this kind of Metal first came up at the beginning of the 90's, by no one but the mighty Amorphis. Fans of the legendary "Tales From A Thousand Lakes"-era will welcome Insomnium with open arms, I guess.
Musically, the album is quite compact and the songs don't differ that much from each other. In fact, it makes it almost impossible to pick highlights on "Across The Dark". To me, there simply are no significantly outstanding songs in here. The album offers well-composed, folk-flavored Death Metal tunes all the time. Neither do the guys incorporate a "courageous" song that kind of breaks the frame nor do they have the ultimate anthem in here. "Weightened Down With Sorrow" that’s carried by beautifully sad melodies is quite a great tune as much as the clean vocal-flavored "The Lay Of Autumn". In fact, some more clean vocals would have made the album more exciting. The ones to be heard in here aren't outstanding though, but solid and they surely spice up the arrangements.
All in all I can say that this is good music, but -to close the circle concerning Tuomas Saukkonen-not as exciting as Before The Dawn who aren't that far away from Insomnium stylistically. The lack of clean vocal parts and a certain experimental attitude make the album kinda predictable. Insomnium stand for well-composed Folk Death Metal, but they aren't Finnish Metal's brightest star at least.
7 / 10
Hendrik Behnisch - 09.12.2009
Some bands find themselves in the lucky situation to hit the jackpot already with their second or even first release. Others, in contrast, are part of the scene for many years, have one album after another, people sort of talk about them, they have fans visiting their concerts, media-mentioning as well – and still, still they never really become children of paradise. To one of those acts you can definitely count Insomnium. Formed in 1997 in Joensuu, Eastern Finland, the four-piece has so far released two demos and three albums, played hundreds of gigs across Europe and America with big names as Katatonia or Amorphis and have never at any point provoked critic or delivered a bad band image. The guys among singer and bassist Niilo Sevänen kept moving steadily in the shadows of their Finnish colleagues, without ever really being one of the household names. This is definitely to change with the recent output "AcrossThe Dark" which does not only mean the band in its own development is pushed to a new level, but also they’re (finally) mixing it at the top.
Whereas Insomnium’s last three albums were all of good quality and offered good Melodic Death Metal, "Across The Dark" is of outstanding kind, a prime example of perfection and simply the new "poster child" for Finnish Metal. Insomnium were never dull, but somehow they failed to impress and set themselves apart from others on the long run. With "Across The Dark" they created a piece that is full of captivating songs, one better than the next, spellbinding tracks that tell a story of their own, melodies that capture the listener between headshakable groove and profound tenderness. Tunes that will stick to your head already after the first listening and that haven’t been embodied like this before. Jules Näveri’s (Enemy of the Sun, Profane Omen) additional vocals only crown what is perfect on its own.
The most significant thing about the album however is the feeling it can provoke in the listener. When closing your eyes to "Down With The Sun" you can feel the harshness of a Finnish winter night, a man trying to make his way through the fdark and cold forest, the branches weep while flapping onto each other; and Insomnium remind us again how real Finnish music has to sound like. All clichés of depression and darkness aside, the sadness and gravity this epic record is capable of bearing are of pure honesty and heartiness. And all that when I thought Finnish Melodic Death Metal was slowly facing a downturn…
Insomnium describe "Across The Dark" in their own words: "Bit of Folk Metal, pinch of Doom, some thrashing, a whole lot of timeless melodies and progressive twists and there you have it: ingredients of the masterpiece." I couldn’t have put it a better way.
10 / 10
Last Updated (Wednesday, 09 December 2009 20:40)
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