"Shadows of a Dying Sun" (Century Media Records; 2014)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is Insomnium's sixth studio disc. I found out about them when "Across The Dark" was released in 2009. They have a great sound and if you're a fan of melodic death metal then these guys are probably already on your list and get their share of heavy rotation. Insomnium also have doom metal churning on a few tracks of "Shadows Of A Dying Sun." I think the label of progressive music can also be attributed to Insomnium's sound of melodic death metal mainly because of the time signatures and extensive track time. Plus, the solos are often blistering and can last for minutes, given the tracks' time length.

You can cue this disc up and get plenty of melodic death metal but you can also get what some music is lacking today: guts. These guys don't just play their instruments, they create music that can be felt, not just in the heart but in your soul. The tracks that are longer than five minutes -- and there are a few -- really have time to develop and grow to a masterpiece of music. The solos, when slow, are very soulful. Anyone can cram notes into a stanza but it takes real talent to pull notes out of creativity and transfer them into music with depth.

There are just ten tracks on "Shadows Of A Dying Sun" and each one has its own sound and feeling. Some of them growl at you while some will pull you in. Insomnium have a great reach and you'll definitely feel their music more than you'll hear it.

Insomnium: Niilo Sevanen - vocals, bass; Ville Friman - guitars, vocals (clean); Markus Vanhala - guitar; Marcus Hirvonen - drums.

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"Since the Day It All Came Down" (Candlelight; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

As you might guess from my review of Insomnium's debut "In The Halls Of Awaiting," I was pleasantly surprised by the band's commingling of melodic death metal, doom, and general overall Scandinavian metal influences into a polished package. It's rare that a band's debut gets me truly excited about their sophomore effort, but Insomnium would prove to be an exception to that rule.

The big question was whether or not Insomnium would live up to my own self-developed hype or disappoint me. So, with excitement, I proceeded to listen to Insomnium's latest effort "Since The Day It All Came Down." I am happy to say that Insomnium's latest effort certainly does not disappoint and almost lives up to my own bloated anticipation.

With "Since The Day It All Came Down" Insomnium have moved closer to sounding like Opeth in the way that their style is progressive while still retaining melody and doom and death elements. Generally the pacing is a bit slower which accentuates the melodies even more and allows the vocals to stretch beyond mere death vocals to a more pleasing doom vocal style. Acoustic guitars also play a big part of the vibe and mood which is an expanded element of the band's maturing sound and style.

Much of the previously referenced stylistic comparison to In Flames is largely absent although the comparison to Amorphis remains to some extent. Insomnium are in the midst of creating a sound and style that is unique quite the achievement for such a young band. The only downside to "Since The Day It All Came Down" is that I still hear the influential remnants of too many bands to warrant awarding this album the coveted four chainsaws (it's not like I do that too frequently anyways). However, the future is very bright indeed for these Finnish metal upstarts.

"Since The Day It All Came Down" was produced by Insomnium and Jone Vaananen.

Insomnium is Nillo Sevanen on vocals and bass, Ville Friman and Ville Vanni on guitars, and Markus Hirvonen on drums. Keyboards by Jone Vaananen and Aleksi Munter. Cellos by Laura Naire.

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"In the Halls of Awaiting" (Candlelight; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I was beginning to think that the melodic death metal style was becoming worn out and seemingly stifled and repetitive with very little room for growth. I'll have to revise those thoughts after having heard Insomnium's "In The Halls Of Awaiting."

It was the artwork that first caught my attention. The hazy depiction of a nature scene instantly reminded me of the cover of the debut Borknagar disc; the band's logo implied that black metal was contained within as well. And then I saw the promotional sticker which states: "classic melodic Scandinavian metal akin to vintage In Flames and early Amorphis except even better." Needless to say I laughed out loud and generated a few curious stares in my direction.

Insomnium's mid-paced melodic death metal was a breath of fresh air as I'd gone on a listening binge of hyper-fast grindcore and death/thrash. So, you're asking yourself, does it really combine 'vintage In Flames and early Amorphis?' In a way it does, but without sounding derivative of either of those two titans. Many of the melody lines do seem to be extensions of Amorphis or In Flames, but rarely are they copies or an indistinguishable meld.

Insomnium mix electric guitars with acoustic guitars, well placed keyboards, and deep growling vocals. That's a fairly standard combination these days; however, it's the band's arrangements that really get them the attention they deserve. Insomnium mix up the tempos, riffing, and moods seeming at will while never repeating themselves. The mood is typically depressive (that would be echoes of Amorphis) and aggressive, upfront melodies (that would be echoes of In Flames). Also, for what it's worth, in both the music and vocals I hear hints of the style and sound perpetuated by the severely underrated Garden Of Shadows. The dirge-like "Shades Of Deep Green" also hints at Opeth's "Dirge For November."

Anyone who is remotely interested in the melodic death metal style would find something to like with Insomnium's "In The Halls Of Awaiting." Highly recommended!

"In The Halls Of Awaiting" was produced by Insomnium.

Insomnium: Niilo Sevanen on vocals and bass, Ville Friman and Ville Vanni on guitars, and Markus Hirvonen on drums. Keyboards were played by Varpu Vahtera.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Apr 2024 12:16:14 -0500 .