Insomnium are at the forefront of the Finnish Melodic Death Metal scene, a title I'm sure nobody will debate. They are varied with their instruments, utilizing the Acoustic guitar and Piano a lot in their albums, combining these instruments with hauntingly somber melodies and ungodly deep vocals. I, like many others, was entranced by these songs, their melodies and ominous whispered passages floating through our hardened ears. I know that as soon as I heard this band play, I was hooked. I own all three of their albums, and each one of them is performed with the utmost quality, nothing lacking in any of their songs. But as I learned every song, I desired more. Then, one day, I came across one of their first demos, simply entitled "Demo '99". It contained 4 new songs which I had never heard before, and an amazingly clear production for a demo. It shows Insomnium as they were at their early stages, and they really haven't diverted from their original formula since, but as the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". That's exactly what Insomnium has done.
The guitars are as melodic as ever, always constantly weaving themselves around highly technical and fast guitar riffs, creating great and memorable moments. The intro riff to "Dying Chant" is exactly this, very melodic and amazingly catchy. If I worked at a label and i was to hear this riff I would be instantly hooked. The vocals on this album are less distorted, they show a more natural growl which fits the demo quite well. "Dying Chant" is a fast opener, and one of the best songs on this demo. "Vicious Circle Complete" begins with a more pounding riff, the drums prominently showing. The guitars overlap each other afterward, creating a cool sounding riff. It's great to see how Insomnium was capable of writing stuff like this so early in their career, it would easily fit in with any material from their current albums. "Vicious Circle Complete" has a nice bridge toward the end, calming things down in that natural Insomnium manner, before gradually bringing you back to the chaos.
"Unmourned" is quite an epic song, with the first verse showing you that right off the bat. The riffing is melodic and the vocals are full of sorrow and pain. About halfway through, the electric guitars are cut off abruptly to make way for a beautiful acoustic interlude, showing Insomnium's amazing skill at combining these two sounds, heavy and calm, over and over again. "Numen Divinium" has a catchy riff to begin it, getting you on your feet and headbanging within seconds. Around 4:00 is another epic section, with a great epic riff playing to the awesome drum beat, slowly building speed and getting you really into the song, a strong way to close the demo off.
This is a fantastic debut demo from Insomnium, if I heard this I would sign them immediately. The guitars are fantastic and the vocals are what you would expect from Melodic Death and then some, I really love his deep growls.
The best part about this demo though, is that it is totally FREE. Yes, you don't have to pay a cent to hear this. This is the link to the band's website where you can download this whole Demo. Trust me, you won't regret it.