Review Summary: one of the finest albums melodic death metal has to offer
When one thinks of the perfect word to describe metal, quite a bit comes up. Aggressive, brutal, melodic, caustic, violent, brooding, sorrowful, melancholic, and atmospheric are all words that can accurately and descriptively describe metal. However, I can only think of one word that defines the entire genre as a whole. That word is intensity. You see, intensity can be pretty much anything. Intensity is quite literally when something gives you an extreme amount of emotion, adrenaline, or quite simply feeling. Metal, a genre of extremes, relies entirely on instilling as much of the desired emotion into the listener as possible. Whether it be hate, anger, depression, or even happiness, metal is an intense experience.
Niilo Sevanen – Vocals
Ville Friman – Guitars
Ville Vanni - Guitar
Markus Hirvonen - Drums
So you see, when I think of Insomnium, intensity is the only thing that really comes to mind. Simply put, listening to Insomnium can quite literally instill just about every emotion in the human body. Sorrowful, depressed, intimacy, happiness, despair, and anger are all present throughout. This unique talent of theirs is, in my opinion, displayed to its fullest extent in their sophomore album, Since the Day it all came down. Right at the very beginning of the album, you are hit with the most beautiful, intense music ever created. Insomnium are not content with a mere thin layer of melody, like most melodic death metal bands. They saturate you with it. From the very beginning of the album, they overwhelm you with it.
Since the day it all came down starts with the melancholic piano opener, Nocturne. It draws you in, and locks you tight in place. You can tell something is coming. You can feel it. The synth starts up and you can feel it swelling up like it’s about to burst. Slowly the song fades into nothing, and then bursts in with the fiery title track. Instantly, you are hit with an incredibly catchy, melodic riff. The drums then start up with a flurry of quick fills, the emotion is building up. Finally, the chorus hits, and the vocalist comes in. His growls, like the music, are saturated with melody. You can hear the emotion in his voice. Sorrow, Despair, and depression are all ever present. The song then continues to hit you with riff after beautiful riff, and the lyrics tell a depressing story of a man’s life falling apart, due to the tragic death of his love.
All of this is present in just two songs. The album has no weak spots. No time to allow you to catch your breathe. Consistently you are hit with the incredibly catchy, yet simple guitar work, unbelievably atmospheric synth work, intense drumming, everything comes together perfectly. The only flaw I can see is that the music can be repetitive, and that sometimes it overwhelms your senses too much.
If you think you are just going to have straight forward melo-death though, you are wrong. The band incorporates elements of doom and progressive metal into their music. The sorrowful, despairing atmosphere that the music portrays is all doom metal. The music is also filled with quick time changes, loads of synth work, storytelling, and even an epic 8 minute song, normally associated with progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater or Opeth. All these influences come together perfectly, and are not too prevalent, but not all together unnoticeable.
Insomnium are also known for their atmospheric acoustical interludes in every song. These interludes are placed perfectly, and do nothing to hinder the action. As a matter of fact, they increase the atmosphere and melody by quite a bit.
One of the things that impress me quite a bit with this album is that every song manages to sound homogeneous yet unique at the same time. While they all have a similar feel, each one has very different characteristics that set them apart. Daughter of the Moon has soft acoustical passages to accompany the incredibly melodic lead guitar. It creates a sorrowful, melancholic sound that is very reminiscent of doom metal. Bereavement, probably my favorite song on the album starts with an incredibly pretty opener, then continues to pummel your face with incredibly brutal riff work and breakneck speeds, letting up only for the chorus. Finally, Disengagement is a conglomeration of everything good in this album.
Conclusively, I recommend this album to anyone even remotely interested in melodic death metal, or metal in general. Also, if you have the pre-conceived notion that all extreme metal is mindless, heavy noise, this could very well change your mind.
The day it all come down
Daughter of the Moon
Death Walked the Earth