Review Summary: A nearly faultless metal album, very few can come close to this in terms of sheer emotion and melody.3 of 5 thought this review was well written
Recently, I reviewed As Night Conquers Day
by Autumn Leaves
and found it to be terrific example of some of the more melodic sides of death metal. They incorporated excellent bits of harmony along with the traditional brutality of unrelenting death metal. This, however, is an entirely different animal, showing nearly every possible quality that makes a metal album enjoyable and re-playable. Insomnium first caught my attention when their second album, Since the Day It All Came Down
, took me by storm with its furious title track incorporating flashy and emotional melodies. It sounded positively refreshing in a genre that I found to be cluttered with many different sounds with varying degrees of quality. Realizing Insomnium's great sound, I went and looked for anything else they had released. I then found Above the Weeping World
and listened, my jaw fell about as far as it could without cracking into several pieces. In short, this album is amazing...
From the start, the album hits you with an overwhelming sense of atmosphere and melody. The opening, melancholic instrumental, "The Gale" slowly crescendos with the quiet pitter-patter of rain and the piano until it is cracked open by twin guitarists, Ville Friman and Ville Vänni. Melodies soar as an ominous voice lets out the line, "When it rains, It pours like hell". The track has an eerie feel to it as it leads into the fantastic "Mortal Share". From then on, the album is saturated with amazing, harmonized leads, terrific acoustic sections, blasting drumming and demonic vocals from bassist Niilo Sevänen. "Mortal Share", "Drawn to Black" and "Change of Heart" may be three of the best tracks the band has churned out. All three are filled to the brim with emotion and darkness. These are not "emo" in the slightest sense, they are simply gut-wrenchingly expressive and contain some of the highest levels of musicianship I've seen in a death metal album. Rapid-fire drumming from Marcus Hirvonen penetrates through the moving guitar work though all of these songs. Just impeccable. "At the Gates of Sleep" comes up next and slows things down a bit, with a very doomy feel throughout its seven minutes and five seconds. Superb acoustic passages are featured in this song and it really adds in another element to this album.
Magnificent is the only way to describe the sixth track, titled "The Killjoy". It begins with an incredibly catchy, almost poppy intro and progresses into more epic and passionate material, perhaps coming across as the best song on the album, which is a hard statement to make. Flawless track. Speaking of statements, "Last Statement" is up next, incorporating the melodic riffs and thundering drumming and vocals we have come to expect from this album. It really gets terrific at the end, however, with an absolutely touching, high-pitched guitar riff and Nillo wailing "Don't forget me" like he is about to go away for eternity. It is so poignant and spectacular. "Last Statement" is yet another extremely strong track. "Devoid of Caring" continues with the same formula of incredibly melodic guitar licks. Especially note-worthy is the chorus, which stands out with a positively encompassing hook to it. The track ends with strings adding even more atmosphere. Closing out this adventure, is the long and winding "In the Groves of Death", which basically sums up the entire album into a ten minute, wonderful experience. Once again, nearly unmatched levels of melody and emotion infiltrate the listener to the very core, making each and every second enjoyable. This track does not grow boring, as many others of this length do, it keeps the listener captivated and amazed throughout its full entirety. A tremendous closer to a brilliant album.
As mentioned, Niilo's vocals consist of the occasional spoken word along with his thick, possessed death growl. Far and away the most brutal thing on the album, they give the sense of apocalyptic moods throughout many of the tracks. The ending of "Last Statement" is accented by his deep wails and makes it so much more convincing. The lyrics are doomish in style and are mainly accented with the feelings of sorrow and loss. However, as mentioned before, these lyrics are far from "I'm gonna slit my wrists and jump off a bridge". They are meaningful and enhance the overall sense of melody throughout the album. At times, Niilo's satanic roar may render some of the lyrics incomprehensible, but overall they are great and fill the album nicely.
Instrumentally, the two Villes, the guitarists, are the thing that most stand out, and wow, what a performance! The songs are utterly bursting at the rim with their gorgeous melodic harmonies and heavy undertones. Songs like "Mortal Share", "The Killjoy" and "Drawn to Black" are positively orgasmic throughout the majority of their lengths thanks to these two wizards. These two could possibly be the best tandem in melodic death when it comes to shear melody and harmonics. Just spectacular, overall. As another positive, Niilo's bass is audible throughout the album, contributing to the heaviness factor significantly. The production does a good job in bringing this album out in all of its true colours. Drumming duties are held by Marcus and he provides a typical yet solid performance behind the kit. Excellent double bass prowess is nearly a given in this genre and he passes that test with flying colours, adding in some great fills along the way as well. Instrumentally, one of the best albums I've heard in a while. Not to be missed.
Above the Weeping World
further solidifies Insomnium's position as one of the titans of the melodic death metal world. Enormously catchy, entirely accessible and heart-wrenchingly melodic, this album shows just about everything listeners want in a melodic metal album. The underlying heaviness, mainly provided by Niilo through his vocals and bass does work in its favor as well. The only noticeable con is the lack of variety of vocals, but really that is not that big of a deal considering the pros. if you're looking into the melodic death metal genre, or just the metal genre in general, this is one of the very best in recent years. Highly recommended, and one of the best albums of 2006. Above the Weeping World
gets a 4.5 out of 5.
The Whole Album is a stand out, but the tracks that most stick out are,
Drawn to Black
In the Groves of Death