Review Summary: Dark, deliberate, gloomy, and beautiful, Above the Weeping World is simply a triumph.
"Rugged" is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the angular gruffness of Above the Weeping World
, a stunning portrait of oranges and browns that brings to life autumn, cool breezes, and vast terrains.
have developed over the years, bringing together disparate ideals from In Flames
, mixing in a little doomy goodness, and kicking out some of the best hate/mope sonic joy I've heard in quite some time. Despite the great Across the Dark
, they have not yet managed to top Above the Weeping World
, an ode to desperation and loneliness that will both tug at your inner emotional self, then kick you in the face for crying like a little bitch after the fact.
As deliberate in its pacing as a chess game, Above the Weeping World
sets up its game pieces effectively, and then knocks them down when deemed appropriate. The jumpy, catchy little number "The Killjoy" has an interlude to die for, for example. The one/two combo knockout of "The Gale" and "Mortal Share" continue to this day to be one of the best pairings of songs I've heard, with the opening raindrops puncuated with delicate piano all the way to the face-beating finale. "At the Gates of Sleep" and "In the Groves of Death" are the most expansive here, weaving in and out, delivering powerful passages and majestically written progressive melodic death.
Let's talk about the guitar work. I mean, let's seriously talk about the guitar work here. In a modern world where every 12 year old kid on Youtube can play "Satch Boogie", technical expertise has long fallen by the wayside in the realm of the six-string. As such, fretboard frenetics hold little value these days, and what it boils down to is the song, the story, and how the guitar tells the story with its solemn timbres and triumphant squeals. As storytellers, Insomnium
and their trusty axes have few peers: The scales feel familiar, the notes seem safe, but the way everything is put together is astoundingly solid and manages to wrench you deep within your soul, where any truly amazing album can reach. No instrument on this album is a show stopper, but the guitar work and song writing is better than I had thought possible in this exhausted genre, and leagues better than it has any right to be.
Gruff vocals, tight and energetic drums, bass that epitomizes "in the pocket", and guitarwork that is second to none, Insomnium
has created a monster of drudging proportions, and if you have any interest in the true power of well-written music, then give this baby a spin.