Review Summary: Insomnium have crafted their most diverse and complete album to date. Just about everything has been improved upon and the result is one of the best releases in their history.
When the press release for Insomnium’s fifth album, One for Sorrow, gushed about how diverse the album was and how it was ‘a new breath of versatility’, I was a bit skeptical. Don’t get me wrong, Insomnium are a great (and very consistent) melodic death metal band, but if there is one thing that they’ve never been accused of, it’s being diverse. The first song released from the album, “Unsung”, seemed to confirm that the talks of diversity were nothing more than hype. Upon first glance, “Unsung” didn’t really seem to feature anything that Insomnium hadn’t already beat to death years ago. It had the standard cyclical melodies, the token clean vocals and the generic backing riffs, but there were a few things that stood out, as well. The most immediate difference was that the death vocals seemed more powerful than on previous releases; lending a bit of aggression that the band had often lacked. Careful listening also revealed that the melodies were much more layered than the basic leads that made up most previous albums. After hearing the album in its entirety, it turns out that One for Sorrow really is a fairly diverse album (by Insomnium standards), as well as the first big stylistic leap in quite a long time.
A lot of the stylistic enhancements can be attributed to the increased emphasis on creating full, dense melodies that often rely on multiple layers to create the final product. This is generally achieved by intertwining two slightly different guitar leads over a subtle layer of keyboards that are also providing a variation on the same theme which, when combined, create one final uniform melodic lead. It’s not just the melodies that have become a bit more diverse and dynamic, but the songs themselves, too. There are very few instances (if any) on this album where a song will stagnate after the first few minutes. Throughout each track, there are generally a handful of different moods, tempos and melodies that lend each track an epic atmosphere and a stronger feeling of movement that never succumbs to the cyclical repetitiveness that sometimes plagued previous releases. This diversity is also what allows each song to maintain more of its own identity than past efforts. In the past, it seemed as though just about every song was played at basically the same speed, but that’s not the case anymore. The songs on One for Sorrow run the gamut from the serenity of “Decoherence”, to the standard moderate pace of “Unsung” to the quick tempos of “Song of the Blackest Bird” (which does seem to take some influence from a band with a similar song title). Overall, this breadth of diversity is a welcome addition that lends the album a replay-factor that was generally missing from previous releases.
Most fans were probably okay with Insomnium releasing variations of the same album over and over, but One for Sorrow proves that they have it in them to be much more ambitious without missing a step. Yes, the songs are still based around huge, hooky, melodies but they’ve grown into full-fledged, epic centerpieces that don’t suffer from the repetition that came with their more simplistic predecessors. The tempos, too, have been expanded to the point that each track can really stand on its own with an increased emphasis on speed, heavy riffs and dynamic shifts. About the only thing to not be improved ten-fold are the clean vocals which still feel tacked on and a bit throw-away, but they’re used so sparingly (three songs?) that they’re just about a non-issue. With the release of One for Sorrow, Insomnium have finally made the first big stylistic improvement to their sound, and with it have given their fans an album that will actually be surprising without losing its core foundation.
i might have to look into this i was expecting negative reception, but guess not!
I was expecting to write a negative or at least disappiointed review like I did for their last album, but they've stepped up. It's an album that will take a few listens to really let the dense melodies and transitional parts sink in.
i own everyone of their cd's and I couldn't even stand listening to this, it bore the hell out of my and I appreciate melo-death but i got a really generic feeling from this album
im getting no wow factor or any sense of progression, rather it now sounds like their trying to hard, i respect the band but this cd for me was a major dissapointment
You might be one of those people that really liked the instant, simple leads of the previous albums, then. The line "they're trying too hard" (spelling fixed to make things clearer) in your post seems to imply that you'd prefer the simple, cyclical formula.
"You might be one of those people that really liked the instant, simple leads of the previous albums, then. The line "they're trying too hard" (spelling fixed to make things clearer) in your post seems to imply that you'd prefer the simple, cyclical formula."
Thanks for the fix, I liked since the day it all came down. the track
"Disengagement" was imo their best song in all they have to offer.
I felt Since the Day it all came down had a lot of technicality in the composition department and that to me is more valuable from a musician's standpoint.
I was thoroughly moved by that album, I wish I could say the same about One for Sorrow
The instant simple leads on In the Halls did not move me, but I found it more enjoyable then the new one
I felt like Since the Day it All Came Down was the band being the one-trick pony that they've always seemed to be. Yeah, the leads were more complete than on In the Halls but they were still very repetitive and they weren't all that different from one another, IMO.