Insomnium
Winter's Gate


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (188 Reviews)
September 24th, 2016 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Winter is here.

Even though they’ve never been as celebrated as “The Gothenburg Three”, Insomnium have always been a trusty band when it comes to melodic death metal. Throughout their career they have been churning out great albums that cover all feelings from solitude to inspiration with stirring intent. Based on a short story written by Niilo Sevänen (vocals, bass) about a group of Vikings who set out on a quest to find a fabled land north-west of Ireland during a harsh winter, “Winter’s Gate” marks the first album where Insomnium tread into native lands of experimentation by creating one epic 40 minute song.

When you read a book, there are often certain quotes that stand out from the surrounding text. These affecting quotes are the ones that you relate most to, the ones where you can find a piece of yourself within the words and the ones that are more than fiction; they are part of real life. The translation of this feeling on “Winter’s Gate” is that when you listen to the entirety of it, there are moments amongst the surrounding cold soundscapes that are more than just captivating- they bring a warm sense of completeness to the music and without this soaring moment, that part of the song just wouldn’t feel complete.

Such instances strike at various intervals. Between some acoustic passages and soothing atmospherics, Markus Vanhala executes an unexpected blizzard of melodies at 07:44. At 12:52 the characters of the story enter uncharted borders as Insomnium feature a tentative, proggy riff which initially serves as a build up to a unsatisfactory climax of slow clanging guitars but then, at 16:48, the real climax hits-albeit briefly but still just as moving.

However, due to the continuous flow of the album, these heightening moments become forgetful if they are not repeated- that’s the risk that you take creating an album that comprises of just one song. Much like Swallow The Sun’s “Songs From The North”, the hazard of “Winter’s Gate” is the colossal ambition of it. It has to be listened to in full in order for these moments to fully connect with you- if you simply skipped to the specific ‘bit-that-you-like’ then it comes across as unfulfilling. Furthermore, in contrast to the ambition of producing a (dead on) 40 minute song, the members of Insomnium rarely expand their style. The tone of the album is much like the rest of Insomnium’s albums. Niilo Sevänen’s growls have barely changed but just like the harsh environment that the lyrics depict, Vanhala avoids sounding repetitive or tedious by continuing his swerves from giant tremolo hooks to sombre acoustics. This dynamic approach is a welcome relief due to the run time of this single song as he avoids sounding repetitious or tedious.

One of the biggest similarities to Insomnium’s past work is that they have not lost the ability to create incredible introductions. The first 6 minutes is nothing but an adrenalized ride that commences the journey while the conclusion of “Winter’s Gate” is just as fulfilling, if not more. Pummelling tremolo riffs and blast beats thunder alongside Sevänen’s icy growls in the final minutes of the song creating an aura of grandeur that Insomnium have not summoned in a very long time. In these final moments, Insomnium show us that they can be the untouchable masters of melodic death metal that they proved to be a decade ago.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
September 24th 2016


3148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, pos. After a couple listens, this reflects my thoughts on the album pretty well.

ThatDude
September 24th 2016


53 Comments


Pos. By listening to the full album, I feel exactly the same as you said: this all feels better and natural in one go, and not by separated tracks. I did not like the fact that this album had no single, but in the end its better that way.

PortalofPerfection
September 25th 2016


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

They come back around to a few different parts as the album progresses. The second half of Part 6 and the first half of Part 7 have pieces of several other earlier parts in them, changed up just slightly.



This really solidified the completeness of the album for me.

Panzerchrist
September 25th 2016


365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As an Insomnium fan, these are my exact sentiments. Glad you posted this. Pos'd.



Panzerchrist
September 26th 2016


365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

On a side-note, is anyone feeling a little misled by the song structures? The band implied that it was one long song, but my download came with the whole track divided into seven movements. Idk about anyone else but I went into my audio editing software and joined them all back up.

BallsDeep
September 26th 2016


4645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^Im not quite fastidious enough to bother doing that but I was expect a single track ala The crimson. Not sure why they would choose to split it up anyway

PortalofPerfection
September 26th 2016


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I probably have no idea what I'm talking about but maybe it's easier on the servers of the music streaming services to be broken up...?



I mean it still plays continuous basically.

Shadowmire
September 26th 2016


4565 Comments


it's for people with short attention spans, same reason artists ever do this crap

Panzerchrist
September 26th 2016


365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Crimson II did that as well (though it was the label, not Swano), and I immediately went back and recut it as well. It's like they don't have enough faith in their audience to finish it. That's literally the point.

Shadowmire
September 26th 2016


4565 Comments


yeah

PortalofPerfection
September 26th 2016


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That's right, my Crimson II is like that also. Never paid much attention. I don't think it's a big deal, it doesn't seem to have affected the execution here. A couple of the "track" breaks are obvious but most aren't.

Itwasthatwas
September 29th 2016


1448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This one is the correct review

BigPleb
September 29th 2016


54041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Solid album, meanders in parts but damn the flow is impeccable.

thegreywind
October 10th 2016


20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In love with the 2nd half of the album, too good.

SacredSerenity
October 10th 2016


673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have a weakness for concept albums, great record

RexKwonDoCarrey
October 11th 2016


19 Comments


concept albums are the best i will be looking into this one.

trilogique21
February 6th 2018


1837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is great can't believe i missed this

Hawks
February 6th 2018


57354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[2]

Digging: Pale - EP

artiswar
February 6th 2018


4061 Comments


This is good. Much more consistent than their last batch of albums which have been very hit-or-miss.

Hawks
February 6th 2018


57354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This band used to be hit or miss in general for me. Love them all hard now, grew on me a shit load.



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