Insomnium
Argent Moon


3.5
great

Review

by DarkNoctus USER (46 Reviews)
September 17th, 2021 | 42 replies


Release Date: 09/17/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: disconnected, all alone

Finnish melodic death metal band Insomnium clearly weren't fond of the idea of leaving anybody waiting after the critically lauded 'Heart Like a Grave' - a desolate, depressing and atmospheric take on their signature sound. With as much emphasis on creating soundscapes akin to the landscapes of Finland as any form of aggression, you'd be forgiven for thinking 'Argent Moon' would carry that success on - you'd be half right. As much as it's no massive stylistic departure for the band, you'd be forgiven for noticing a few key differences in focus.

As eager as Insomnium are to admit 'Argent Moon' isn't a permanent direction for the band, it's certainly one they've leaned towards for a while. It isn't too dissimilar to anything the band has done before; Indeed, the hallmark melancholy, guitar harmonies and thoughtful atmospheres are comfortingly here in droves. It mirrors the cold and distant tones of their last effort 'Heart Like a Grave' quite faithfully. Those with a keen ear and long-time follows may notice something eerily missing, and you'd be right - and that's the lack of songwriting credit from Ville Friman and it shows in the material. This explains the stylistic shift away from fluid, energetic riffing to a much larger emphasis on reverby, expansive atmosphere where in the past these to elements felt more gracefully intertwined.

Naturally, the more expansive, open and patently sad will no doubt be stylistic and intentional - and it's not to say it doesn't always work. 'The Reticent' could have absolutely been one of the standout calmer tracks from any of their last three records with its emotionally delivered chorus, dynamic clean verses and memorable synth-work, showing the band's simplistic approach at its best. 'The Antagonist' is arguably even better with a great chorus and a great clean ear-worm bridge - which has never been a strength of the band previously. Other tracks don't feel quite so lucky - 'The Conjurer' feels like it's missing a great riff to glue it together, the absence of which further accentuating the awkward key shifts. 'The Wanderer' had potential, however, feels crippled by a pretty rough clean vocal take.

Taken in a vacuum this a really nice set of tracks - but those primed to Insomnium's sound will recognise quite quickly that it definitely isn't the melodic death metal band they know. Any semblance of aggression or riffing is absent from 'Argent Moon' in favour of leaning towards balladry. But in saying that, they're pretty damn good at it - and this is no doubt a way for Insomnium to dust off the pandemic cobwebs and re-engage the band in a cathartic way. Those looking for a melancholic, bittersweet set of melodic metal ballads to usher in the autumn will do well to indulge in 'Argent Moon' - if expectations of where the band are going are left at the door, there's merit in its charms.



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user ratings (70)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
DarkNoctus
September 17th 2021


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thought i'd do a quick write up - i like this more than i thought despite it being quite a softer take on their sound



perfect set of tracks for autumn



edit: oh cool, ty for the feature

Digging: Swallow the Sun - Moonflowers

Gmork89
September 17th 2021


8243 Comments


If Noctus approves Ill probably enjoy this, good review friend.

Muzz79
September 17th 2021


1456 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm also fine with the melody over aggression take on their sound at this point

Digging: In Mourning - The Bleeding Veil

Essence
September 17th 2021


6548 Comments


i'll have to give this a straight through listen but having heard 3/4 out of an album context, they just don't work for me and I struggled to tell them apart

DarkNoctus
September 17th 2021


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

all four tracks are quite similar but that works in its favour with it being so short imo. a whole album of tracks like this would be VERY tiresome.

Muzz79
September 17th 2021


1456 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Heart Like a Grave is almost a 5 in my book so this is a step back imo. Still enjoyable tho

zaruyache
September 17th 2021


24732 Comments


i might b a vegiematarian but i still like some MEAT on my riffs 0/1000

Digging: Ethereal Shroud - Trisagion

dachstheangry
September 17th 2021


66 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's not bad, but i miss the death metal or more agressive parts. Nice melodies for cold days.

ShartHarder
September 17th 2021


102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

these are as close to ballads as DM can get, i dig it for an EP

KrillBoi
September 17th 2021


57 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't been vibing with these last two releases as much as I usually do with Insomnium material. Hope they bounce back and bring something as masterful as Winter's Gate again in the future. That said, this is still a nice piece of cwy-metal.

Digging: Der Weg Einer Freiheit - Noktvrn

DarkNoctus
September 17th 2021


11718 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'the antagonist' has been stuck in my head for days. definitely the best track here.

DungeonBoy
September 17th 2021


8556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very cool, thanks for sharing, gonna give this a spin

Digging: Stormkeep - Tales of Othertime

DungeonBoy
September 17th 2021


8556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is really good, definitely leans very hard into that acoustic ballad side, but still has that Insomnium signature sound, and they're really giving Jani the vocal spotlight on this. Really synth heavy, and they sound fantastic. Great production overall with those panned acoustics really widening the sound of this thing. I wasn't expecting much, so color me an impressed shade of grey

valek
September 17th 2021


382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Niilo saves this by a thread, as much as I am a sucker for Melodeath with cleans and all that, the cleans from the other singer in this album doesn't do it for me at times. It's decent and as you said, being short helps it. Not a fan of "The Wanderer" clean parts, except when Niilo was singing, I still enjoyed the general experience.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2021


3081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really liked this on first listen!

NordicNorth
September 17th 2021


36 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I do enjoy the more atmospheric stuff they do as much as the aggressive material. Not many bands do it better than these guys. I enjoy this greatly, could bump it another .5 depending how much this grows on me.

Crysis
Emeritus
September 18th 2021


17552 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Honestly didn't like this very much. The riffs are generally lame or nonexistent, and I hate the cleans.



It can basically all be summed up by what you said:



Those with a keen ear and long-time follows may notice something eerily missing, and you'd be right - and that's the lack of songwriting credit from Ville Friman and it shows in the material.




I generally attribute the diminishing quality of this band's riffing to his growing apathy toward being a contributing member of this band. Which is fine because he has a legit career and all, but man do these guys need his songwriting back. He went from being credited with writing anywhere from 50 to 100% of the songs in prior albums to 10% in Heart like a Grave.



DungeonBoy
September 18th 2021


8556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was meant to be something a little more ballady and stripped down though. I agree with your criticism but not sure about the angle you are looking at it.

Crysis
Emeritus
September 18th 2021


17552 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You can make a ballad with good riffs. This is more a point about the general songwriting and execution. Why aren't the acoustic guitars as evocative as on, say, "At the Gates of Sleep" or "Daughter of the Moon"? Why can't they incorporate clean guitar tones like they did on "Death Walked the Earth" or "Disengagement"? Why can't the singing be actually good like on "Lay of the Autumn" or "Where the Last Wave Broke"? Why can't they actually tie songs together and not make them feel awkward? Noctus hit the nail on the head with regards to the absolute clunkiness of the key changes on "The Conjurer" and the desperate need for a killer hook to bring the song together.



This is a collection of mediocre ballads that borders on pandering to their audience's thirst for sad tunes. Nothing here sounds even remotely sincere.

parksungjoon
September 18th 2021


38581 Comments


daughter of the moon is prob the best song they ever made yea



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