Insomnium provide us high quality Melodic Death Metal just the way we like it, directly from the land of ice and snow.
After the huge disappointments from Ahola and Sonata Arctica this year, we’re finally able to enjoy some decent Finnish Heavy Metal with the album Shadows Of The Dying Sun, from Melodic Death Metal band Insomnium. Although this is the sixth full-length album from this Joensuu-based dark and gothic band formed in 1997, it’s only the first with guitarist Markus Vanhala (Omnium Gatherum), and the final result is so professional and enjoyable that it might soon be considered by fans the best so far in the band’s career.
Their lyrical themes may not be the happiest in the world, as Insomnium usually sings about pain, loss, darkness, and especially how we cannot beat time, which in the end is the main connector of all those elements, but that doesn’t make their music less exciting. Quite the contrary, when a band is capable of awakening inside us a feeling that time is passing by and that we should do something about our lives, in other words, when a band makes us THINK about our lives, that’s when their music deserves to be listened, shared and truly appreciated.
One of the most interesting characteristics in Shadows Of The Dying Sun is that it’s not only Melodic Death Metal, but a substantial mix of other genres such as Doom, Black and even Folk Metal, which can be noticed since the very beginning of The Primeval Dark, with its enticing atmospheric instrumental, heavy riffs and deep vocals, working like an “intro” to one of the highlights of the album, the 6-minute melodic masterpiece While We Sleep, an awesome track with clean and guttural vocals blending really well, intense lyrics (“When all you ever wish for is to go back once more / When all you ever wish is to open that cage and long / When all you feel is remorse, pain and regret / When you brought on curse unable to move on?”) and a stunning riff in the background that gives the song an even more melodic sonority. Not only that, the smooth passage together with a nice guitar solo after 4 minutes until the end of the song is great, and don’t forget to check its superb official music video at the end of this review.
And that was only the beginning of the album, which goes on with Revelation, a song that constantly varies from raw to more melodic Death Metal and back again, with the instrumental always being very clean despite the heaviness of the music; and Black Heart Rebellion, a very melancholic and brutal track where drummer Markus Hirvonen abuses his double bass. The guitar duo and riffs are also amazing, and add to that some thoughtful lyrics and Niilo Sevänen’s above-the-average performance, and you have another memorable moment in the album.
Lose To Night is a more gothic song with some Paradise Lost-ish elements, moving it closer to Doom Metal rather than the band’s traditional Death Metal, while Collapsing Words brings the album back to a heavier sonority, again with awesome vocals by Niilo. These two songs are followed by The River, which has many elements from Black Metal (especially drums and riffs), with highlights to the semi-acoustic and very melodic ending; and the more commercial (but not less pleasant) single Ephemeral, with its amazing lyrics (“Darkness is ignorance / Knowledge is light / Fight only with yourself / Or the shadows of the night”) and a totally catchy chorus. Unless you have a very good reason for hating Insomnium, there’s no way you won’t get addicted to this song.
Finally, in order to end the album in a high note, the band offers us the beautiful ballad The Promethean Song, where the guitar riff works perfectly with the acoustic guitar, and Shadows Of The Dying Sun, with a dark bass tune to start it in an excellent way, a great chorus, and more powerful bass lines by Niilo along the whole song. Furthermore, if you’re a fan of the band, don’t miss the special limited digipak edition of Shadows Of The Dying Sun, which includes a bonus CD with four bonus tracks.
And was the album art inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s classic The Birds, or by the zombie birds from Resident Evil? Anyway, although it can be relatively simple to our eyes, it’s darkly delightful and very effective in translating into images all the musicality in the album. In short, this is the high quality Heavy Metal we always expect from any band that comes from the cold and marvelous Finland, and as previously mentioned the intensity the band puts in their music and lyrics is commendable, elevating them to the status of one of the best active Finnish bands today.
Best moments of the album: While We Sleep, Black Heart Rebellion, Collapsing Words and Ephemeral.
Worst moments of the album: Revelation and The River.
Released in 2014 Century Media Records
1. The Primeval Dark 3:16
2. While We Sleep 6:20
3. Revelation 5:15
4. Black Heart Rebellion 7:03
5. Lose To Night 4:56
6. Collapsing Words 4:38
7. The River 7:57
8. Ephemeral 4:01
9. The Promethean Song 6:41
10. Shadows Of The Dying Sun 6:32
Limited Digipak bonus tracks
11. Out to the Sea 5:17
12. The Emergence 1:46
13. The Swarm 2:54
14. The Descent 3:11
Niilo Sevänen − vocals, bass
Ville Friman − backing vocals, guitar
Markus Vanhala − guitar
Markus Hirvonen − drums