INSOMNIUM

Melodic Death Metal • Finland
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Insomnium is a melodic death metal band from Joensuu, Finland. Their lyrics often deal with subjects such as sorrow, death, and loss.

Biography Insomnium began to take shape during the bleak spring of 1997. In a quiet town of Joensuu, located in the easternmost part of Finland, four young men were forming a fierce metal band. From the beginning it was clear that this band would make music that was brutal and yet melodic, full of contrasts and changing atmospheres. They took what they regarded as the best aspects of their favourite bands and molded these influences into a new kind of entity. The result was the marriage of melodic Scandinavian death metal and traditional Finnish tunes. Lyrics turned out to be sorrowful, dream-like tales of love and death that usually took place amidst the Finnish nature. Influences were taken from the Finnish folklore as well as the world
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INSOMNIUM Discography

INSOMNIUM albums / top albums

INSOMNIUM In the Halls of Awaiting album cover 4.17 | 6 ratings
In the Halls of Awaiting
Melodic Death Metal 2002
INSOMNIUM Since the Day It All Came Down album cover 4.28 | 9 ratings
Since the Day It All Came Down
Melodic Death Metal 2004
INSOMNIUM Above the Weeping World album cover 4.21 | 12 ratings
Above the Weeping World
Melodic Death Metal 2006
INSOMNIUM Across the Dark album cover 4.25 | 6 ratings
Across the Dark
Melodic Death Metal 2009
INSOMNIUM One For Sorrow album cover 4.18 | 16 ratings
One For Sorrow
Melodic Death Metal 2011
INSOMNIUM Shadows of the Dying Sun album cover 4.12 | 9 ratings
Shadows of the Dying Sun
Melodic Death Metal 2014
INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate album cover 4.43 | 11 ratings
Winter's Gate
Melodic Death Metal 2016
INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave album cover 4.53 | 5 ratings
Heart Like A Grave
Melodic Death Metal 2019

INSOMNIUM EPs & splits

INSOMNIUM Where The Last Wave Broke album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Where The Last Wave Broke
Melodic Death Metal 2009
INSOMNIUM Ephemeral album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Ephemeral
Melodic Death Metal 2013
INSOMNIUM Out to the Sea / Skyline album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Out to the Sea / Skyline
Melodic Death Metal 2015

INSOMNIUM live albums

INSOMNIUM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

INSOMNIUM Demo 1999 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo 1999
Melodic Death Metal 1999
INSOMNIUM Underneath The Moonlit Waves album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Underneath The Moonlit Waves
Melodic Death Metal 2000

INSOMNIUM re-issues & compilations

INSOMNIUM The candlelight Years album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The candlelight Years
Melodic Death Metal 2014

INSOMNIUM singles (3)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Weather the Storm
Melodic Death Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
While We Sleep
Melodic Death Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Valediction
Melodic Death Metal 2019

INSOMNIUM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

INSOMNIUM Reviews

INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
Formed as long ago as 1997, since 2011 the band has had a consistent line-up of Markus Hirvonen, Ville Friman, Niilo Sevänen and Markus Vanhala, during which time they released ‘Shadows of the Dying Sun’ and the very highly rated ‘Winter’s Gate’. However, (2016) which elevated the band to the headliner status all over the globe. However, guitarist Ville Friman, who is one of the three founder members still with the band, was finding it more difficult to commit to heavy touring schedules due to his day job of being a lecturer at York University. So to ensure there is no problem with meeting whatever commitments they have, they decided to become a quintet by bringing in Jani Liimatainen (The Dark Element, Cain’s Offering, ex-Sonata Arctica) who had already been a live guitarist on several tours.

Having three guitarists in the studio has not really made a huge difference to the overall sound apart from extending the writing ability by now having four composers. This, their eighth album contains all the elements one has come to expect from Insomnium, and while they are still within the melodic death spectrum there are times when they actually move away from the death scene and become far more of a melodic metal act. There is always a huge feeling of atmosphere within their music, something normally far more associated with black metal acts, and with a real feel of melancholy while they have drawn inspiration from some of the bleakest tales, lyrics and poems of the north to get again produce something which is full of power and passion. They are not afraid to drop an acoustic guitar into the middle of a song, stop everything dead and then return in a different time signature and mood while switching between death and clean vocals. Passionate and immediate, this dark album also has plenty of soaring light which at times has more than a nod to the likes of Borknagar. Must be something in the beer up North.

INSOMNIUM Heart Like A Grave

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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Nightfly
How do you follow an album like Winter’s Gate? Insomnium’s masterpiece in my opinion – one continuous forty minute long piece of music, unless you bought the vinyl version then of course it was split in two. Unless you’re a prog band, not with an album of the same format.

Heart Like A Grave see’s the band returning to the shorter song structure of previous albums though some of them are quite long, Pale Morning Star almost hitting nine minutes for example. The sound is unmistakably Insomnium though they’ve gone and done an Iron Maiden and brought in a third guitarist, Jani Liimatainen. He hasn’t made any noticeable difference to their studio sound but I can imagine how live he could be a benefit for the layered guitar sounds, something he has already been doing for some time I believe. Heart Like A Grave delivers exactly what you’d expect from Insomnium. First rate melodic death metal with powerful melodic riffs overlaid by lead runs and interspersed with acoustic lulls and atmospheric sections. The vocals are largely growled of course courtesy of bassist Niilo Sevänen as usual but clean vocals are occasionally brought in which work well and should be used more often. Insomnium have always released strong albums so while Heart Like a Grave is up against some pretty stiff competition they’ve done well to equal and sometimes better their past work here. The band is obviously very comfortable in their style and sound and it shows through a strong sympathetic production. Best of all they maintain the quality level for the whole album.

Once again Insomnium have produced a winner. This is not going to turn heads the way Winter’s Gate did but musically it’s just as good and any fan of the band will not be disappointed. In fact those who felt the single piece of music format of the last album didn’t work will probably prefer the return to individual songs.

INSOMNIUM Winter's Gate

Album · 2016 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Winter's Gate" is the 7th full-length studio album by Finnish melodic death metal act Insomnium. The album was released through Century Media Records in September 2016. It´s the successor to "Shadows of the Dying Sun" from 2014 and features the same lineup as the predecessor. After releasing quite a few albums where the overall concept and songwriting formula have had a somewhat similar sound and structure, Insomnium have opted for a change on "Winter's Gate". The band were having a break while rehearsing and were listening to some music and someone put on "Crimson (1996)" by Edge of Sanity, which inspired the band to write a single 40 minutes long track, which ended up being "Winter's Gate".

While "Winter's Gate" is divided into seven different parts and there are clear song structures featured in the long epic track, it still feels very much like one long listening experience and the various parts of the album also seque into each other, which gives the track the right natural flow. Stylistically the track is less surprising than the structure and length of the track, as it´s in many ways Insomnium as we know them. That means melodic death metal with elements of ethnic Scandinavian folk, black- and progressive metal, which is packed in a majestic atmosphere. Artists like Omnium Gatherum and Amorphis are valid references. Guitarist Markus Vanhala has played in both Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum since 2011, so that further strengthens the connection between those two acts.

The music is quite dynamic and varies from mellow acoustic guitar sections or keyboard interludes, to heavy melodic death metal parts and faster paced more aggressive blackened death metal parts. Always with a lot of focus on melody and catchiness. Atmosphere enhancing keyboards play a relatively big role in the soundscape along with guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. The vocals are deep intelligible growling, higher pitched blackened growling, and clean vocals (often layered with harmony vocals and choirs).

"Winter's Gate" is a very well written track, and the transitions between sections generally work really well. Add to that high level musicianship, and a clear, professional, and powerful sounding production, and you got a high quality release on your hands. The fact that Insomnium have chosen to step a bit out of their comfort zone and try something different means extra points in my book, and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

INSOMNIUM Shadows of the Dying Sun

Album · 2014 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Shadows of the Dying Sun" is the 6th full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Insomnium. The album was released through Century Media Records in April 2014. Insomnium were formed in 1997 and have with each new releas slowly but steadily build a reputation as one of the most prolific Finnish death metal acts and gained a dedicated fanbase in the process too. It´s been a few years since the release of their 5th full-length studio album "One for Sorrow (2011)", but Insomnium released the "Ephemeral" EP in 2013 to bridge the gap.

Stylistically the music on "Shadows of the Dying Sun" is an epic sounding type of melodic death metal. Artists like fellow countrymen in Amorphis and especially Omnium Gatherum are valid references. Guitarist Markus Vanhala has played in both Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum since 2011, so that further strengthens the connection between those two acts.

The material on the album are well written, catchy and epic. The tempos vary between heavier mid-paced epic sections and faster paced melodeath sections. Always with strong lead guitar melodies and themes on top of the sharp riffs and heavy rhythm foundation. Acoustic/clean guitar sections also occur. The vocals are predominantly growling (delivered by bassist Niilo Sevänen), but there are occasional clean vocal sections on the album too (delivered by guitarist Ville Friman). Both growls and the male clean vocals are convincing and well delivered.

"Shadows of the Dying Sun" is also a well produced album, where power and epic atmospheres go hand and hand and all in all it´s another high quality melodic death metal release by Insomnium. I´m not sure I find it especially original sounding (and their similarities to Omnium Gatherum are almost eerie), but everything about the album just reeks high class and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

INSOMNIUM Shadows of the Dying Sun

Album · 2014 · Melodic Death Metal
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Gallifrey
Ever Diminishing

I remember, a long time ago, Insomnium were once my favourite metal band.

And yes, I will praise them for their melodic and harmonic ability and thank them for allowing me to tolerate harsh vocals (still don’t really like them), but I will never really be able to praise them for their ingenuity.

Shadows of the Dying Sun is the latest in a string of records with ever-diminishing returns for Insomnium. After hitting their peak with 2006’s astonishing Above the Weeping World, Insomnium have essentially followed each album with an ever-so-slightly weaker one again and again. Oddly though, for all the bands who have gone with this repeat-the-same-thing-forever band plan, Insomnium’s diminishing talent has gone down a bit slower than most, since this record is only a sliver under One for Sorrow, which was only a sliver under Across the Dark. But regardless of Insomnium’s odd ability to still kinda get my feet tapping on each album, there is rarely a time when I’m in the mood to hear over-produced and cluttered melodeath, and if I do, then the record of choice is nearly always Above The Weeping World (although recently Omnium Gatherum’s New World Shadows has overtaken that as my favourite melodeath record).

Although these four records have played a pretty similar style of melodeath, Insomnium have been steadily bringing clean vocals more and more into the mix, a route that was definitely necessary to keep from being too stale. But ironically for me, I still don’t think this record is as strong as the ones with full harsh vocals, even though I have constantly wanted Insomnium to shut the fuck up with those goddamn growls. I like the idea of clean vocals in their music, but they just don’t do them well enough, and with Shadows of the Dying Sun being the most abundantly clean of all their albums, it’s more frustrating that enjoyable. Because nearly every time a clean sung melody comes in, they feel the weird need to layer it with a whole ton of singers, making it sound like a weak choir rather than an emotive vocalist. They’ve done this on previous albums before, and I always thought it was because they never trusted themselves as strong clean vocalists (although it also may be a bit to do with Insomnium’s obsession of hiding all their great melodies under a pile of mud). This album opens nearly straight up with a clean melody in “While We Sleep”, but with the chanting choir, it sounds cheesy and weak – I’d much rather a single strong voice come soaring over the instruments than a whole lot of them hide under them.

But it’s not as if they are incapable. 8-minute centerpiece “The River” features an acoustic guitar bridge that finally boasts a strong, single voice. And it’s fantastic. Although yes, the combination of clean guitar with the tonality of the vocals does point rather massively toward Mikael Åkerfeldt, but I’m not really minding, since the guitars still have that Insomnium vibe to them. But when I hear this, I can’t help but feel that a track like “Lost To Night” could be much better with these clean vocals, since the melody on that track’s chorus is amazing. This album also features a far more prominent use of some “whisper” vocals, particularly in the soft verses when death growling would feel wrong. But I can’t honestly say they’re a great inclusion, especially since I feel many of these verses would be heightened by fully clean vocals. To point back to “The River”, the song utilises these whispered vocals over some nice finger-picked gutiars, but the entire time I’m almost wishing for some strong and powerful vocals, when all I get is this ~deep~ poetic whispering.

Musically, this album borrows excessively from their own back catalogue – often too much for me to fully enjoy. I’m sure if you were new to this band, it wouldn’t be too much of an obstacle, but as a long-time fan, hearing the opening riff of “While We Sleep” just makes me go “sigh, Insomnium, you’ve used this one before”. Which song it was from I’d never be able to say (even on their great albums they’re hard to tell apart), but I’m nearly 90% certain that this particular riff, or at least that chord progression, has been prominent on at least one Insomnium song before. And then straight after, “Revelation” brings in that bloody 12/8 pattern they use in every song in the history of ever, to the point when it may as well be called ‘the Insomnium pattern’. I’m sure it wouldn’t irk me as much if I hadn’t heard this band before, but it’s certainly not going to show their brilliant ingenuity.

Although I have had a bit of a crap on Insomnium for not making their music progress, there are tiny little hints at a change on this record, the sort that would help the band convince themselves that they’re “redefining their sound”. Firstly, the production here is certainly better than on previous records, although it’s still not without fault. This album is essential headphone listening, since many of the sounds can get insanely buried, but even then, I had to really strain to hear that very distant trumpet melody on “Lost To Night”, that I’m sure would have made the song better if it were upfront. And the same goes for the strings on “Collapsing Worlds” – they’re just too buried. But overall, this album is less painful than their past records, and some of the tones and drum sounds are actually quite good, particularly the performance in “Black Heart Rebellion”. But the most prominent of new sounds on this record to me are the use of intense blast beats during this track and “The River”, complete with some great tremolo-guitar riffs floating on top, and honestly, these parts are just a few gargling screams away from atmospheric black metal, and they definitely make this album an easier ride in terms of breaking the generic doomy melodeath formula.

Shadows of the Dying Sun is a record that tries to push ever so slightly in a different direction, but the differences between it and its predecessors are so minute that it simply becomes forgettable. The riffs are not quite as strong, the songs aren’t quiet as emotional and so the album isn’t quite as good. I do enjoy it, and it’s by no means bad, but I can nearly guarantee that when this review is published I will likely never return to it again. There’s better stuff out there.

6.9

Originally written for my facebook page/blog: facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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more than 2 years ago
The new album ONE FOR SORROW is out-of-this-world, enjoy INSOMNIUM !!!!!

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