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4.52 | 9 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2019


01. Wail of the North (3:05)
02. Valediction (5:05)
03. Neverlast (4:46)
04. Pale Morning Star (8:58)
05. And Bells They Toll (6:01)
06. The Offering (5:00)
07. Mute Is My Sorrow (6:02)
08. ​Twilight Trails (7:06)
09. Heart like a Grave (7:05)
10. ​Karelia (7:49)

Total Time 60:57


- Niilo Sevänen / Vocals, Bass
- Ville Friman / Guitars, Vocals
- Markus Vanhala / Guitars
- Markus Hirvonen / Drums
- Jani Liimatainen / Guitars, Vocals

About this release

Century Media Records
Released 4th Oct 2019

Thanks to Nightfly for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

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.
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.

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