INSOMNIUM — Winter's Gate (review)

INSOMNIUM — Winter's Gate album cover Album · 2016 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
"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.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Me too. Has become a favorite of 2016
Nightfly wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Really enjoying this album myself having received a vinyl copy for Christmas.


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