I'm quite selective when it comes to death metal, and I usually like it served with a healthy dose of progressive overtones and plenty of atmosphere. Which is why I dig the Finnish quartet Insomnium. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Singer/bassist Niilo Sevänen may be one angry dude, but his angst is tempered by complex and classically orchestrated arrangements that aren't afraid to incorporate acoustic interludes or blatant melodies. While the band's 2002 debut, In the Halls of Awaiting was dark and complex, Since the Day It All Came Down is full of even greater mood shifts (most of them gloomier), opening with the piano instrumental "Nocturne" before unleashing "The Day It All Came Down," a relentless track that showcases both the fury of Scandinavian death metal and the melodic tendencies of Insomnium. Then comes "Daughter of the Moon," an epic that opens with acoustic guitars that give way to a mid-paced power-metal sensibility before a melancholic break in the middle makes you even forget your listening to a death-metal disc. Sevänen's vocals, thankfully, aren't as gruff as they could be. And while they're never clean, they do diminish to a whisper on "The Moment of Reckoning" and "Disengagement."
And so it goes throughout these 11 tracks, which are diverse – and melodic! -- enough to keep Insomnium well away from the death-metal mainstream. As a reference point, I suggest early Opeth and Amorphis. Or better yet, venture into the darkness with Since the Day It All Came Down and find out for yourself how effective some death metal can actually be.
1) Nocturne (1:57)
2) The Day It All Came Down (4:56)
3) Daughter of the Moon (6:09)
4) The Moment of Reckoning (5:46)
5) Bereavement (4:15)
6) Under the Plaintive Sky (4:09)
7) Resonance (2:29)
8) Death Walked the Earth (5:09)
9) Disengagement (8:39)
10) Closing Words (4:25)
11) Song of the Forlorn Son (5:45)
Total Time: 53:45