Their music might be reminiscent of classic, melodic, Swedish death metal, however four albums deep into their career the Finnish masters of the haunting minor key melody known as Insomnium continue to carve out their own, distinctly unique path through the death metal world with their latest effort Across The Dark.
Over the course of eight absolutely mesmerizing, and at times surpassingly hook laden compositions (ten if you manage to snag the special edition ) the listener is treated to some of the finest melodic death metal ever put down as guitarists Ville Friman and Ville Vänni not only serve up heaping amounts of pulverizing riffs, but also some fantastic dual harmonies which really adds to the overall feeling of melancholia that permeates this album from beginning to end.
They kick things off with " Equivalence" which unfolds gradually until about three quarters of the way through the song, which is when the mighty growls of vocalist Niilo Sevanen explode into your consciousness as the sonic floodgates open wide, albeit briefly before segueing directly into the second song "Down With The Sun" which continues along the same lines musically. I detected a strong Agalloch influence on this cut as well as on a song like "The Harrowing Years" as once again it's the soaring, interlocking harmonies of the two guitarists that drive these compositions. Sevanen sticks to his effective growling style of vocals, however from time to time a few clean passages are thrown into the mix, for example on the chorus sections of "When The Last Wave Broke" and the aforementioned "The Harrowing Years". These clean sections are handled by guest vocalist Jules Näveri.
A more straight ahead approach is taken on "Against The Stream", a track which features some great, punishing drumming courtesy of Markus Hirvonen. They revert back to their successful method of blending massive riffs with melancholic passages on the epic nine minute "Lay of The Autumn" where they toss in a splendid acoustic, keyboard driven interlude about half the way through the song which makes for a nice balance between what is otherwise a pretty densely layered and heavy track. The final composition "Weighted Down With Sorrow" commences with the beautiful, mournful sounds of what appears to be a cello before the listener is once again abruptly pulled headlong into a maelstrom of aggression as Sevanen's tortured vocals recount the tale of one man's sorrow and loss. It's pretty powerful stuff and a superb way to conclude the album.
Across The Dark is another masterpiece from Insomnium, it's as simple as that. There are perhaps only a handful of bands successfully operating in this genre of music who are not only able to consistently deliver the goods every time out, but more importantly they are able to offer a certain degree of originality to separate them from the rest of the imitators. I think by now their track record more than speaks for itself and if Across The Dark doesn't confirm their standing as one of the truly elite bands of the melodic death metal genre then I don't know what will, because in all honesty this is as good as it gets.
2) Down With The Sun
3) Where The Last Wave Broke
4) The Harrowing Years
5) Against The Stream
6) Lay of The Autumn
7) Into The Woods
8) Weighted Down With Sorrow