Insomnium - Since the day it all came down - Candlelight - Reviewed by Ajax
1 Nocturne 2 The day it all came down 3 Daughter of the moon 4 The moment of reckoning 5 Bereavement 6 Under the plaintive sky 7 Resonance 8 Death walked the earth 9 Disengagement 10 Closing words 11 Song of the forlorn son
Remember the days when Paradise Lost's Shades of God was out? It brought a gloomy, melancholic and somber feeling to your soul that you just couldn't let go of. It seemed like drizzly days and utter despair where your part when you listened to that album. If you want to, these days can be brought back to you with an album that equals Shades of God's atmosphere. I am talking about Insomniums "Since the day it all came down".
How the band came into being, or: "The path that led into the dark..."
Since I talk about "darkness, doom and gloom", it will not come to you as a surprise that Insomnium hail from the dark northern wastes of Scandinavia, Joensuu, Finland to be more precise. The Finns, Niilo Sevänen (vocals & bass), Ville Friman (guitars), Markus Hirvonen (drums) and Ville Viänni (guitars), started 7 years ago, back in 1997. After two years the band released a self financed yet untitled demo, followed by a second: "Underneath the moonlith waves" in 2000. Perseverance finally paid of, as Candlelight signed the band in 2001. A a year later their first full lenght album "In the halls of awaiting" was released, followed by "Since the day it all came down".
In their bio the band itself says: melodies are still the most essential element in the music of Insomnium, but this time (Since the day it all came down) the tunes are even more melancholic and wistful than on the debut. This is a sad and dreary album, heavier and gloomier than the first one, and undoubtedly more challenging. Well...the band couldn't be more right. On listening, this album keeps you longing for the the long mournfull winters of Scandinavia.
To emphasize the atmosphere Insomnium creates on "Since the day it all came down" and to let you have a better understanding of it's moods, let's for instance take a look at some lines of the song "Daughter of the moon".
Trail admidst the snow-clad trees, winding is the way Sunless is the path we roam, bitter is the air we breathe Fell is the icy blast, coming from the hills Blowing through my ailing heart, wailing in the emptiness inside
Add the frequent use of pianos and/or howling (or I should beter say wailing) guitars to this recipe, mix in a smooth production, and you've got what Insomnium is all about: gloomy melody. It's the use of the forementioned instruments that create a truly bonechilling atmosphere, but what really finishes the album is the frequent use of some softer elements like soft acoustic guitars and whispered lines of spoken words throughout the songs to contrast the harsh growls and fast riffs. It's these elements who account for a sombre yet agressive and mostly very melodic album.
Though this all might give you the idea that Insomnium are a slow paced doom band, they are actually the opposite. Though their feel is doom, their music is mostly up tempo melodic death varied with acoustic interludes. You could say they are the doomy variant of Dark Tranquility: melodic doom/death metal at it's finest.
The album kicks of with a piano intro, which really acts as the calm before the storm. The so called storm being the fast and catchy riffed title song, forming a very sharp contrast to the laidback intro. In the next two songs we find more mid tempo guitarwork, varied with slower semi acoustic passages. Bereavement surprises us with some catchy riffing, where as Under the plaintive sky is noticed by the variation in spoken and harsh passages. Resonance acts as an acoustic intro to the uptempo Death walked the earth. Disengagement starts as it ends with very melow guitarwork. The melody in closing words is emphasized by the closing solo. The final song on the album is also the most doomy of them all: Song of the forlorn son. All in all a very diverse album.
Well, I could tell you some more about the briliant atmosphere, I could tell you some more about the acoustic interludes, I could tell you about it's frequent tempo changes and haunting melodies, but you really ought to experience this album yourself. I can't emphasize enough how Insomnium have succeeded in creating an album that is all about atmosphere. This is not just an album with eleven songs in a row, it's an experience.
So when you take Insomnium's path, keep in mind that it takes a while before your eyes get used to the dark ....
One final note: thumbs up to Jamo Lahti from Kaamos art studio for the beautiful cover art work. Besides the cover art for "since it all came down" , he has also done some artwork for Imperanon and Final Dawn. Check out his work on http://www.kaamos.com/gallery_cd. htm.
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