At the dawn of their origin, Insomnium made their breakthrough with a distinctive sound, masterful skills and a sense of originality, indicative of a future lead position in the second wave of Finnish (well, not only) melodic death metal. For about a decade, the guys never stopped outdoing themselves as their music improved immensely – a chronic habit that eventually led them to well-deserved fame and five studio albums as a testimony for quality and craftsmanship of the highest class. “One for Sorrow” is a piece of dark elegancy, thrilling enough to be the sole melodeath highlight of the year. While evoking the beauty of the Land of the Thousand Lakes through unmistakable style, Insomnium´s fifth epos polishes the sound further and incorporates some new elements in the old ways. If “Across the Dark” (2009) was an intense journey through the band`s utmost melancholic mentality, its successor confronts the listener with a bit of positivism, reminiscent of the debut energetic guitars and lots of clean vocals, which often turn the dark mood of the compositions at 180 degrees. Now and then glancing back at the oldschool Gothenburg scene and its rightful masters, the Finns let a pale moonbeam in the heart of their initially serious music. Nevertheless, despite the minor loans from their Swedish colleagues as well as the atypical production of Daniel Antonsson (Dark Tranquillity), Insomnium never forget who they are and come up with a record worthy enough to make each band of their fertile motherland proud.
As expected, the opus is opened by a beautiful intro – “Inertia”, which escalates as the deep growls of frontman Niilo Sevanen gain strength. A deceivingly calm melody weaves into familiar Insomnium riffs, characteristic of their album introductions while “Through the Shadows” surprises with choruses sung by the clean voice of Ville Friman (guitars) – an approach that two years ago won “Where the Last Wave Broke” a lot of fans. The angry blast beats on the seven-minute long epic “Song of the Blackest Bird” contrast with multilayered instrumentals, enriched by acoustics, keys and violins, reminding us that Insomnium are on top of their game when it comes to leading melodies. “Unsung” is a real headbanger that (aside from its chorus) sounds like a dedication to Amon Amarth – one of the bands` inspirers, but Niilo & co remind us of Insomnium with extreme music and vocals. “Only One Who Waits” and “Every Hour Wounds” evoke the riffs of early In Flames. The acoustic interlude “Decoherence” precedes “Lay the Ghost to Rest” – the second nearly eight-minute long and the eeriest, nearly doomy track along the homonymous grand finale. “Regain the Fire” moves away from the pitch-dark melancholy with one of the brightest and most memorable clean choruses, but the last curtain call is “One for Sorrow” – a full-blooded manifestation of the eerie ideology of the Insomniacs. And in order for the idyllic pleasure to be full in its last detail, the limited edition of the album includes the collaboration “Wheather the Storm” featuring the brilliant participation of Mikael Stanne, with which Century Media Records welcomed the second melodeath titans in their ranks along with Dark Tranquillity before the common tour of the two bands.
This is an album, which has to be heard, felt, understood and suffered many times before it sinks its teeth into your mind to a maniacal point. While they continue to release world-class masterpieces as “One for Sorrow” really is, Insomnium will never be alone in their grief, whether they like it or not.
PS: Insomnium will be on a European headlining tour in November with Before The Dawn and My Grain - see STALKER tour dates.