Insomnium
Since the Day it All Came Down

Better late than never I suppose, but after purchasing this album (see not we reviewers are not always promos whores), I have a new addition to my top five albums of 2004.Hailing from Finland and caught in the vast net that entails melodic death metal, Insomnium are essentially what Amorphis should be now. While melodic death metal is certainly an apt catch all, the innate melancholy nature of the music by virtue of their “Finnish-ness” and a heavier earthier approach give them some resemblance to Rapture, Swallow the Sun and Sentenced. All comparisons aside, Since the Day it All Came Down is sheer musical bliss and a magnificent opus regardless of genre. Certainly eschewing usual melodic death structures in favor of the more sober, down tuned style complete with subterranean growls rather than skittish screams, Insomnium’s delivery is only shadowed by their song writing. Stout hooks, lush melodies earthy grooves, and a large dose of restraint result in a huge organic sound that rumbles with menace as well as entrance with gossamer harmonies.

With a guitar tone that I can only describe as ‘Finnish’, (think Rapture) Insomnium litter their songs with more memorable riffs than many of their more established peers and throw in healthy amount of acoustic interludes and saddening atmospherics to please the doom crowd also. Starting with the typically atmospheric instrumental “Nocturne”, Since the Day It All Came Down ebbs and flows with brilliance throughout its eleven tracks, and the ambitious nature of the songs as well as the death/doom duality brings to mind Opeth. The sheer scope of every single track is one of perfection, with muted, sullen harmonies layered over crunchy mid-paced yet urgent and gravelly riffs. Not one single note is wasted, as each riff and lead resonates with pristine quality and emotion. Picking out standout tracks is like remembering the best blowjob you got, they are all so good. “Daughter of the Moon” is rife with Amorphis like melodies and pacing, but rendered with Niilo Sevanen’s guttural yet clear growl rather than any clean whining. “Under The Plaintive Sky” does use some clean vocals, but when layered over the tracks monumental chugging riff, I can’t complain. “Resonance” seems to be a piecemeal mid-album intermission, with an acoustic only break to only prepare for the upbeat yet sorrow laced “And Death Walked the Earth”.

There is truly no weak track on this album, as each one simply latches on to your senses and weaves a hypnotic trance about your conscious; just listen to “Disengagement” and tell me your are not blown away by its dense grandeur and mournful, yet epic scope. I dare you. For a group of relative youngsters (this is only their second album), Insomnium have a grasp on harmony that belies their age, as they simply belt out riff after riff of solemn yet almost basic melodies that are addictively memorable. Drummer Markus Hirvonen provides a sturdy and basic backbone to Insomnium’s sound, letting Sevanen’s voice and the guitars of Ville Friman and Ville Hanne work their hypnotic magic. Only “Closing Words” fails to have the emotional impact of the rest of the album, but when the “My Kantele”-like grace of “Song of the Forlorn Son” cascades with rending overtures, the album is complete with a fine endnote and a sense of satisfaction I haven’t had upon and album’s completion in a long time.

Exquisitely rendered, perfectly played and sublimely written, Since the Day it All Came Down has “classic” written all over it just as its blood relative forbearer, Tales from the 1000 Lakes did many years ago. Simply stunning.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 19th, 2004

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