One For Sorrow (Century Media)
Time and time again Finland shows itself to be one of the most metal countries in the entire world. Not only does metal still have a place in the consciousness of the country but the bands that come from there have a certain character to them that is unmistakable and true. This is the case of INSOMNIUM who for the better part of a decade has been churning out quality melodic death metal masterpieces with ever growing acclaim. With their new album One For Sorrow they are poised to make a bigger dent on American shores than ever before. I for one am happy to see these industrious craftsmen of great metal songs make greater gains in popularity here. They certainly have worked hard enough and deserve credit for staying the same and never bowing to trends.
The opening track builds from a sparse few notes to a sweeping epic prelude of things to come. The next track “Through the Shadows”. The cut is a grand piece of melodic death metal in the tradition of DARK TRANQUILITY and earlier SOILWORK. A great driving beat and slicing riffs punctuate the track led by front man/bassist Niilo Sevänen. The emotive sweeping chorus is rock solid and there is also some great guitar playing here too. Next up is “Song of the Blackest Bird”. Sevänen’s growling vocals are excellent and are complimented by the copious heaping of melodies in the guitar lines. The band manages the perfect mix of brutality and sweetness in the music in a way that sounds fresh and urgent too. Guitarists Ville Friman (ARRIVAL) and Ville Vänni are great at crafting compelling motifs that don’t sacrifice the heaviness the band is known for. All of the songs also have a stirring sense of the dramatic. “Only one Who Waits” is a true thrashing crusher of a cut. All at once calling to mind THE HAUNTED and IN FLAMES it is one of the best songs on the album. Sevänen unleashes a Jonah Hegg-like howl of anguish and you really feel his soul burn during the chorus. After an IRON MAIDEN influenced middle section where things mellow out slightly the track roars again with an excellent solo. “Unsung” is another song that swings back and forth between uptempo dramatics and lighter sounds. The wall of sound created by the riffs and blasting drums from Marcus Hirvonen are also impressive. The song has some additional keyboard parts too that elevate the quality of the track some more. Another top track is “Every Hour Wounds”. This song has a weight to it emotionally that you just don’t hear often in these bland times. Again the band can be harsh and still catch your ear and the ability to do this consistently song after song needs to be recognized. “Decoherence” is an instrumental track that starts off with gentle picked guitars a bit of drumming comes in toward the end to finish it off. “Lay The Ghost To Rest” almost has the feeling of classic power metal with its grandiose themes and style. The epic track goes through several changes, each more explosive than the last. “Regain the Fire” also has a big scope and feel to it. The verse has some of the most heavy riffs and screaming on the album and soulful singing/screaming vocals in the refrain. The song would be killer to hear live. Closing with the title track, the band synthesizes all of the previous ideas and unifies them in the form of this excellent song. Taking on the form of near movie-soundtrack quality power and delivery, the song is slow and meaningful with more fine vocals added for maximum punch. Take note of this album melo-death fans, it is some of the best writing or playing you will hear on any album this year.
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes