God, what a great sound coming out of my earphones from The Sleepless Ones. Deep, dark, great, crunchy Melodic Death Metal. And in their typical doom-esque style.
The Finnish band Insomnium delivers great sounding stuff. Shockingly, though, sometimes produced in clear vocals, which will have my beloved purists’ tongues wagging the wrong way again.
But you know what? This just sounds great. Kind of like the Black Sabbath on steroids of the Melodic Death Metal scene. Minus Ozzy’s metallic whine of course, and their world-famous and devilishly good tritones.
But as Lords of Darkness of the Melodic Death Metal Scene this is great stuff. With cool sounding riffs that bring you right to the edge. At the top of the altar of the genre! Admittedly, you need to be in the mood for this kind of music, but most of the time I am.
My idea of relaxing quietly in the evening.
The band’s sixth studio album Shadows of the Dying Sun now officially features the new guitarist Markus Vanhala lately from Omnium Gatherum, who joined the band back in 2011. And the sound is superb, from the beautifully executed melodic guitar riffs to the growls expertly delivered by Niilo Sevänen.
Their creative approach to Melodic Death Metal sets this album apart from other bands of this genre. And Insomnium happily mix different styles into their somewhat traditional tune. Sometimes it almost sounds a tad like Heavy and Thrash Metal. Next you taste the desperation of doom, and so you should.
I love While we Sleep – clear vocals and all. The track sports a very good and addictive riff that somehow got appended to this track. Purists, wake up! This is good shit! This is followed by the next kicker Revelation. Kind of in the same groove of things.
Lost to Night somewhat sounds like good old Omnium Gatherum at times. And did I detect some poppy elements in there? Loki forbid. This would not quite be up to par with the rest. Too easy that one, not deep enough to my taste. Also on the “poppy” side of things is The River, but then there are different styles mixed into this one, so not that easy.
There is lots of good, bad and the ugly in Shadows of the Dying Sun. And on top, this record kind of solemnly marches away into the doomy unknowns. Whilst its predecessor One For Sorrow displayed some sort of a harsh freshness.
And this quality completely lost itself, which in a way is a pity. The structure is also much of the same to its predecessor, pretty good start, mellow mid-point and epic ending. And that – folks – is bad innovation. Something that has been on-going since Across the Dark. And this led some of my co-reviewers to opine that they were bored to tears by this record.
Sounds brutal? It is.
The rest of the track list is – I just said it – kind of middle mainstream. EXCEPT Shadows of the Dying Sun – the title track.
Holy Cow! Last track, good track? Or best track?
You guys be the judge. Very dark, with doom galore on display, this track and its superb arrangement just took my breath away. Listening to this track, you would think to be in a barren landscape somewhere on a lonely planet with beasts around you ready to attack and devour you. Shivers down my spine, guys. Just great!
Well, even if predictability somewhat plagues Shadows of the Dying Sun and it sometimes sails pretty near to Omnium Gatherum, I still love it. This is good stuff. Deep, dark, gloomy, yet crunchy and delivered at just the right temperature. Just what the doctor ordered for a cold night by the fire, when the wolves howl outside.
[Editorial note: The review made it successfully onto the first ever Intermittent Best Of of the RockmusicRaider blog. Congrats!]