Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun (2014) – Review

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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 doomy 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 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. Admittedly, you need to be in the mood for this kind of music. But it is 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. This is followed by the next kicker Revelation, all 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 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 as its predecessor, pretty good start, mellow mid-point, and epic ending. And that – folks – is bad innovation. Something that has been ongoing 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 tracklist is – I just said it – kind of middle mainstream. EXCEPT for Shadows of the Dying Sun – the title track. Holy Cow! Last track, good track? Or the 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. That’s what the good doctor ordered for a cold night by the fire when the wolves howl outside. 

Ed’s note: The review made it onto the first ever Intermittent Best Of. Congrats!

Record Rating: 9/10 | Label: Century Media Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: 25 April 2014

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