Insomnium – One For Sorrow

I have a real soft spot (or maybe it should be a cold hard spot) for Finnish metal. One of my favorite bands of all time is the dearly departed Finnish masters of depression – Sentenced. But so much other great metal comes from Finland too. Children of Bodom, Apocalyptica, Finntroll, Impaled Nazarene, Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun…the list goes on. Insomnium is another Finnish band that should be on that list. They’ve been around awhile now, and they’ve just released their fifth album, “One For Sorrow.”

My sister first introduced me to Insomnium back in, oh, probably 2003 when she brought over a copy of their first album, “In the Halls of Waiting.” She was living in Norway and was regularly picking up new music that I had never heard before. It’s a matter of pride with me that I always try to find new and exciting music before everyone else, so I felt a bit jealous of the access she had to European imports and local Scandinavian music. Anyway, she got me a copy of the first album and then Candlelight sent me a copy of the second album, “Since the Day It All Came Down” for review. So I’ve been keeping an ear in their direction for some time now.

In the past I had a real problem with the vocals being buried. I’ve always loved the music, but much like some of the earlier Amon Amarth albums the harsh vocals blend in so much with the music they are hard to make out. That problem isn’t entirely resolved on “One For Sorrow” but it is definitely easier to make out the vocals from the music. The music has always been so great on their albums that I’ve never understood why Insomnium are not a bigger band. Most people don’t care about the vocals like I do, and the songs are superbly crafted melodic death metal with a hint of doom.

Bringing up Amon Amarth again, “One For Sorrow” does remind me of them a bit. I mean, Amon Amarth is Viking metal, which Insomnium is not, and Insomnium is probably more melodic, but the songs are so…big…and epic. And the harsh vocals are of a similar deep rough style as well. Insomnium does some clean vocals but mostly harsh. I would never mistake one band for the other, it just occurred to me while listening and thought I would mention it.

The weather outside today is dark, cool and threatening to be wet and I have to say cranking this album in the headphones while gazing out the window feels appropriate. It’s satisfying to the soul. It’s like chicken noodle soup after coming in from the cold. Despite being death metal I can’t help but pick up a slightly melancholy feeling from the music (probably the keyboards) which goes well with autumn.

So many great albums have come out recently; I hope Insomnium doesn’t get lost in the shadow of giants. For my part, I think you should check this album out.