Tag Archives: Insomnium

Insomnium, Swallow the Sun and Pressure Points at Rytmikorjaamo, Seinäjoki 14.10


Okay, so there are several reasons to why I should not write this:

  1. I wrote about Insomnium as recently as in June when they played at Provinssi in this same city.
  2. Risk for clouded sense of objectivity due to fanboyism.
  3. I should be working on my M.A. thesis.

However, there is one important thing that crushes these arguments, and this thing is called Winter’s Gate. But let us first deal with the two other bands that played this night.

The progressive metal band Pressure Points was the first band to play. The band did not get more than about half an hour, but I think they managed this time well. I had not listened to these guys before, but I did listen to most of their second and latest album False Lights the day before and it sounded quite interesting. There were some really cool vocal harmonies, interesting tempos and impressive guitar playing in this live show. Of course, it is fairly difficult to say much about such a short gig, but I really think those who like progressive stuff should check this band out. We would get more of guitarist/vocalist Kari Olli later this night since he filled in for Insomnium’s Ville Friman who could not be present this time around.

I have never seen Swallow the Sun live for some strange reason, so it was very convenient that they performed before Insomnium this Friday. This gig must be one of the strangest and most ambiguous I have ever witnessed. I do not mean this as a bad thing. The band started by playing the first half of the set in a semi-acoustic manner with songs such as The Heart of a Cold White Land and Songs from the North, and then suddenly passed into the heavy 10 Silver Bullets, which by the way is an awesome live song. After this followed songs like Hate, Lead the Way!, New Moon and Descending Winters.

I feel a little split about the setlist. I do think it is an interesting move to play several acoustic songs, but I would personally prefer if one of these songs were dropped in favour of another heavy song in this context. For example, the title track Songs from the North, where there is a great deal of female vocal backtrack, could be replaced with a song from the heavy third disc of the latest massive triple album Songs from the North.  The situation would be another if Swallow the Sun was the main attraction and thus would have a longer set. Nevertheless, it was an interesting and well played set.

Now to this night’s main attraction. Insomnium just released the new album Winter’s Gate about two weeks ago. I did not get my hands on it until last Thursday, but I have listened to it a lot the last week. This is the thing: I love the band from earlier, but this album is something out of the ordinary. I know it is really way too early to say this, but I am still pretty sure that it will end up as one of my all time favourite albums. The one-track-forty-minute-album has no weak parts whatsoever, and it offers sides of Insominum that we have not seen fully before. In my opinion, it is the band’s heaviest, darkest, fastest and most progressive album so far. In other words, it is epic death metal at its best. Also, the production is outstanding.

Naturally, I had very high expectations for the show, but at the same time I was a little afraid that it would not live up to the album standard. But, goodness gracious, it did. As mentioned earlier, Kari Olli stepped in when Friman was not available, and he did a very good job indeed. Markus Hirvonen proved that he is a monster behind the drums, bassist/vocalist Niilo Sevänen delivers massive growls and refined bass playing, and Markus Vanhala plays first-rate guitar. It is just so awesome to get to hear such an epic as Winter’s Gate in its entirety live. The wall of sound that is created is monumental when the song is performed so well. Insomnium has without a doubt developed a great deal as a live band in the last few years.

I have earlier only seen Insomnium at festivlas, so this was actually the first time I got to hear them play a full set. The band began with the whole of Winter’s Gate and then moved on to songs such as The Gale, Mortal Share, Drawn to Black, The Killjoy, Ephemeral, The Promethean Song, While We Sleep, Where the Last Wave Broke and wrapped the set up with the always marvellous Weighed Down with Sorrow. Above the Weeping World is thus still very much present in the setlist due to its ten year anniversary. It must have been a great set since my neck can barely hold my head where it is supposed to be today, and this is, as we all know, a very good standard measure of value.

If you, like me and other sensible human beings, enjoy Winter’s Gate, you have to go see Insomnium perform it live if you have a chance now when they play the whole thing in Finland or later during the European tour in January. We do not know when this will happen again, if it will happen again at all. Take the chance now, because this is some of the best acts Finland has to offer. But beware, Insomnium has now released the beasts of winter!

Festival report: Thursday 30.6 at Provinssi, Seinäjoki


Provinssi is one of the largest festivals in Finland, and the selection of artists and bands is very versatile. The drawing card this year was Rammstein, who performed on Saturday. Other bands and artists on the festival were Biffy Clyro, Bring Me the Horizon, Action Bronson, Silvana Imam and many others. I was only present on Thursday this year, mainly to see Nightwish, Insomnium, Flogging Molly and Five Finger Death Punch. This report will be heavily textual since I have not been able to find photos that I could get permission to use. I apologize for this inconvenience.

It has been too long since I last got to see Insomnium live, so I made my way to the festival area just in time to see the band’s gig at 5:30 p.m. I was a little worried that they would not draw so much attention, but to my relief quite a great deal of people showed up for the set. Insomnium played five songs from the highly acclaimed album Above the Weeping World for the reason that it is ten years since it was released.

  1. The Primeval Dark
  2. While We Sleep
  3. Change of Heart
  4. Only One Who Waits
  5. Down With the Sun
  6. Revelation
  7. The Killjoy
  8. Devoid of Caring
  9. The Gale
  10. Mortal Share
  11. Ephemeral

I am not absolutely sure if I got the middle songs in right order since I was distracted by the deluge that struck about half way through the set. However, these were the songs the band played. I was really hoping for The Killjoy, so I am very happy that I got to hear it even though I was struggling to get into the disposable raincoat at the same time. The heavy rain caused some problems for the band as well, since their crew had to move speakers and such further onto the stage because a lot of water came down on the front of the stage. Guitarist/clean vocalist Ville Friman‘s guitar was out for most part of Devoid of Caring, and Markus Vanhala‘s for a short while towards the end of the set, probably due to the fact that everything got wet. But as professionals, the band members kept going and they did it brilliantly. For some reason I have always thought that there is something very sympathetic with Insomnium. A great bunch of lads, in other words. Vocalist/bassist Niilo Sevänen is a great front man and he sincerely thanked the audience for staying despite the torrential rain. After all, heavy rain is always really metal, which the circle pit proved. (It always rains at Provinssi when I am there, so I assume it is because of my presence. My apologies to everyone who got soaked.)

As I said, I really enjoyed the selection of songs in Insomnium’s set. The Primeval Dark is a perfect opening song, and drummer Markus Hirvonen gets to shine and set the beat. While We Sleep and Revelation from the most recent release works very well live, and Ephemeral is a song with very good drive that wraps the set up nicely. Furthermore, The Killjoy and Mortal Share from Above the Weeping World are real killer songs live. I believe Insomnium is becoming a better and better live band with time, and they showed the audience in Seinäjoki what they are made of. Now, those of you who have read my previous posts may foretell that I am something of fanboy of this band. I admit this might cloud my sense of objectivity to some extent, but I am still very sure that Insomnium’s gig was great this day.

With soaked shoes completely wet jeans from the knees down, we walked towards the main stage to see Flogging Molly. The band took some of the blame for the weather and said that they brought it with them. I have not really ever listened to these guys, but I roughly knew what kind of music they play. Flogging Molly is an Irish-American band that plays what could be described as Celtic punk. In addition to the usual rock band instruments, the seven members of the band plays instruments such as banjo, accordion and violin, which I find really refreshing.

Flogging Molly entertained the audience with an energetic and cheerful performance. The band played songs such as Drunken Lullabies, The Hand of John L. Sullivan, Saints and Sinners, Requiem for a Dying Son and Tobacco Island. At the very end of the set when the band was about to leave the stage, the sun came out and Flogging Molly decided to do one more song for us just because of that. I believe it was actually a spontaneous move, since they had already thrown most of the beer (Guinness of course) into the crowd. Singer/guitarist Dave King really opened up during the gig, which made the atmosphere very pleasant. Flogging Molly’s set was in every way merry and the songs were well executed. I think everyone felt a little Irish afterwards.

Five Finger Death Punch is a band that I do not really fancy, mostly because of the frequently quite childish lyrics and pop refrains that do not really fit with the usually quite heavy verses. But I will try to be objective here. I  cannot deny that the Americans have quite a great deal of hits (for some reason), and the audience got to hear several of them, for example Never Enough, Bad Company, Wrong Side of Heaven and Jekyll and Hide. FFDP played their songs well, but I think singer Ivan Moody sings a little slipshodly off and on, like a steam engine that is running quite well but there are some pieces of coal that are damp.

Anyway, the crowd responded really well to the music and Moody claimed that it was one of the best audiences the band has had. He actually sounded quite sincere about this, so I do not think that it was something he says all the time. Thus, the band members seemed to enjoy themselves, which of course always makes a gig more attractive for the crowd as well. The highlight of FFDP’s set was for me The Wrong Side of Heaven with guitarist/backing vocalist Jason Hook  playing the acoustic guitar, since it was the song that stack out the most. Five Finger Death Punch was quite alright in the end.

Nightwish was the headliner of this Thursday. I have seen the symphonic metallers many times, but they never seize to amaze me live. It is pretty hard to grasp how such massive and epic music can be delivered so well live. Nightwish played many songs from the newest album Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which makes sense since it is the first album with present singer Floor Jansen.

  1. Shudder Before the Beautiful
  2. Yours Is an Empty Hope
  3. Ever Dream
  4. Élan
  5. Weak Fantasy
  6. Sahara
  7. Storytime
  8. I Want My Tears Back
  9. Nemo
  10. Ghost Love Score
  11. Last Ride of the Day
  12. The Greatest Show on Earth

Firstly, the sound was just great as usual. Nightwish must have some of the best sound engineers there is, because the sound has been amazing every single time I have seen the band live. In addition, the band members rarely do any mistakes, neither with song nor instruments, so the performance is indeed quite clinical on that front. Jansen’s and bassist/singer Marco Hietala‘s voices fit together very well, and the parts where the two sing together sound marvellous.  It is like a symbiosis such as a mycorrhiza. Jansen is highly versatile, which means that she can sing both the older Tarja songs and the Anette songs without any problems whatsoever. Furthermore, I think she manages to do them to her own in a very good way. All respect to Jansen. Touring drummer Kai Hahto also needs an honourable mention since he does an impeccable job behind the drums.

I enjoyed the fact that Nightwish ended with the twenty-minute epic The Greatest Show on Earth. I would say that it is quite unusual for any band to play those kinds of lengthy songs, and unusual things are usually interesting in my opinion. I was also happy that they played Sahara although I have heard it live before, but it is a great live song and one of the band’s heavier ones overall. Nemo could perhaps be dropped from the set since I am very tired of that song. On the other hand, I understand that the band needs some of the older hits in the set that is otherwise proportionately characterized by fairly recent songs. To summarize I will say that it is almost a crime not to have experienced Nightwish live if you like metal music and live in Finland. The band is a something of a national treasure, and seeing them live should really be in the curriculum of life.

Provinssi was very successful this year. The festival set a new record for visitors on one day when 31 000 people visited the festival on Saturday. I enjoyed Thursday even though I wore shoes that were soaked for about six hours after the flood during Insomnium. My feet looked like those of a dead man when I took off my socks afterwards, but rain is metal.

Insomnium – Shadows Of The Dying Sun


Shadows Of The Dying SunI must admit that when I received the promoversion of the new Insomnium album the first thing that came to my mind was “How weird is that they are releasing their album on spring?” Isn’t Insomnium just the type of music that should be released on the darkest days of autumn when everything is dark, it’s raining all the time, moods are low. But how happy I was to receive the album.

Now many of you who have been reading my reviews know that I don’t want to review anything before I have properly got inside of it. Right at this moment while writing this particular sentence it’s 5th time rolling the album since I received it and against my principles I am writing the review already. Well we are talking about Insomnium so 5 times is enough to write a review 🙂

Insomnium 2014

Insomnium is obviously known for their melodic touch but on this album that part has been taken into a complete different level. Songs like The Promethean Song for instance is so insanely beautiful and somehow brutal at the same time that it simply leaves the listener going like “wtf did I just listen?”.

Then there are songs like The River that starts as a really fast tempo song but around halfway turns completely upside down into this beautiful slow tempo song with awesome melodies.  It’s hooks like these that makes me love this band so much. You truly do not know what to expect. Yet you can recognize all the time that it’s Insomnium while listening.

Ephemeral, from which they released a video already some time ago is a very catchy song and probably was the obvious choice to showcase this album. But definitely not the best song on the album.

I think with this album Insomnium will not only keep all their old fans but also attract some new ones. They keep evolving album after album yet still remaining the same. If you ask me, that is an achievement 😀 Their new album is as safe to purchase as in the past was all the new Sentenced (RIP) material. You always knew that you would get but at the same time always discovered something new. And more importantly, something positive. There is beauty in the darkness!

Shadows Of The Dying Sun tracklist:

  1. The Primeval Dark
  2. While We Sleep
  3. Revelation
  4. Black Heart Rebellion
  5. Lose To Night
  6. Collapsing Words
  7. The River
  8. Ephemeral
  9. The Promethean Song
  10. Shadows Of The Dying Sun

Metal From Finland score: 9.5/10

Insomnium – Across The Dark


Insomnium Across The DarkMy dearest readers…picture this: Heart of winter. Late night. -25 degrees celcius outside. The only light in the outside comes from the full moon that reflects from the virgin white snow. In the middle of nowhere there is a cottage and you can only see dim light coming from one window. Through the window you can see a figure inside…standing on a chair…with a noose around his neck. I think I just described what in my opinion is Insomnium. How can something be at the same time so melodic and touching yet so god damn depressive?! Well…to me Insomnium is just that.

Their label Candlelight Records describes Across The Dark like this: “AMAZING FOURTH STUDIO ALBUM FROM FINNISH MELODIC DEATH METALLERS A PINCH OF DOOM, SOME THRASHING, A WHOLE LOT OF TIMELESS MELODIES AND PROGRESSIVE TWISTS AND THERE YOU HAVE IT: INGREDIENTS OF THE MASTERPIECE THE PERFECT MARRIAGE OF SCANDINAVIAN DEATH METAL WITH TRADITIONAL FINNISH TUNES”

Over the last decade Insomnium has slowly but surely made themselves a household name among melodic death metal bands. Formed in 1997 in a somnolent town of Joensuu, in eastern Finland, these stern men have since redefined the boundaries of the genre. Two highly acclaimed demos set the standard and in 2001 the band signed to UK label Candlelight Records.

InsomniumThe thing I respect about Insomnium is their ability to test boundaries (if they have any) and make music that at the same is melodic and brutal. In just few seconds you can be totally breathless from beautiful melodies that all of a sudden change onto brutal death metal. “Across The Dark” brings new elements when they took Jules Näveri from Profane Omen to sing clean vocals on few songs. This was the first time Insomnium had clean vocals on their albums although they already planned some on their predecessor “Above The Weeping World”. On livesituation those clean vocals will be sung by Ville Friman who handles guitars at the same time.

As an album “Across The Dark” is much more complex than any they’ve done before. The average length of songs are around 5-6 minutes. But although there are new things presented, this is so Insomnium…as pure as it can be. Insomnium used to be “Finland’s best kept secret” but it’s not anymore. And about time for them to get some recognition dammit.

Review: 9/10

Across The Dark tracklist:

  1. Equivalence
  2. Down With The Sun
  3. Where The Last Wave Broke
  4. The Harrowing Years
  5. Against The Stream
  6. Lay Of Autumn
  7. Into The Woods
  8. Weighed Down with Sorrow

Insomnium is:
Niilo Sevänen / Vocals, Bass
Ville Friman / Guitars
Ville Vänni / Guitars
Markus Hirvonen / Drums

Links:
http://www.insomnium.net
http://www.myspace.com/insomniumband
http://www.candlelightrecords.co.uk
http://www.metalfromfinland.com/Insomnium/