Insomnium - Since The Day It All Came Down
Insomnium from Finland released a very strong debutalbum in early 2002, and the time has now come to follow it up. This album continues pretty much here the last one left us, but the main difference is that the songs are a little more laidback this time, with a bit "nicer and cozier approach", and are leaning even more this time towards the typical finnish, melancholic side. The tempo has decreased a bit and room has also been given for some progressive elements, but the main sound picture is still the same and you immediatly recognise that this is Insomnium.
After the good and promising opener The Day It All Came Down that goes in the style of the faster, early Dark Tranquillity, it immediatly slows down a bit with a couple of more heavier tracks. Daughter Of The Moon is a heavy, nicely driven track in early Amorphis/In Flames style and The Moment Of Reckoning could easily have been one of the midtempo songs on Whoracle by In Flames, and the same goes for the albums best track Closing Words and also Death Walked The Earth. Put a blindfold on me, and I would be mistaken every day of the week.
As you can see, there are not many sentences above that does not contain at least one reference to another well established band in this genre. Unfortunatly that can't be avoided when listening to Insomnium anno 2004. It was obvious enough on the debut, but there was something that gave at least me some hope of a future development and creation of a personal style and sound on that one. Instead of taking the opportunity of doing so, they have instead stagnated and seem to have more or less settled with just delivering good songs in this style instead of developing the concept.
The grades can for that reason not be anything else than "good". Nothing more, nothing less. No song really lifts or stick out either, which I think a few did on the debut, and that also contributes to the held back grade.
For the fans of the old style, Bereavment is a track that could have come right out of the last album. An uptempo song with a good harmony lead backed up by a juicy riff in the verse, and a catchy chorus.
The vocals are one of Insomniums biggest assets. They are a perfect mixture of Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity and early Amorphis, and are a delight to listen to. They are also a perfect example of how good growling vocals can be when they are clear, yet strong and brutal, but you can actually hear every word he sings. An artform in itself. On this album they also use clean vocals in a majority of the songs, but only for very short moments which I salute, since overusing that kind of things make it unlistenable. Here it works, but since I am not a big fan of that I can't judge if it sounds especially good or not. To me it sounds like most clean vocalists in bands of this type. Especially In Flames.
All in all a good album, and something to check up on for you who are of the opinion that In Flames and Dark Tranquillity have their best years behind them, and are longing for the good, old years. If you on top of that are a fan of the melancholy atmospheres and melodies that Amorphis and Sentenced provide - than you are safe. This is the album for you.