February 2023 Album of the Month: Insomnium – Anno 1696Thursday, 16th March 2023
Our February 2023 Album of the Month pick is Anno 1696, the new platter from long-running Finnish melancholic melodic death metallers Insomnium. Anno 1696 is a concept record about the “Great Famine” that resulted in the loss of a third of the Finnish population in 1696, as well as Aino Kallas’ folk story Sudenmorsian (translation – The Wolf’s Bride) about a woman named Aaro, who is turned into a werewolf by Satan in a classic morality tale. Beyond that, Anno 1696 is another prime offering from one of Finland’s most enduring and reliable acts, something Dan Barkasi shared in his album review:
Ultimately, there is a lot of typical Insomnium here – big melodies, intricate compositions, guitar virtuosity. However, the band takes chances throughout, with an extensive amount of vocal approaches, seemingly infinite variance in time signatures, and timely acoustic work; “The Unrest” being the most pronounced example. Admittedly, this album took about six or so playthroughs to fully sink in – a testament to the intricate, thickly layered compositions that are the essence of the album. Anno 1696 provides plenty for long-term fans to sink their teeth into, while also being brave enough to go outside of their comfort zone and not let genre confines stifle creativity. Insomnium successfully walks the line of remaining fresh while not abandoning their core sound, adamantly proving they’re far from running out of inspiration.