Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun (Century Media)

Sunday, 20th April 2014
Rating: 9/10

This review could probably just read as follows: New Insomnium sounds like Insomnium, go buy it!  Insomnium has reached the point in their storied career where a new album is no longer like a box of chocolates, you pretty much know what you are going to get.  However, like fine wine, Insomninum has only gotten more refined and quite frankly, better with age.

Shadows of the Dying Sun works because Insomnium sticks to what they do best (and they are one of the best at what they do).  Sweeping melancholic melodies by the truckload and Sevanen’s emotive roars have defined the band for about a decade now.  Over the past few releases though, the band has focused in on creating some strong choruses to match their gloomy atmosphere.  While some may feel that it makes the songs “happier,” the mood changes are never anything that feels out of the band’s playing field.  In fact, some of Insomnium’s strongest choruses can be found on Shadows.  The glum clean vocals of “Lose to Night” and “The Promethean Song” are downright infectious yet never stoop to those mainstream (read “sell-out”) levels of many in the genre.

The one little change-up from previous efforts is the usage of some more aggressive and upbeat moments.  Songs like “Collapsing Words” and the previously released “Ephemeral” are destined to get some fists pumping to a degree that Insomnium usually doesn’t go for but it does help to break up the sorrow-soaked songs that the band exceed in writing.  Speaking of which, Insomnium has also upped their quotient in the grandeur front.  Always one for a sense of grief-stricken majesty, the one-two punch of “The Primeval Dark” and “While We Sleep” is sure to remind us all that Insomnium is truly one of the top in this regard (along with mates Omnium Gatherum).  “The River” is sure to please on those same lines, but the strongest moment goes to the wicked solo on “The Promethean Song.”  That one is sure to be a crowd pleaser if played live.

With ever so slight changes beneath the surface, Shadows of the Dying Sun is sure to please long-time fans even if it plays it straight.  No one is really expecting a major game-changer at this point but Insomnium executes their material with a precision and consistency that few can.  There is a reason that these guys are the go-to band for melodic death metal in 2014.

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