INSOMNIUM’s “Where The Last Wave Broke” brought about the fear of a surging and influential trend. The trend I am referring to is the use of clean vocals as backup to the lead growling vocals. In almost every case, the bands partaking generally crash and burn; an unfortunate dynamic that has witnessed many successful acts eventually destruct. In this regard, it’s rare for any veteran band to actually succeed with the novel addition of clean vocals. Finland’s INSOMNIUM have come close to sounding cheesy, but luckily the clean vocals they use are tactfully kept to a minimum and not used in every track; they slowly ease the additional backup into their already astounding style. A trend that should be emulated.
“One For Sorrow” is just another exceptional addition to a list of spine-chilling Melodic Death Metal albums put out by INSOMNIUM. This band’s artistic ability to create something heavy and beautiful gives me goose bumps every time.
The album has simplicity to its technicality; each instrument is treated with equality without the need for masturbatory show-boating. It takes a group of well-tuned musicians to create an album with balance and this group of Fins does it with ease. The only downside to sticking to what you know is that for many, it does tend to get old over time; luckily for INSOMNIUM, this is not the case.
Although they remain true to their defined sound, INSOMNIUM still dare to progress and grow. The addition of an instrumental track, “Decoherence,” (a personal favorite) brings a new sound; slowed down with the aim of bringing flight to the heart.
Another development is their use of clean vocals in six of the ten tracks - “Meandering Through The Shadows,” “Every Hour Wounds,” “Weather The Storm,” “Lay The Ghost To Rest,” “Regain The Fire,” and “One For Sorrow.”
There is an ongoing concept throughout their lyrics that speak of heartache, but also strength. This can be both empowering and therapeutic. Personally they are the band I have playing in my headphones when I paint, but they’re also one of the last bands I would listen to when it’s time to hit the gym.
The subtle beauty of “Decoherence” has made it one of three personal favorites. The other two: “Weather The Storm” is the embodiment of courage with powerful riffing and heavy bass lines, while “Regain The Fire” remains traditional while incorporating a clean set of vocals that only take voice during a very small portion.
The opening song, “Inertia,” begins slow with the softer sound of keyboards, but intensifies with pummelling drums and chugging guitars. It’s this tension built through soft and heavy counterparts that allow INSOMNIUM to have such a unique sound.
I would suggest “One for Sorrow” for the skill, creativity, and musical talent. If you are familiar with INSOMNIUM you will not be let down, and if you have not heard them before, this is a great album to start on.
(Online October 15, 2011)