Insomnium - Above the Weeping World
Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (53'00")
Release year: 2006
Insomnium, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

In a rare convergence of the label declaring this a worldwide priority release, significant fans’ anticipation and my own interest Finland’s Insomnium Above the Weeping World bubbled to the top of my review pile. It is hard to believe now that the band’s debut In the Halls of Awaiting back in September 2002 was one of my first reviews for this site. Does the time fly or what? Nevertheless, even though all I do is yuck about music releases, I feel somewhat proud for “discovering” this band, and keeping up with it, all through the 2004 Since the Day It All Came Down till their current upcoming release. I guess 20,000 records sold by the band testify to a few others “discovering” Insomnium alongside me. Deserving of the success, these young Finns declared outright their Gothenburg influences, processed them honestly en route to creating their own signature melodic death metal sound.

So what is theInsominum’s secret? In the modest opinion of this reviewer the band searched for what was closer to their heart to find the winning formula. Insomnium is not the fastest band you will find, although moments of The Mind’s I-like thrashing is to be found on Mortal Share and Drawn to Black. The band also does not go for the simplistic outright radio-friendly catchiness, their melodies are convoluted and multilayered. The music on Above the Weeping World is some of the most dense melodic death metal you can find. This is truly a wall of sound due, perhaps, to rhythm guitar being somewhat detuned, with the lead constantly filling in. To go hand-in-hand with such profound melodic heaviness Insomnium weaves in a touch of melancholy, something that all best Finnish bands, from Amorphis to Sentenced, always possessed in their arsenal. Beginning with the debut, just about every cut on an Insomnium album has a quiet moment, acoustic guitars or whispery vocals, as a changeup to Niilo Sevanen’s very low passionate growl, the closest impersonation of Mikael Stanne you will ever hear. Melodic muscle intermingled with classic brooding Finnish sadness – what is not to like, especially if the band continued to refine their execution? Yes, with Above the Weeping World Insomnium did not transform much. They have honed their songwriting, but never to the point of going with simplistic structures, and invested heavily into production and sound.

Upon the first few run-throughs I wanted to take most of the album in. Piano riff developing into a guitar harmony of the tremendous proportions over the double bass and rolling snare opens the album truly at The Gale force. Superstrong melodic riffs of Mortal Share and Drawn to Black, flowing melody of At the Gates of Sleep which makes me want to visit Joensuu and understand why this Finnish town is so inspirational, Amorphis style lead in Last Statement and almost gothic rock opening to In the Groves of Death – all these are easy first attraction points. Further digging reveals finer details. Markus Hirvonen drumming has progressed, so that he can not only lay the foundation, but percussively support garbling guitar in At the Gates of Sleep, easily switching between more reserved vs. explosive double bass parts. The Killjoy is choppy with its verses and refrains, but is glidingly smooth in the instrumental bridges, and although I wanted In the Groves of Death to repeat the Norse melody of the In the Halls of Awaiting title track (still my favorite Insomnium song), I can accept it for the sheer amount of melancholy contained within (and, yes, that includes the rain sound as well). It is interesting that my list of the “killing” songs on Above the Weeping World kept changing, until I came into acceptance with all of them, including the Character-like Last Statement or older In Flames blueprint follower Devoid of Caring. I’d still say though that the first five songs on the album is its finest hour.

Is Above the Weeping World Insomnium’s best album to date? Time will show whether these songs will have more longevity, but it is undoubtedly their best sounding yet. Those who were on board with the Insomnium direction will not be disappointed, melodic death fans in general will also find a lot to like about this album. The metalheads of the lighter breed and metalcore kids will be surprised by the heftiness and deeper feelings Gothenburg sound should be all about. And treading the water of the Insomnium website reveal four young man, real people with personalities and aspirations, for whom making music is an important calling in life, but whose otherwise lives proceed via their education and other interesting career choices.

Killing Songs :
The Gale, Mortal Share, Drawn ot Black, At the Gates of Sleep

Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Insomnium that we have reviewed:
Insomnium - Anno 1696 reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Insomnium - Heart Like a Grave reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Insomnium - Winter's Gate reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Insomnium - One For Sorrow reviewed by Khelek and quoted 86 / 100
Insomnium - Across the Dark reviewed by Dan and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
16 readers voted
Your quote was: 95.
Change your vote

There are 8 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Dec 25, 2006 5:47 am
View and Post comments