Insomnium - Across the Dark
Melodic Death Metal
8 songs (45'41")
Release year: 2009
Insomnium, Candlelight
Reviewed by Dan
Album of the month
Insomnium is one of those bands that succeeded right from the start in coming up with a definitely winning formula and quietly perfected it on each and every successive album while being extremely wary of not drifting a single bit from that oh-so-damn-good initial sound. Now, depending on your expectations you might either wholeheartedly welcome and embrace from head to toes their latest album, Across the Dark, or you might disregard it as “yet another Insomnium”. At this point your reviewer would like to ask you to remember another band, namely Opeth, of which once – around the era of the Blackwater Park album - was said that it doesn’t bring anything new to the table anymore. In retrospective such statements were immensely wrong and obviously ignorant of where the whole interest of Opeth’s music lies: the richness of the composition is such that you just can’t get enough of it in a single album and once into it you cannot possibly get bored, with every new listening of every new album there’s a whole new universe to recreate and to live. The same is true for Insomnium and the brand of Melodic Death Metal they have created.

There are more qualified names on this website than yours truly to describe the nuances of Insomnium’s distinct sound which is fully displayed also on Across the Dark. Therefore your reviewer will shamelessly borrow them from fellow reviewer Alex’s take on one of their previous albums : “The band also does not go for the simplistic outright radio-friendly catchiness, their melodies are convoluted and multilayered. The music […] 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”. Just to put it differently: listening to Insomnium is like sleepflying at very low altitude with your eyes wide open and getting the big picture of our mundane world; depending on the time of day of your trip, you can either get a feeling of sadness and melancholy if it’s on a rainy autumn day, or you can find yourself smiling of optimism if it’s on a sunny Sunday morning. And judging by the booklet of Across the Dark, it is the innocent figure of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince that will be your faithful companion on this new trip.

To get back down to earth, there are some subtle and quite nuanced evolutions on this album compared to the previous Insomnium offerings. The production is cleaner and the most delightful part of it is that it gives much more space to the bass guitar to the point of leaving it to lead the entire melodic line by itself – see the grand finale on The Lay of Autumn. In the same song the more attentive listener will also distinguish subtle sparkles that sprinkle the drumming and lead guitar; your reviewer actually heard the debuts of a lead guitar and drum solos, something rather unexpected but very interesting. There’s also a somewhat groovy side in the rhythm guitar work on the Gothenburg styled Where The Last Waves Broke, a song that also incorporates in its chorus some clean vocals which, while not being exceptionally transcendental, sound quite good on top of “very low passionate growls”, to quote Alex again. The album has one downside nevertheless; The Lay of Autumn is such a good and absorbing piece of music that it leaves the listener without much energy or interest to appreciate the two songs that follow it, Into The Woods and Weighted Down With Sorrow.

Across the Dark is a solid release which definitely confirms that whenever you pick an Insomnium album the quality is always at rendez-vous.
Killing Songs :
Down With The Sun, Where The Last Wave Broke, The Lay Of Autumn
Dan quoted 87 / 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 - Above the Weeping World reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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