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Music / Insomnium

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Where the last wave broke.
For the part of man
Is to take the sombre path
Mortal Share , from Above the Weeping World
Insomnium is a Finnish Melodic Death Metal band which formed in 1997. They have garnered much acclaim over the course of their active time and have become one of the more well recognized faces of modern melodeath, as well as titans of the genre in their home country. They are known for their characterized melodic death metal sound that blends doom and progressive metal to create dark, melancholic, and atmospheric songs, with themes and extremely erudite lyrics that focus on sorrow, darkness, and nature.

They are also somewhat known for sharing one of their (three) guitarists with fellow Finnish melodic death metal band Omnium Gatherum, and tour with them frequently (if only for convenience sake).

Current Line-Up:

  • Niilo Sevänen - harsh vocals, bass (1997 - present)
  • Ville Friman - guitars, clean vocals (1997 - present)
  • Markus Hirvonen - drums (1997 - present)
  • Markus Vanhala - guitars (2011 - present)
  • Jani Liimatainen - guitars, clean vocals (2019 - present)

Former Members:

  • Tapani Pesonen − drums, guitars (1997−1998)
  • Timo Partanen − guitars (1998−2001)
  • Ville Vänni − guitars (2001−2011)

Main Discography:

  • In the Halls of Awaiting (2002)
  • Since the Day it All Came Down (2004)
  • Above the Weeping World (2006)
  • Across the Dark (2009)
  • One for Sorrow (2011)
  • Shadows of the Dying Sun (2014)
  • Winter's Gate (2016)
  • Heart like a Grave (2019)
  • Argent Moon (2021) (EP)
  • Anno 1696 (2023)

The band contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Black Metal: Have historically flirted with elements of this, and Anno 1696 has particularly prominent black metal elements and borders on full melodic black metal at times.
  • Book Ends: The opening track of Above the Weeping World, "The Gale", begins with the sound of rain. The closing track "In the Groves of Death" ends with the same sound of rain.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Longtime guitarist Ville Friman works as a research associate and lecturer at the University of York and has been living in the UK since 2012 which is why his songwriting contributions on the band's studio albums has been reducing over the years. Ville's responsibilities to his day job is the reason why Jani Liimatainen joined the band in 2019.
  • Concept Album: Winter's Gate is a concept album consisting of one 40 minute long song. The story follows a group of Vikings who set off on a journey to an island west of Ireland in search of treasure.
    • Homage: Their album format is actually a homage to the Edge of Sanity album Crimson. Edge of Sanity frontman and renowned producer Dan Swanö is also responsible for the mixing and mastering of Winter's Gate.
  • Doom Metal: While not outright melodic doom/death in the vein of fellow countrymen Swallow The Sun, they definitely flirt with doom-y tendencies.
  • Epic Rocking: More than half of their songs are over five or six minutes long with "Winter's Gate" (40:00), "In the Halls of Awaiting" (10:55), "In the Groves of Death" (10:08), "Lay of the Autumn" (9:08), "Disengagement"(8:39), and "Godforsaken" (8:36) being among their longest.
  • Instrumentals: "Nocturne", "Resonance", and "Decoherence". The Ephemeral EP also has "The Emergence", "The Swarm" and "The Descent" which thematically represent birth, life and death.
  • Lead Bassist: Niilo Sevanen, the band's harsh vocalist, is a type B.
  • Melodic Death Metal
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted twice in a row. In their original line-up, both of the guitarists were named Ville. After Ville Vänni left, his replacement was named Markus Vanhala, which is also the name of their long-time drummer Markus Hirvonen.
  • Power Ballad: All four of the songs on the Argent Moon EP released in 2021 are all ballads or softer and slower songs as they were written during the COVID-19 Pandemic and per Niilo: "We wanted to see what kind of new music might grow in the darkness and misery of the quarantine."
  • Progressive Metal/Progressive Death Metal: The band have drawn much influence from the genres over their career.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: A death metal band with lyrics so literary you'd think they came from a poetry book. They even have plenty of concept songs based on actual poetry.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Guitarist Ville Friman often sings and layers his clean vocals alongside Niilo's harsh ones.
  • Uncommon Time: "Mortal Share" is, apart from the bridge section, played in 7/8 time.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: If you're feeling down in the dumps, listen to the "Weather the Storm" bonus track from One for Sorrow (which features Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity)