Hello again!

My name is Ash, and today we have melodic doom, or doom melodeath — decide for yourself, since this did not affect my listening experience, which was more than positive and pleasant. It was just the very combination of doom-metal ductility and sadness with melodic aggressiveness and grooviness, which you can’t hear from anyone else nowadays. If you, ladies and gentlemen, at least like these genres, or if you just like sad songs from the “heavier” category, then this album is for you.

This is Insomnium, the Finnish metal band that I stumbled upon rather randomly and superficially, so I can’t say anything concrete about their previous work. But I am able to say that we could hear musicians from this group on the Belzebubs album – Pantheon of something there (I forgot, but I will attach the review, of course, here). Certainly, none of the gentlemen admits that he plays and vocalizes in the cartoonish symphonic-black band as well, but the similarity of vocals really speaks for itself. So, my impressions and expectations of the album were formed solely by singles, which finally gave strong melodies and riffs, and not just monotonous banging or cliché melodic riffs, from which I’ve got really nauseous already. As a result, I was expecting a similar impression from the whole album, where we will be given a melodic approach to composing and a doom-ish approach to performance. And I was not disappointed in this regard. Now I’ll explain what I mean, but for now I’d like you to listen to the title single itself:

So, “Heart Like a Grave” is another album of the gentlemen, which (I suppose) once again tells gloomy-melancholy-depressive stories about people, tired of everything (and themselves), who lost everything they held dear and unable to recover it. As the band-members themselves say, this album is an image of Finnish melancholy, which is just as dark-grayish and cold-depressed as it seems.

Here we’ve got lyrics about a very cold Scandinavian environment full of snow, wind and widespread coldness, among which other people’s tragedies and personal self-loathing take place. Here we can see the image of one character who lives in this world and each time chooses the worst from two evils: as is actually being sung in the track “Valediction”, where he chooses the “darkest” road leading somewhere from the burning world.

In general, in its form, the lyrics remind me of something similar to Andersen’s tales if he wrote them more depressive and more mature in content. The scenes described here like the death of a child in the snow on Christmas morning and the internal battles of human characters, full of aggression / anxiety / pain in the midst of cold and harsh nature. Moreover, much better and deeper the lyrics just describe nature and create an atmosphere of merciless winter, in which no one can be happy.

But if you are unable to understand the content of the text due to the language barrier – it does not matter! Moreover, even knowing the language will not really help you to fully get into the aforementioned meaning of the text, since it is really vague af. However, the music content of the album will give you the aforementioned mood in abundance. All of this is due to the fact that the melodic composition and doom performance of the album duplicate all this sad fatalism and permeate the listener with it with the help of guitar parts in the first place.

There are no quick passages here, everything is at an average-to-slow pace for a more groovy rhythm, which allows almost every track to last for an average of 5-6 minutes. Each of these songs revolves around one really punchy and memorable solo-guitar “lick” (melody, that is), which is being repeated several times, dynamically changing it with traditional melodic structures. And yes, every time through a different melodic solution. If sketching out an approximate diagram, we’ll have an “intro-couplet-prechorus-chorus” two times, then “bridge-postbridge-chorus-outro” and naturally, each of these structural pieces is not a recycle of each other since everything is as original as possible, while logically transitioning into each other just perfectly. In general, if you turn on the album and do not pay attention to the tracklist, you can safely get lost in the impression “so, right now, is this a new track starting or is it a new section of the current one?” In short, I really love and appreciate such a variety, and therefore I advise you to check it, as well.

Vocally here everything is simple, understandable and without unnecessary stuff – extreme vox serves as a more uniform way of delivering lyrics while an interesting, clean one flies in where you least expect it, which creates a certain “wow effect”. And therefore, it turns out that melodic guitar structures and melodies merge perfectly with doom vocals (although there are darker and heavier vocals in the doom genre, but we are not talking about that now).

As a result, I was very, very pleased with this album, because I had long wanted a melodic-death metal not about depression and not about empty aggression on everyone and everything. I just lacked the atmosphere and mood, which could be felt without any words. And these gentlemen gave a truly unique listening experience – where the acoustic guitars explode instantly with heavy riffs and extreme vocals, and not with traditional doom chants or clean vocals. And most importantly, the guitars were finally allowed to get the primary focus in music this year, showing that they can not just cut fifths, breakdown zeros and rush arpeggios on and off. Finally, we heard guitar melodies, from the epicness of which I even got goosebumps occasionally (the track Mute Is My Sorrow is a confirmation of this, for example).

But I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t spit poison on the album’s timing – it really could have been slightly shorter. A little bit, because not all tracks needed to play 5 minutes or longer. And still, this does not spoil the final impression – a very good work that you like to listen to just in such a demi-season-autumn mood. 4.5 out of 5.

(Thanks for reading till the end! Leave a comment about whether you listened to this album or not, whether you liked it or not and about what should I review next. Or tell me what you thought on Twitter.
Plus, I stream on Twitch occasionally, so you can ask me anything live if you catch me there. And now, that’s it for today, thank you once again and I’ll see you in the next one! Goodbye!)

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