Insomnium - _Since the Day It All Came Down_
(Candlelight, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (10 out of 10)
When the distant gong of church bells first sounded across eight-tracks and record players the world over some three decades ago, it was clear that heavy music and melody would forever remain entwined in a relationship that more often than not would not be mutually exclusive. As time passed, bands like Iron Maiden developed and laid down the further groundwork that would see classical influences married to metal, and in turn this blueprint was later adopted by a glut of European extreme acts, before gradually trickling through into the rest of the world. Unfortunately as with all good ideas, it soon became an institution, and an increasingly dull one at that, which made the arrival of bands like Opeth -- who proved that the original abstraction still had much to offer from an artistic point of view -- so much more vital. And almost like the de rigueur that greeted the arrival of _Morningrise_ and _Orchid_, Insomnium's sophomore release is an album that could potentially be regarded as perhaps a milestone for many years to come.

That _Since the Day It All Came Down_ blows away the band's already impressive debut release (_In the Halls of Awaiting_) in just about every conceivable category is pretty much implied from the start here. Indeed one can only marvel at exactly how far this Finnish quartet has come since forming in 1997. While _ItHoA_ may have hinted at the Scandinavian folk, classical and progressive elements that make up a large part of Insomnium's death metal, _StDIACD_ reveals an understanding of dynamics and songwriting craft that within their genre is virtually without parallel. In the same way "Resonance" is an introverted and sullen piece, stating its intent through the use of primarily a single acoustic guitar, so "Daughter of the Moon" is an aggressive, imposing beast, replete with duelling guitar melodies not unlike those heard on Amorphis' _Tales From the Thousand Lakes_. "Death Walked the Earth", on the other hand, is pure Scandinavian melodic death metal, but retains the band's progressive and experimental flair.

With so little to fault on only their second outing, Insomnium have clearly created a situation of tremendous pressure when it comes time to produce a follow-up to what can only be described as a bona fide masterpiece. Be that as it may however, _StIACD_ is nothing short of spectacular in every sense of the word, and as far as albums for 2004 go this already has my vote as perhaps the highlight of the year.


(article published 19/4/2004)

5/31/2004 J Smit Insomnium: Sunday Morning Hangover Blues
2/14/2010 P Azevedo 8.5 Insomnium - Across the Dark
12/26/2006 P Azevedo 9.5 Insomnium - Above the Weeping World
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