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Insomnium - "Shadows Of The Dying Sun" (CD)

Insomnium - "Shadows Of The Dying Sun" CD cover image

"Shadows Of The Dying Sun" track listing:

1. The Primeval Dark
2. While We Sleep
3. Revelation
4. Black Heart Rebellion
5. Lose To Night
6. Collapsing Words
7. The River
8. Ephemeral
9. The Promethean Song
10. Shadows Of The Dying Sun

Reviewed by on April 15, 2014

"This is the same melodic death metal with a dark atmosphere you've come to expect from the band, but interpreted in new ways. It's not so much a completely new Insomnium as an updated and redefined version of the band."

When it comes to music, I'm a big fan of innovation and redefining genre boundaries. Even if an avant-garde or experimental band is creating insane abrasive noise that's difficult to listen through, at least its trying something different, and that counts for a lot with me. Stagnation is an issue in many metal sub-genres, from power metal bands pumping out the same album in droves to the exact same harsh/clean breakdown used by every last melodic metalcore group out there.

On the other side of that equation, sometimes its nice to know what you're getting ahead of time, and that's where Finnish outfit Insomnium delivers. The band has been reliably putting out high quality albums one after another, but the main sound doesn't change much between releases. The band isn't going to suddenly do something crazy and experimental that will alienate existing fans, and sometimes that's also a good thing in metal.

Enter “Shadows of the Dying Sun,” where Insomnium offers up the best of both worlds: this is the same melodic death metal with a dark atmosphere you've come to expect from the band, but interpreted in new ways. It's not so much a completely new Insomnium as an updated and redefined version of the band.

There is a bigger focus on the melodic elements this time around, with more clean singing (although don't freak out – this isn't Opeth's “Heritage” - the death growls and heavy riffs are still prevalent). Traditional guitar solos show up quite frequently for a change of pace from the gloomy atmospheric segments, and the band even throws in a smattering of blast beats. This is fairly new territory for the group, and the blasts are used both over atmospheric parts (which is a trip to listen to) and in the heavier segments.

As a whole, Insomnium is less dreary and more interesting this time around, but without radically changing the core sound or completely leaving behind what made people like the band in the first place. Coupled with a top-notch, crystal clear production, “Shadows of the Dying Sun” is another stellar offering from the European troupe, with the added bonus of not being a total rehash of previous material, opening up the band to new fans.

Highs: Insomnium updates its core sound without giving up it's musical base, and the production is amazing.

Lows: Some of the slower parts could use a tempo boost, and there is still a strong feeling of the previous albums even with the new twists.

Bottom line: It's another reliably excellent album from Insomnium, but with some interesting new twists this time around.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)