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Insomnium - "One For Sorrow" (CD)

Insomnium - "One For Sorrow" CD cover image

"One For Sorrow" track listing:

1. Inertia (3:43)
2. Through the Shadows (4:31)
3. Song of the Blackest Bird (7:29)
4. Only One Who Waits (5:17)
5. Unsung (5:04)
6. Every Hour Wounds (5:25)
7. Decoherence (3:18)
8. Lay the Ghost to Rest (7:46)
9. Regain the Fire (4:27)
10. One for Sorrow (6:07)

Reviewed by on October 20, 2011

"'One For Sorrow' is easily as good or better as anything from Insomnium’s discography, and continues the same beloved formula with a few minor tweaks."

Taking a swing at full-length album number five, Finland’s Insomnium again hits the mark square on target with “One For Sorrow,” another trek into melancholic and melodic death metal. The music hasn’t changed much since the last album, “Across the Dark,” and those few changes that were made are generally for the better.

As always, Insomnium keeps up the basic European melodic death metal sound, having strong similarities to other heavy weights in the genre like Dark Tranquillity. The style is easily recognizable and continues with the same overall atmosphere throughout the album, which does make some of the tracks blend together, but each song is more distinct and unique than on the last release. Only occasionally does the formula get a significant overhaul, like on tracks such as “Lay the Ghost to Rest,” which brings to mind a bit of Amorphis with the swirling, smoky guitar work.

One noticeable change up from past efforts comes in the form of the vocal delivery. While remaining in the same basic vein as before, the death growls are significantly more guttural and offer a more extreme sound. To offset the brutality in the screams, most of the tracks also feature a smattering of clean backing vocals. They never dominate the songs, so longtime fans won’t feel alienated and the tracks never completely leave death metal behind, but the clean singing is more adventurous this time around and goes in more daring direction to challenge the audience.

The instrumental leaning tracks on the album deserve a special mention as being significantly better than the standard opener or interludes to be found on other albums in this same basic style. “Decoherence” shifts gears towards the ambient and the bittersweet, sounding like something you might hear from a rock focused band like Anathema. Although featuring some minor vocal work, the opening track also stands out for its dark-yet-hopeful atmosphere and great use of a mostly instrumental sound.

“One For Sorrow” is easily as good or better as anything from Insomnium’s discography, and continues the same beloved formula with a few minor tweaks. Fans of the last four albums will easily love the new offering, and anyone looking to try out melodic death metal would do well to start off with something as polished as Insomnium’s latest opus.

Highs: More extreme vocals, great mix of death metal and melody.

Lows: As with many melodic death metal bands there is a bit of bleed through between the songs.

Bottom line: As always, Insomnium delivers the melodic death metal goods with another stand-out album.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)