Monday, May 27, 2024

Insomnium release another snow-topped conceptual masterpiece

Finnish Melodic Death Metal legends Insomnium return with their 9th studio album, Anno 16969. The album is another conceptual release similar to Winter’s Gate, it doesn’t quite hit the same highs, which isn’t surprising considering Winter’s Gate is one of the best Melodeath albums ever made, it does expand their ever-shifting sound and songwriting which are totally unique in the metal scene as a whole.

Anno 1696 is similar to Winter’s Gate in that it’s best experienced in one piece. Winter’s Gate cannot be broken up into pieces, but Anno 1696 features some great singles that stand alone and will soon become staples of the genre playlists. The record opens with the title track ‘Anno 1696’ which starts with acoustic guitars before rushing into an almost black metal style arrangement that has immense power from harsh vocalist Niilo Savänen and that aggression maintains throughout, even with beautiful accompanying melodies.

Insomnium’s best quality is their ability to create atmosphere but that’s not to say that it takes precedence over songwriting or crafting a heavy song, everything works together in perfect harmony. The singles on Anno 1696 are home to some of the best moments on the record, ‘White Christ’ has some of the most majestic dual guitar melodies on the album and perhaps even in the band’s back catalogue and ‘Lillian’ is a modern Melodeath classic in the making with its classic Gothenburg death metal guitar work.

The scope and scale of some of the tracks on this album are awe-inspiring, some of them reaching beyond 8 minutes long without any of them feeling their length, ‘Starless Paths’ features some really aggressive riffing and harsh vocals and the closing track, ‘The Rapids’, has so many twists and turns in its instrumentals and songwriting that it ends up invoking a mighty river running across a snow-capped tundra.

With Anno 1696 coming only a few weeks after In Flames’ fantastic comeback album, we could be witnessing a Melodic Death Metal renaissance after the genre’s popularity started to wane in late 2010. It truly is a glorious time for the genre and things seem only to be getting better for Insomnium and Anno 1696 could be an early contender for Album of the Year.

Anno 1696 is available now via Century Media.

Lamestream Lydia
Lamestream Lydia
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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Finnish Melodic Death Metal legends Insomnium return with their 9th studio album, Anno 16969. The album is another conceptual release similar to Winter's Gate, it doesn't quite hit the same highs, which isn't surprising considering Winter's Gate is one of the best Melodeath albums...Insomnium release another snow-topped conceptual masterpiece