Title: Heart Like A Grave
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date: 4th October 2019
Label: Century Media
Since 1997, INSOMNIUM have always been dedicated to the same theme: melodic death. Gradually the Finns became the leading figures of this genre and came to the fore with ‘Shadows Of The Dying Sun’ (2014) and ‘Winter’s Gate’ (2016). Even today, INSOMNIUM have no intention of changing their philosophy. Even the retreat of guitarist, singer, composer and founding member Ville Friman, who can no longer combine his job as a lecturer in York University and his tours, does not leave the Finns in despair. The solution: a third guitarist, a kind of understudy. For the band there was no one else to consider than Jani Liimatainen (ex-SONATA ARCTICA, THE DARK ELEMENT), because he already was on tour several times as guitarist for the band.
Their eighth album, ‘Heart Like A Grave’, is a tribute to Nordic poems and stories as well as the band’s regularity. INSOMNIUM delivers what the audience expects: epic melodies. While ‘Shadows Of The Dying Sun’ gave more emphasis to clear vocals and ‘Winter’s Gate’ presented INSOMNIUM’s appeal for concepts, ‘Heart Like A Grave’ has a much more traditional approach. The small sound and structure experiments are passé: ‘Heart Like A Grave’ brings the listener back into their comfort zone - starting with the album layout, with its ten tracks and the traditional three-minute intro song.
The opener ‘Wail Of The North’ seems like a continuation of ‘Winter’s Gate’ and builds the perfect bridge between the two works. Already the next song ‘Valediction’, which was also released as a single, inspires because of the overwhelming guitars, melancholic sounds and leads, which are inspired by folksy music. ‘Neverlast’ is an academic example of the genre that INSOMNIUM has co-developed and still dominates, a mixture of galvanized riffs, intoxicating melodies and almost atmospheric folk tracks. But you have to praise the production of the album: With ‘Pale Morning Star’ it is possible to hear all elements clear and distinct, from the acoustic guitar to the keyboard in the background of a Black Metal inspired riff.
The next track ‘And Bells They Toll’ rings in a little breather. The tempo has been reduced a bit (yes, you could even call it a bit more doomish) and the chorus is supported by a bright and clear voice. Here the Finns succeed in hitting the emotional chord perfectly. The following title ‘The Offering’ ties in perfectly with the previous song and has what it takes to become a hit. ‘Mute Is My Sorrow’ and ‘Twilight Trails’ with their beautifully melodic riffs provide goose bump moments again and again. Then comes the title track of the album, which is truly a masterpiece. Even the beginning makes you sink into humility when the acoustic guitar leads into the song. And then it starts, with an ingenious riff that lets the listener drift into another world. In addition, the charismatic, deep vocals of Niilo Sevänen and the epic clean vocals; a song for eternity. A real highlight and probably the best song on the album.
At the end the listener can expect an almost eight minute instrumental: ‘Karelia’. So the name of the landscape where INSOMNIUM come from. And ‘Karelia’ captivates the wide, untouched country, lakes and silence. Nobody could express this better in the form of music than INSOMNIUM. ‘Heart Like a Grave’ satisfies on all fronts and combines many robust pieces with the melancholic mood that INSOMNIUM build in. The songs of the multi-faceted album flow ideally into each other and let the listener switch off and drift into another world. No matter if you are a fan of the predecessors or the genre, ‘Heart Like a Grave’ is an indispensable listening experience.
01. Wail Of The North
04. Pale Morning Star
05. And Bells They Toll
06. The Offering
07. Mute Is My Sorrow
08. Twilight Trails
09. Heart Like A Grave
Niilo Sevänen – lead vocals, bass
Ville Friman – guitars, clean vocals
Markus Vanhala – guitars
Jani Liimatainen – guitars, clean vocals
Markus Hirvonen – drums
Total: 9.5 / 10