Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, Seven Spires
Mar 25, 2020
Hailing from the land of thousand lakes, boasting with a thousand melodies and spawning a thousand emotions comes “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”, sixth studio album of Finland's melodic metal magicians INSOMNIUM. An album born of the melancholy, sorrow and dreariness of long winter nights, as relentless and overwhelming as an autumn storm and yet as refreshing as the first sunbeams of a spring morning and as peaceful as a mild summer's eve.
Two and a half years after their acclaimed masterpiece “One For Sorrow” the Finns return with an album that brings them one step closer to the Olympus of melodic metal where their established countrymen Amorphis shouldn't ensconce themselves too comfortably. “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”, which once again immerses deeply into stirring abysses of melancholy, is even more varied, intense and dynamic than its predecessor – with each new album INSOMNIUM seem to bring their songwriting craftsmanship closer to perfection. “We haven't changed our style dramatically”, vocalist and bassist Niilo Sevänen explains the general approach of the new album. “Fans can rest assured that it is still classic INSOMNIUM. Of course there's also some new flavors here and there, and maybe it's even more diverse compared with the last album. The easy stuff is easier than before, the heavy stuff is heavier. The contrasts between the songs are probably bigger than on any of our previous albums.”
Exhibit A for the impressive sonic range INSOMNIUM cover on “Shadows Of The Dying Sun” is placed right in the centre of the album: While the beastly “Black Heart Rebellion” features brutal blast beats and even ventures into black metal realms, the ensuing gut-wrenching semi-ballad “Lose To Night” may be the softest song INSOMNIUM have ever written. An emotional roller coaster the listener cannot flinch from. Of course it takes some reruns to fully grasp all the subtleties and details of the majestic compositions gathered on this tantalizing opus, however, those are the kind of records that outlive the rush of fresh excitement and finally become something bigger than just another new album, aren't they? “That's what we aim for, to have an interesting, diverse, long-lasting album that you don't get fed up with”, Sevänen describes the musical self-conception of a band that has evolved impressively since their foundation in the Finnish university city of Joensuu back in 1997.
Inspired by bands such as their legendary countrymen Amorphis and Sentenced, early Paradise Lost or Swedish genre pioneers à la In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates or Opeth, 17-year-old Sevänen buried his grunge band and asked his metalhead schoolmates Ville Friman and Markus Hirvonen if they wanted to form a metal band with him. From that point, the only direction for INSOMNIUM was up: album by album – from their 2002 debut “In the Halls Of Awaiting” via “Since The Day It All Came Down” (2004), “Above The Weeping World” (2006) and “Across The Dark” (2009) through to their Century Media debut “One for Sorrow” (2011) – also introducing Markus Vanhala as the new fourth member. And tour by tour the passionate musicians edged their way to the very top of the scene and have by now become the spearhead of melodic death metal made in Finland.
Even the departure of longtime guitarist Ville Vänni shortly before their tour supporting “One For Sorrow” at the end of 2011 couldn't knock INSOMNIUM off course. With new guitarist Markus Vanhala, who has contributed considerably to “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”, they found an equal substitute for Vänni who left the band amicably for personal issues.
Maybe an album title like “Shadows Of The Dying Sun” might sound cliché for a melodic metal band from Finland at first. However, once you are lost in the fascinating sonic realms that INSOMNIUM conquer here, “Shadows Of The Dying Sun” suddenly becomes the only title possible. Branding the band as cliché Finns would be quite superficial anyway, especially as melodic monsters like “While We Sleep” or the album's first single “Ephemeral” exude an immensely positive aura. “Somehow our music has always something sad, dark and dreary, and our lyrics just fit the music. It's the kind of music we love and want to make, the kind of music that makes us feel good. It doesn't mean that we are depressed or sad in our lives”, Sevänen muses. “And we do have empowering, hopeful and uplifting songs as well, even though at first sight some song titles may appear quite sad and melancholic. But there is an optimistic vibe hidden somewhere in our lyrics, some hope that not all is lost.”
An optimistic vibe becomes INSOMNIUM anyhow, seeing that they are about to conquer new frontiers with their manifold sixth studio album whose cover was once again designed by Ghost Brigade guitarist Wille Naukkarinen who had already done such a great job on “Across The Dark” and “One For Sorrow”.
Fearlessly and wakefully, INSOMNIUM now dispel the shadows of a dying sun – and head into a new tomorrow: The dawn of musical majesty.
Some bands seem to harness the power of magic from the very start. Omnium Gatherum
Finland's Omnium Gatherum formed in 1996 and emerged from a vibrant European metal scene with a series of acclaimed demos. With a sound that blended the raging brutality of Scandinavian death metal with a rich sense of melody and harmony, the band’s debut album Spirits & August Light was released in 2003 via UK imprint Rage Of
"People have come and gone over the years and I'm the only 'original gangsta', but the main idea's still the same," explains guitarist and chief songwriter Markus Vanhala. "We have always been about the marriage of
In 2015, Omnium Gatherum released seventh album Grey Heavens via Lifeforce Records: both their most successful record to date and the most daring expansion of the OG sound to date. Since its release, the album has taken Vanhala and his bandmates - Joonas Koto (guitars), Jukka Pelkonen (vocals), Erkki Silvennoinen (bass) and Aapo Koivisto (keyboards) - around the world, with shows in Europe, Asia and North America and stages shared with Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquillity and many more. With their profile higher than ever, they have since signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records and have spent the last year working on a brand new studio album. The first OG record to feature new drummer Tuomo Latvala, who replaces long-time member Jarmo Pikka, the Finns’ greatest masterpiece has been completed and Vanhala is thrilled with the results.
"Omnium Gatherum is my first love and greatest passion," the guitarist states. "On this album, I wanted to concentrate more on guitar-driven music, and there’s a lot of guitar melodies and more guitar solos by both guitarists! We also concentrated a lot on producing tight, succinct songs. There aren't many longer songs on 'The Burning Cold'. I could say that my songwriting has raised to a new level with this album, honestly! The album goes to both extremes: it's more melodic but also heavier than anything we've done before... but everyone says that, right?
Recorded with esteemed studio guru Teemu Alto, with whom Omnium Gatherum have recorded every album since Years In Waste, The Burning Cold fulfils Vanhala's promise of more heaviness and more melody, but it's the maturity in the guitarist's songwriting and the sheer emotional weight behind these vital, inventive metal anthems that make this much more than just another record in a sturdy catalogue. Thanks to the immaculate power of Alto's production and the legendary Dan Swanö’s mixing skills, this is the biggest and most infectious album the band have ever made. From the fiery eruption of the opening The Burning and the sumptuous depths and drama of Refining Fire to the heroic death metal majesty of Over The Battlefield and the heart-rending chills and thrills of the closing Cold, this is a tour-de-force for one of the modern era's most consistently fascinating ensembles. It's also an album with conceptual depths to be explored, as Vanhala explains.
"There are two major lyrical concepts on the new album: firstly, it touches on the great human tragedies and misfortunes that are all around us. Tragedies such as war and the engulfing darkness that follows; fortunes which are tangled in experiences that we all share despite this seemingly burning world. Secondly, the lyrics speak loudly about the human emotional condition. How do we love? Why do we hate? Why are some things easier to leave behind than others? Why does death terrify us, and if it does why do people act like it does not exist?"
Metal has never been afraid to ask big questions, but rarely has a band invested such sincerity and thoughtful power into their music. The Burning Cold dares to be all things to all people: it's a dark, heavy and vivid adventure through the trouble human psyche and the turbulent world around us, but it's also an exhilarating and big-hearted celebration of the
"It's a damn catchy album full of fresh melodic metal, bred with aggression and beauty," Vanhala avows. "There's a lot of energy, there's a lot of hope, there's a lot of gloominess, from us old geezers of metal to the metal fans! It's an honest metal album and there's no bullshit on top. No symphony orchestras, no programmed computer shit, just a pure metal band of six guys doing it for real.”
With the wind of victory very much in their sails, Omnium Gatherum will release The Burning Cold on August 31 through Century Media Records, before embarking on a relentless touring schedule that promises to take them around the world several times over the next two years. 100% dedicated to spreading the word to anyone and everyone, Vanhala's first love and greatest passion shows no signs of burning out or fading away.
"We're ambitious and hungry as hell, and feels we've just started this!" he concludes. "There's a hell of a lot more still to achieve, but we still do this because we're having so much fun as a group, writing and playing this music. The priority is to keep the bar high for the music. It's not about success. We always try to beat the last album and we've definitely succeeded this time. Don't worry, we’re not going away yet, not for a
Seven Spires is an American metal quartet specialising in melancholic tales and tenebrous grandeur. Part bittersweet melodic metal anthems, part apocalyptic melodic death and black metal, and part Romantic Classical poets, they are storytellers who draw from across the traditional spectrum of metal and beyond to weave tragedies of demons, death, love, and the peculiarities of the human condition.
Following a highly successful crowdfunding campaign and release of their debut album “Solveig”, Seven Spires performed extensively in the US, Canada, and at festivals such as MetalDays, 70,000 Tons of Metal, and ProgPower USA. They are in the final production stages for their second full-length record, which will once again be mixed and mastered by Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Kamelot, Epica, etc).
Seven Spires’ new album is “SOLVEIG”, a theatrical metal concept album in two acts. It is the story of a lost soul and his journey through a Demon’s sunless neo-victorian underworld. Despite small glimmers of hope, it is a grim tale with a heavy focus on escapism, death, and decadence. With distinct attention to melancholic power metal, melodic death, and black metal, Seven Spires fuse sounds from across the spectrum of metal with their great love for Romantic composers, and the atmospheric and storytelling capabilities of film scores.
March 25, 2020
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