Thursday, 8 September 2011

CD Review: In The Halls Of Awaiting, by Insomnium (2002)

Insomnium's first full-length album release establishes the identity of the band: melancholy mid-tempo melodic death metal, acoustic interludes, folk shadings, more moody and mystical than flashy and flagrant. In The Halls Of Awaiting is a solid debut, containing a couple of gems and good depth in the supporting material.

Twin guitarists Friman and Vanni are all about setting a grand landscape scene appropriate for the bitter cold of Finland's remote woods, while vocalist Niilo Sevanen narrates in a low, almost whispered growl. The lyrical content is heavily focused on mixing forces of nature with gloomy emotions.

The Bitter End and Journey Unknown arrive late in the tracklist, and demonstrate Insomnium's true potential. The Bitter End cradles a thoughtful folk-inspired melody from a slow start and catapults it into a monumentally memorable faster pace. The well-constructed tempo changes, all built against a mammoth signature wall of noise, denote surprising maturity. Journey Unknown continues in the same vein, the tandem guitars leading a deceptively coy melody on an ambitious journey to domination.

There are mis-steps, notably Song Of The Storm, which pedals hard and gets nowhere. But overall, the quality is admirable. Ill-Starred Son, Dying Chant, and Black Waters confirm that Insomnium are already far advanced in their metallic craft, while In The Halls Of Awaiting, 11 minutes of an epic folk tale, is a grand closing track and speaks to no lack of brazenness.

The halls may be for awaiting, but the music being piped-in makes the wait well worthwhile.


Niilo Sevanen - Vocals and Bass
Markus Hirvonen - Drums
Ville Friman - Guitars
Ville Vanni - Guitars

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Ill-Starred Son - 8
2. Song Of The Storm - 6
3. Medeia - 7
4. Dying Chant - 8
5. The Elder - 7
6. Black Waters - 8
7. Shades Of Deep Green - 7
8. The Bitter End - 10
9. Journey Unknown - 10
10. In The Halls Of Awaiting - 8

Average: 7.90

Mixed by Anssi Kippo. Mastered by Mika Jussila.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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