The definition of “insomnium” is up for debate, but the band – Finland’s Insomnium – have been hard at work producing quality Melodic Death Metal since ’97. In the years that have transpired, the band have released a total of eight full-length albums. Argent Moon is the band’s latest, an EP of four tracks released on September 17, 2021.
There is something magical about Finland that shines through the music of its bands. From Amorphis to Hooded Menace to the subject at hand, there is a deep, frozen current running through their prodigious efforts. Insomnium create delicately crafted, meticulously arranged pieces incorporating that unique vibe, elaborating upon it, and progressing their art forward in dramatic fashion.
“The Conjurer” at 7:25 is the longest track on the album. Truly a unique composition, it oscillates between haunting ballad and sweeping epic. The final climax of the song is well worth the wait for after a duo of poignant, impassioned leads, the song seemingly plateaus before erupting with a swell of emotion. Any fans of Metal will not be able to resist the chilling allure of this magical spell.
A picture is truly worth a thousand words. As such, the cover of Argent Moon encapsulates the pervading atmosphere that binds the recording. A quiet lake lit by the gentle rays of a crescent moon graces the cover. It is quite the open-ended statement for the lake could represent myriad aspects for a diverse set of listeners; therefore, one could think of the cover as a personal road map, one to be loosely and personally interpreted and intimated. Like the effect of a lonely blank page, the lake is the inviting medium from which to launch one’s inner voyage.
“The Antagonist,” the third track, is a powerful next chapter of the album. After a brief lull with acoustic guitar and clean vocals, a buildup of dizzying melody and massive guitars increases the intensity. That introspective melancholy originally conjured forth at the beginning comes full circle and is imaginatively expanded upon. The trifecta of heavy rhythms, resounding keyboards, and icy, pointed melodies cements the lasting influence the band has upon the listener.
While the EP is more on the mellow side, it is not without its moments of excitement. I could not help but get a healthy reminder of Insomnium’s fellow countrymen, Amorphis. Their senior mentors in Death Metal have an extant, omnipresent influence that can be felt throughout the album, particularly one that can be derived from albums such as Elegy and Tuonela. It is rewarding to see the far-reaching effects of bands one has long loved. Insomnium may not be a “new” band, but their Scandinavian oeuvre has set novel standards with such an uncanny, razor-sharp, singular vision and focus. It will be intriguing to see what the band has in store for the future, and I am sure it is with much anticipation that the Metal world will be awaiting that next offering.