Review 1591 : Insomnium – Anno 1696 – English

Insomnium once again takes us into its majestic universe.

Created in 1997 in Finland by Niilo Sevänen (bass/vocals), Markus Hirvonen (drums) and Ville Friman (guitar), joined over time by Markus Vanhala (guitar, I Am the Night, Malpractice, Omnium Gatherum) and Jani Liimatainen (guitar, Cain’s Offering, The Dark Element, ex-Sonata Arctica), the band has announced the release of Anno 1696, its ninth album, on Century Media Records.

The album starts with 1696, a rather mysterious first track which slowly lifts the veil on hypnotic sounds before welcoming some dark vocals, then Death Metal’s saturation will give the melodies a wild touch. The raw strength is magnified by soothing but sometimes sharp leads, giving the hurricane a heady touch before White Christ welcomes Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ, Thou Art Lord) to develop a mystical sound. The alliance of the two vocalists perfectly fits this slow and heavy track which gets blazing on the final, then Johanna Kurkela (Auri, Eye of Melian) joins the band to give the long Godforsaken a Pagan touch which meets the musician’s icy fury. The airy sounds and choirs in song come again to soften the blast and the frantic riffs, then Lilian, the first track chosen by the band to announce its album, takes over with a catchy mix of melodious rage on this solid basis. Old School influences are heavily present on this track with a very airy mix before Black Metal roots can be heard on Starless Paths, a composition which highlights the faster riffs without erasing the transcendent leads and the few lulls punctuating the track. The sound intensifies on the last part, then The Witch Hunter reveals us haunting tonalities, but also some more energetic parts, especially on drums which reveal jerky moments between two parts where clean singing dominates. We also find it on The Unrest, a redeeming and acoustic lull which lets the guitarists gently express themselves before a dark voice leads us to The Rapids, a more worrying and heavier track letting aggressiveness talk again through this solid base, meeting ambient melodies and majestic keyboards to close this chapter.

Without surprise, Insomnium delivers us another masterpiece. Between raw violence, majestic coldness and heady melodies, Anno 1696 goes back to the roots of their Melodic Death Metal to offer us a collection of pure and permanent intensity.


Version Française ?

Interview with Niilo Sevänen (bass/vocals) and Markus Vanhala (guitar).

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