Album Review: Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave (Century Media Records)

Strange and formidable things may grow from humble beginnings. Back in 1997, in the remote town of Joensuu, beyond the great vast forests of eastern Finland, some teenage metalheads got together to play loud and fierce music, drink beer and have fun. Little did they know that two decades later they would be saluted as one of the spearheads of their genre, preparing to release their 8th studio album and embark on another world tour.

Consisting of 10 songs and over an hour of music, Insomnium’s Heart Like a Grave evolved to be an epic tour de force of Finnish melancholy, drawing inspiration from some of the bleakest tales, lyrics and poems of the north. With four composers in the band the sound of Insomnium is now richer and more versatile than ever before. And yet the essence and core of the music is the same as 22 years ago. The tree grows new branches but the roots go deeper into the black, rimed soil.

Heart Like a Grave will be released on October 4th 2019 via Century Media Records.

Melancholic but heart-felt, tear-jerking but darkly heavy…Insomnium’s new album a shining light of excellence. The Finnish metaller’s delivering an exceptionally strong performance that is as emotionally wrought as it is crushing.

Wail of the North showcases this with melancholic piano to start with before it moves up a metal gear. Harsher riffs, the senses are dulled by a chill blowing in from the Finnish lands as the deep and guttural vocals come forth to entrance.

Valediction is a bit more intense, the tempo higher and the riffing warming the bones. Although the goth-tinged clean singing does much to try and cool things down. It’s a mightily strong effort though. As is the more savage Neverlast, a track that has all the fire and rage of death but is constructed to be a more empathetic listen.

As good as these first three are, the only one that really gave the sense of ‘epic’ was the opener. However, that all changes with the gargantuan Pale Morning Star, a near 9 minute tale of sorrow and suffering. Played out in Insomnium’s impactful way that tears at soul while also driving the head to bang as hard as possible.

After that impressiveness, the sadness of their melodic metal takes its ultimate form with the devastating And Bells They Toll. The Offering has a higher tempo with savagery in the vocals & some genuinely excellent guitar riffs. The melodic down-turn just over the halfway point is the stuff dreams are made of.

Insomnium have nailed an album of the year contender before the album is even close to being over. The variety on show thrills, it feeling like an evolution of their sound but not a million miles away from Insomnium either.

It’s not over yet though as Mute is My Sorrow pushes a catchy beat to the forefront. Twilight Trails has one of the best melodic drops and builds back up of the entire album, the extraneous elements really singing here. The title track is slow, dark, melodic and very heavy when it wants to be but soars like a bird through stormy clouds.

This belter of an album doesn’t disappoint even to its final moments as Karelia’s guitars build and build. Leading the way instrumentally for a crushing drawl of enlightening heaviness, it’s spectacular.

This album is spectacular.

Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave Full Track Listing:

1. Wail of the North
2. Valediction
3. Neverlast
4. Pale Morning Star
5. And Bells They Toll
6. The Offering
7. Mute is My Sorrow
8. Twilight Trails
9. Heart Like a Grave
10. Karelia


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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

Insomnium - Heart Like a Grave (Century Media Records)
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