It has been a very good year for fans of melancholic metal, especially the kind that comes from the Finnish icons, Insomnium. The year started with the release of their ninth studio album, the concept album Anno 1696. A stunning release, that features eight tracks of heart-wrenching melancholy and intense metal (read our full review here).
Not content to leave it there though, Insomnium then continued the epic story of Anno 1696 on their addendum-like EP ‘Songs of the Dusk’. An EP that was released at the beginning of November, and features three more journeys into a dark and foggy past (read our full review here).
Fans have been desperate to hear these songs played live, so it’s no surprise that the 02 Academy Islington in London is absolutely heaving way before Insomnium take to the stage. There’s very little room to move downstairs as the Swedish progressive death metal band, In Mourning, deliver a rousing and raucous showcase of heaviness. They’re an extremely talented bunch with some absolute banger tunes and there’s doubt they will be back headlining shows of this size in the future.
It’s all about Insomnium tonight though and you can feel the electricity in the air as a mournful and melodramatic shroud descends on the eager audience. Insomnium are in the house, and they have so much wonderful bleakness to spread.
It speaks volumes about the quality of Anno 1696, that songs from it get the same level of response as songs from much earlier beloved Insomnium releases. Remember, they’ve been around since the late 90s! Yet, there is no sign of aging and/or slowing down from this band, and if this year’s output has shown anything, they’re only getting better with age. No further proof needed than this show, one of two taking place in the UK, as part of their European tour.
Insomnium are on top form in London tonight, sounding tighter then ever, and with a wealth of beloved tracks to choose from. They could have played for another hour, and still not scratched the surface of what they have and what fans want. Yet, no-one is left feeling short-changed and Insomnium prefer to let their music do the talking, with audience interaction kept to a minimum. It’s all part of the vibe. The atmosphere that Insomnium create. A thick shroud of darkness that oozes emotion, but is powerful and heavy too.
Their time in the capital is far too brief, and as cold as their music is, Insomnium have left everyone with a warm feeling inside. We can’t wait until they come back again.
Insomnium & In Mourning at The O2 Academy, Islington, London (06/11/23)
Insomnium - 9/10
In Mourning - 9/10