INSOMNIUM'S 'WINTER'S GATE' IS AN EPIC TALE LIKE NO OTHER
Many bands would fall into that comfortable rut by the time they reach album number seven but not Finland's Death Doom quartet Insomnium, who have instead chosen to create something very different and unique in the shape of the rather epic 'Winter's Gate'.
The obvious difference between 'Winters Gate' and their previous albums is that this time it's just one forty minute track, but there is more to it than that.
The idea for 'Winter's Gate' came about during rehearsals for the previous album, 'Shadows Of The Dying Sun', during a break and whilst listening to 'Crimson' by Swedish Progressive Death Metal legends Edge Of Sanity'. The idea was to do a challenging one track album like 'Crimson' and using vocalist Niilo's prize winning short story 'Winter's Gate', which has been translated into English by Tuomas Puumalainen, as the inspiration of the track, with the story presented as a sixteen page accompaniment with the album, the whole package together creating a strong mental imagery.
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The story is about a band of greedy pillaging Vikings who go to a fabled island north-west of Ireland in search of treasure and get their comeuppance. The story is told from the perspective of three narrators adding a broad perspective. I'll say no more as it is a superb read and I don't want to ruin the plot.
The track, after a haunting intro, is largely upbeat and powerfully epic in its delivery, yet still has that bleak Death Doom quality that is their trademark sound and is lyrically based on Niilo's story. It's one of, if not the most powerful albums Insomnium have produced. There is a notable progressive influence in places from the previously mentioned 'Crimson' album, something which is a great addition to their Doom rich Death Metal sound and as it is presented as one track there is a beautiful uninterrupted flow making it all the more enjoyable.
The main point of this release which really struck home was the drive and enthusiasm you feel as you listen. You can't fail to sense how this concept has inspired all the band members and injected a fresh dose of energy and enthusiasm which I had felt was starting to wane slightly with their last couple of albums.
It's great to hear them do something a little different and challenging and rising successfully to meet that challenge. For me this is their best album since 2002s debut, 'In The Halls Of Awaiting', and their best to date. It really is superb.
Insomnium are once more joined by Aleksi Munter of Swallow The Sun who is covering keyboard duties for this album. The artwork is by Finnish artist Teemu Tähkänen, with mixing and mastering appropriately handled by Edge Of Insanity vocalist Dan Swanno.
'Winter's Gate' is available from Century Media as CD, deluxe CD and art book and CD, vinyl package or digital download. If you have enjoyed any of their past releases you will love this. I was hugely moved by it and I can't recommend it highly enough!