Apr 282014


(NCS writer DGR recently had the chance to pose some questions by e-mail to Ville Friman, guitarist, song-writer, and co-vocalist for Finland’s Insomnium, whose new album Shadows of the Dying Sun was reviewed by the same DGR here.)


Thank you so much for sitting down for this interview. How are you feeling as the official release dates of Shadows Of The Dying Sun move closer?

Ville Friman: No worries Dave, our pleasure really. It’s exciting times. Album seems to be doing well in the press, and we just found out that it made album of the month in German Metal Hammer, which is pretty big. Just hoping that people will like it and enjoy it as much as we do.


Shadows Of The Dying Sun is still recognizably Insomnium but there are a couple of shifts in sound. For example, I noticed a pretty big increase in tempo on a lot of the songs and the inclusion of some serious blastbeat work on the part of Markus. Insomnium have done fast tunes and more “traditionally” (if you could forgive a reductive phrase) melo-death songs before, but this album really sees the speed increase on multiple songs. Were you guys feeling in a faster mood than usual?

Ville Friman: Yes, I guess the blastbeats are bit of a new thing with us. We have fast songs on the album, but also a couple of slower pieces. So it’s a mix of things. We weren’t trying to be fast intentionally. I guess we just brought the tempo up a notch in general. And we were thinking about finding the best tempo for each song, and when we wanted to sound fast, we went pretty much as fast as we could. Continue reading »

Apr 182014

(In this post DGR reviews the new album by Finland’s Insomnium.)

Taken at face value, the idea behind the title of Shadows Of The Dying Sun is an easy one to grasp. Poetically phrased, yes, but when the opening line of its titular song (and album closer) is, “We’re nothing more than shadows…”, you get a real quick understanding of what lies behind the title.

Very few things in the world can make me as pensive as an Insomnium disc, and Shadows Of The Dying Sun has had me thinking about the passage of time lately. It is a crazy thing to realize, but with this album Insomnium have been a part of my life for almost a decade, as I joined the zeitgeist like so many others did with the masterful Above The Weeping World. Since then, the band have been a hallmark of consistently great music, with Across The Dark representing an incremental jump forward and One For Sorrow feeling like another amazing disc as it grew on me.

I never could have told the past version of myself — who came to see Insomnium as such an important band, one who showed there is beauty in emotions such melancholy, depression, and frailty — that in later days I’d be reviewing their music and getting the opportunity to talk to guitarist (and one of the main songwriters) Ville Friman for a previous website. Insomnium are the band I go to for lyrical gems such as, “You can’t win always/but you can lose every time”, that absolutely take the wind out of my sails. So at face value, Shadows Of The Dying Sun should be more of that for me — another album that would let me roil in my melancholy and depression, allowing the group to overtake me with visions of cold and blue.

Yet this time it’s weird, because as far as messages are concerned, Shadows Of The Dying Sun is a surprisingly straightforward and hopeful disc… for Insomnium. Continue reading »

Apr 072014

Only three weeks stand between us and the release of Shadows of the Dying Sun, the sixth album by Finland’s Insomnium. It’s both a summing up of where the band have come from and a step ahead, a forward movement that not only embodies the sounds and styles which have drawn increasing numbers of fans to their side but also moves their music in new directions. And as you might guess from that last sentence, it’s a diverse assembly of songs, with some that are faster and heavier than you might expect, and some that are softer. But throughout, the band once ago show their mastery at writing melodies that stay with you.

Shadows of the Dying Sun also marks the first album appearance of the band’s new guitarist Markus Vanhala, who has been a member of Omnium Gatherum throughout their career and has now collaborated with Ville Friman in the songwriting on Shadows.

One new song from the album (“Revelations”) has already debuted, and today we’re delighted to help premiere a second one — “While We Sleep” — and this one comes in the form of a new music video, directed by Dariusz Szermanowicz and produced by Poland’s Grupa 13. Unless we miss our guess, “While We Sleep” is one of the new album’s songs that’s going to get its hooks into listeners’ heads really hard, really fast. Continue reading »

Mar 212014

All of us here at NO CLEAN SINGING are eager — eager, I tell you — for Shadows of the Dying Sun, which is the name of the new album by Finland’s Insomnium. Today we got the first example of music from the album via Terrorizer’s premiere of a new song named “Revelations”.

But guess what?  I can’t listen to it!  Because I am writing this from the middle of a meeting for my day job. I can type this without invoking suspicion from the other 7 people in the room with me. But strapping on the headphones and blasting this song would probably be too much. Probably.

So, please listen to it after the jump and let me know this: am I missing something awesome? I bet I am. I will know in about an hour… Continue reading »

Feb 242014

Happy fucking Monday. Blech, it really hurt to write that. Here are some recommended tunes and videos I heard and saw over the last 24 hours, most of them on a day that wasn’t a fucking Monday.


This first item falls into the category of breaking news:  Century Media has just announced details about the new album from Finland’s Insomnium, along with a teaser of the music. The album’s title is Shadows of the Dying Sun, and the cover art is at the top of this post. It will be released on April 29 in North America and April 28 in Europe.

The teaser is brief — 1:23 of new music. It consists of chiming guitars against a backdrop of ghostly ambience. It feels like the lead-in to some monstrous doomy riffs — but that could just be wishful thinking on my part. More wishful thinking: I would like to have this album today instead of two months from now. Undoubtedly advance tracks will be released. Undoubtedly we will have them here as quickly as we see them.

Check out the teaser next. Continue reading »

Feb 082014

Welcome to Part 23 of our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three songs I’m announcing today, click here.

Today’s three songs have something in common. Although the bands don’t all fit neatly together under precisely the same genre heading, to varying degrees the music falls in a place where doom, melodic death metal, and a melancholy aching intersect.


This Swedish/French collective put out their debut album Origin in 2013, and DGR reviewed it for us here. In an effort to capture its sense of devastating beauty, he wrote this:

“I know I am going to like a disc like this if it takes me to a certain place I have set aside in my head, one of empty spaces, snow falling from the sky, long-since devastated cities. Places that you just know were beautiful long ago, and the sense of fragility that these vacant places emanates makes them beautiful now….  Origin takes us to that snow-filled, cold, and desolate place where we sometimes long to be and lets us sit and watch the world move as it speaks to us.”

Continue reading »

Dec 292013

Here’s a status update that appeared on the Facebook page of Finland’s Insomnium today (emphasis added):

We’ve now recorded rhythm guitars for 5 songs. In addition to Marshall+EVH combo we’re also using Mesa Single Rectifier and my seven stringed Mayones to add some more depth and fatness to the sound. The new material is definitely more varied than before. For example, we’re flirting a bit with death/black metal vibe with some of the songs. Nevertheless, everything sounds very much like Insomnium and I guess that’s mainly due to our “trademark” melodies. We’re splitting rhythm parts pretty much equally with Markus and also try out different guitar arrangements as we go. All in all, the mood is very relaxed and we’re making good progress without too much pressure and stress.


Aw hell yes.   Continue reading »

Sep 202013

(DGR reviews the forthcoming four-song EP by Finland’s Insomnium.)

This seems insane to say, but it has already been two years since the release of Insomnium’s latest disc One For Sorrow. It’s a sentiment that I know I’m guilty of expressing all the time, but One For Sorrow, like most Insomnium releases for me, still remains as good on recent spins as it did the first time I experienced the whole thing. The band have experienced lineup shifts in that time, which is another crazy thing because Insomnium maintained a relatively stable lineup until 2011, when Omnium Gatherum guitarist Markus Vanhala joined the band. Due to the timing of his enlistment, we actually haven’t heard anything the man had to contribute to the band until now, with the release of Insomnium’s new EP Ephemeral.

It’s hard to tell based on this new release what the musical future will look like for the band. With each previous disc, Insomnium have managed to shift their sound just enough that the only two persistent unifying themes have been that the music will be melancholic and poetic, and you can usually expect a slower, more progressive form of melodic death metal. “Ephemeral” is an entirely different beast though, a surprising song released by a band known largely for their creation of atmosphere and constant citation of poetry within the lyrics. Despite it sounding like an Insomnium tune, with many recognizable traces of the band’s established style,  it still manages to feel like a huge change for the group.

“Ephemeral”, bluntly put, is Insomnium writing one of the catchiest songs they’ve ever written. They’re not really known for writing super-catchy tunes, especially in a very blatant pop format. Instead, they tend to favor sweeping gestures and the occasional sing-worthy chorus. “Ephemeral” feels strange because it’s ridiculously up-tempo compared to what fans of the band have become used to and it’s remarkably ethereal, much in the same way that Omnium Gatherum’s recent release Beyond was. Continue reading »

Sep 192013

Today Finland’s mighty Insomnium have premiered a new song named “Ephemeral” via a lyric video. The song will eventually appear on the band’s next album, which is projected for release in 2014 by Century Media. The song includes, for the first time, the contributions of new guitarist Markus Vanhala (also in Omnium Gatherum), who replaced Ville Vänni in 2011.

The single will be released digitally on September 23 in Europe and will include, as bonuses, three acoustic tracks that appeared in the background of the latest Insomnium documentary DVD.

“Ephemeral” is recognizably Insomnium, though it’s more fast-paced and less melancholy in its tone than what might be thought of as the band’s classic sound. Yet the song is powerful, memorable, inspirational, and the lyrics are far more eloquent than most metal songs offer. Listen next: Continue reading »

Sep 062012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)

So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…

Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.


Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!

The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live. Continue reading »