Above the Weeping World

by: Insomnium

When bad boys mature, they don't necessarily quit being bad boys, but they do become more complex and multi-faceted. They may evolve into the deep-thinking Pedro Almodóvar of All About My Mother, Talk to Her and Bad Education rather than the younger Almodóvar, who had so much fun with screwball dark comedies like What Have I Done to Deserve This and Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down. They may evolve into the Marlon Brando of The Godfather, instead of the punky young Brando of A Streetcar Named Desire. And in death metal, that quest for maturity has given us the nuanced world of melodic death metal -- a world that death metal's stubborn, myopic purists denounce as watered down, but a world in which engaging albums like Above the Weeping World are created. Anyone who doubts that death metal has more than one flavor (ultra-fast, amelodic and consistently vicious) needs to give this 52-minute CD a very close listen. Insomnium's sense of melody and harmony is striking. Exquisitely crafted, the songs on Above the Weeping World demonstrate that the term "melodic death metal" is no oxymoron for Insomnium. The most extreme thing about this Finnish band continues to be Niilo Sevänen's lead vocals; some singers in melodic death metal (and its very close relative symphonic black metal) offer an extreme-vocals/clean-vocals contrast, but the vocally uncompromising Sevänen sticks to a straight-out-of-hell type of growl. Unfortunately, Sevänen still makes the lyrics hard to understand; that was a problem on Insomnium's 2003 recording Since the Day It All Came Down, and it remains a problem on their follow-up Above the Weeping World. For that reason, this 52-minute disc only merits a good rating instead of an excellent one. But even so, Above the Weeping World is an enjoyable, worthwhile effort that fans of melodic death metal need to be aware of. ~ Alex Henderson

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