Since the Day It All Came Down

by: Insomnium

Mention the Scandinavian death metal/black metal scene to someone who doesn't follow it closely, and he/she is likely to think of a bunch of amelodic, occult-obsessed bands that engage in bombast for the sake of bombast and brutality for the sake of brutality. That's the stereotypical view of Nordic death metal/black metal, and many of the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish bands in that scene happily live up to it. Some Scandinavian death metallers, in fact, are honest enough to admit that their scene can be something of an inside joke (much like techno/rave music). But the '90s and 2000s have also seen a wave of Nordic death metal bands that are highly melodic, and Finland's Insomnium is part of that trend. The most extreme thing about Since the Day It All Came Down is the vocal style; lead singer/bassist Niilo Sevänen sings in a deep, guttural, demonic-sounding growl that exemplifies the stereotypical image of death metal singing. But other than that, this 2004 release isn't so extreme. Musically, Insomnium owes a lot to '80s power metal favorites like Queensrÿche, Iron Maiden, Savatage, and King Diamond -- like those headbangers, Insomnium provides metal that is forceful yet musical and intricate -- and early thrash is an influence as well. If Sevänen favored a more conventional vocal style, this CD would probably be considered power metal or thrash instead of death metal/black metal. At times, Sevänen's growling style makes the lyrics difficult to understand -- that's one thing Insomnium needs to work on. But the CD's pluses by far outweigh its minuses, and admirers of bands like At the Gates and Khold will find Since the Day It All Came Down to be a respectable, generally well-crafted example of the melodic death metal style. ~ Alex Henderson

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