Retrospective: Insomnium’s “Across The Dark”


Welcome to Wednesday, everyone! Having welcomed in 2015 about a week ago, we’re finally starting to get back on track with our posts here at Horns Up. Now, many of you are aware of the high praise I gave Insomnium’s Shadows of the Dying Sun over the course of 2014. In fact, it even managed to creep its way into my Top 10, so you definitely got a full dose of it.

Don’t worry, I won’t be delving any further into that album right now (although I could, quite easily in fact). But let’s be real, by the time many of you read this, I will be waiting for Insomnium to take the stage at The Palladium in Worcester, MA. Timeliness is a factor in the Retrospective game. With that in mind, I decided this week to go back about half a decade and take a look at 2009’s Across The Dark.

In all honesty, while I’d heard Insomnium in bits and pieces over the years, I really only deep-dived into one of their albums with the aforementioned Shadows. This album was a wonderful blend of melody and weight. It was a somber album lyrically, but in sound and feel it offered a glimpse of light in a manufactured darkness. The production was clean all the way around and the sound was crisp. It is an epic listen that in a strange way brings a personal feeling of optimism.

Naturally, after being so quickly hooked, I had to work back in their discography, and Across The Dark, off Candlelight Records, is one that I’ve kept going back to. It’s not really like Shadows, though. The same lyrical themes of sorrow, darkness, and sobriety are present here and the album opens in a very recognizable way as ‘Equivalence’ is aggressively presented as an introductory track and then folds itself into ‘Down With The Sun.’

That’s when you begin realize how dark this album actually is. Yes, it is very clearly still melodic death metal…with a more-than-healthy dose of melody. But the production is a little more raw and Niilo Sevänen’s harsher vocals tend to almost fade behind the music at times. It just feels ominous–from the lyrics to the production and everything in between. Yes, even the more melodic moments hold the same weight. While the clean singing does serve as a respite from this environment at times, it is still throwing a sense of lost hope at you. This sense of sorrow can be found throughout this album, but let’s face it, that’s one of those elements that makes Insomnium so captivating.

Insomnium is a band that simply produces a special sound and this album is no exception. But I think you’ve heard enough of my input. Give it a listen for yourself and see what you get out of it.

That’ll do it. Later people.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”

– Corey

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up. 

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