Rating:
9.6
Insomnium - In The Halls Of Awaiting
2002


01. Ill-Starred Son
02. Song Of The Storm
03. Medeia
04. Dying Chant
05. The Elder
06. Black Waters
07. Shades Of Deep Green
08. The Bitter End
09. Journey Unknown
10. In The Halls Of Awaiting


Insomnium fans have it easy. Not only does their band manage to excel with every subsequent release, they also had it all together from the very start. All the brilliance of their later records is not merely hinted in their debut, it is fully carried out.

For starters - have we heard this before? Of course. A majority of the songs on the album have a structure similar to one that made Dark Tranquillity famous back in mid-90s: make the verses brutal, fire a myriad with death metal riffs with a strong emphasis on melody between them and complete it with very technical drumming and nifty acoustic passages. But this formula is like basic cookie dough and a good cook can improve it in various ways to make it spark interest and be different from the starting product. In The Halls Of Awaiting is set apart from similar releases by the mood of the melodies, which are always intense and in the pitch black part of the emotion spectrum. Think somewhere between Sentenced and modern age Amorphis - refined anguish meets experience and playful imagination. Ville Friman surely deserves a ten for his riffing on this effort, and so do Hirvonen and Sevänen for underlining it with awesome rhythm. Niilo Sevänen's also responsible for delivering ferocious growls and haunting whispers.

The lyrics, an Insomnium specialty for sure, are wonderfully neo-romantic and mostly revolve around loss and regret. Of course, there are variations to this theme - hints of folklore at "Song Of The Storm" and "The Elder", space-prog-meets-Stratovarius-kind-of-theme in "Journey Unknown", and, in the title and some of the verses, hints at Tolkien's famous tale of Beren and Lúthien in the epic closer "In The Halls Of Awaiting". They sometimes have such wonderful rhythm when spoken alone, standing well even without the support of music that I couldn't help but wonder whether Niilo (I believe he handles most of them) is a reincarnation of some good 19th century English poet.

The only tangible flaw of this album? The sound is not as good as it should be. Seriously, I'd rate this even closer to a ten if I didn't know the later albums are even better. Insomnium fans, again, know what this praise is all about. And I guess some of you folks aren't familiar with the work of the talented Finnish four, so you'll do a great service to yourself by checking them out, starting with this release.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Insomnium
Album: In The Halls Of Awaiting


 


written by Milena | 23.09.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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AngelofDeth - 23.09.2011 at 04:12  
Been a fan of them sincethis album. this one brings back memories for sure, but just as good as any other insomnium album. its hard to say which album is best... theyre all great just suttly different
Justicelust - 23.09.2011 at 22:51  
Written by AngelofDeth on 23.09.2011 at 04:12

Been a fan of them sincethis album. this one brings back memories for sure, but just as good as any other insomnium album. its hard to say which album is best... theyre all great just suttly different

+ 1
AXA - 23.09.2011 at 23:27  
Thank you for this nice review \../,
Demonic Tutor - 25.09.2011 at 01:50  
Fantastic album indeed.
Risto - 26.09.2011 at 12:35  
This is very well written! I wouldn't rate this album quite that high though
Milena - 30.09.2011 at 15:56  
Thank you all for your comments and Insomnium appreciation
Written by Risto on 26.09.2011 at 12:35

This is very well written! I wouldn't rate this album quite that high though

I didn't wanna fall into the guest-reviewer-gives-9's-like-crazy-scheme... but it's just that a lot of the albums I review are just that good, at least for me, and I've heard a decent slab of metal and music in general so I don't fall for just about anything. I feel Insomnium's first is one of those albums
Risto - 30.09.2011 at 18:15  
Written by Milena on 30.09.2011 at 15:56

I didn't wanna fall into the guest-reviewer-gives-9's-like-crazy-scheme... but it's just that a lot of the albums I review are just that good, at least for me, and I've heard a decent slab of metal and music in general so I don't fall for just about anything. I feel Insomnium's first is one of those albums

I know what you mean because one of Insomnium's albums is in the same category for me, just not this one Though I must say that album is only one out of two.
RavenKing - 15.01.2012 at 19:47  
Good music but too quiet and mellow for me.

But at least your review made me check this band. I think it should be the goal of a positive review.
Milena - 15.01.2012 at 19:58  
Written by RavenKing on 15.01.2012 at 19:47

Good music but too quiet and mellow for me.

But at least your review made me check this band. I think it should be the goal of a positive review.

Well the rating is a bit too enthusiastic, but this is actually my favorite Insomnium release. Even if others are a bit better

And yeah, I sometimes have those problems too, though in mellower realms. I try some really lightweight music, and it's pretty, but the lack of distortion and drums makes me a bit uncomfortable. I listen to it while thinking "is this it? no riffs? no crazy guys doing crazy vocals? not a single time signature or even a little tempo change? what's the point of this" all the time. Well, not all the time, and not in that order, but you know what I mean.
Uldreth - 15.01.2012 at 21:08  
I am glad you reviewed this, although I have no idea why I just found that out!

No matter how well known Insomnium is in the metal scene, I think this album is quite underrated/under"known" since everything seems to be about Above the Weeping World and now their latest.
This is some quality stuff here.

As I side note, I am also glad I am not the only one who thought the title track was a reference to Lúthien, everything from the title to to the 'story' within the lyrics just screamed that. Yet I have not heard that view echoed anywhere so far really.
Milena - 15.01.2012 at 21:16  
Written by Uldreth on 15.01.2012 at 21:08

As I side note, I am also glad I am not the only one who thought the title track was a reference to Lúthien, everything from the title to to the 'story' within the lyrics just screamed that. Yet I have not heard that view echoed anywhere so far really.

It doesn't match fully, but I think it was at least up to some point inspired by it. It should be visible to any Tolkien fan; I think the view isn't echoed because many people don't read lyrics of bands they're listening to.
Uldreth - 15.01.2012 at 21:38  
Written by Milena on 15.01.2012 at 21:16

It doesn't match fully, but I think it was at least up to some point inspired by it. It should be visible to any Tolkien fan; I think the view isn't echoed because many people don't read lyrics of bands they're listening to.

Yup, it doesn't match exactly, but it would be less cool if it did.

And yeah, your second statement is quite true, and from one PoV it is understandable since tons of metal bands who otherwise make good music have either very bad lyrics, or lyrics whose concepts are totally alien to me (I won't, EVER read NSBM lyrics, though I don't even listen, and no matter how much I like August Burns Red or any band like that, I don't care about their lyrics since I am not christian) but if there is one band whose lyrics should be read, that is Insomnium.
Milena - 15.01.2012 at 21:52  
Written by Uldreth on 15.01.2012 at 21:38

... but if there is one band whose lyrics should be read, that is Insomnium.

Oh we totally agree on this, believe me

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