E.P. Review: Insomnium – Argent Moon


E.P. Review: Insomnium - Argent Moon
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Few bands do melodic death metal as well as Finland’s Insomnium. 2019’s ‘Heart Like a Grave’ was a majestic piece of work, and the band were one of few to actually tour the UK in early 2020, putting some magnificent performances before the wheels came off the world in general. Derailed by the pandemic, Insomnium were determined to put some new music out in 2021. Unsurprisingly, the band have gone the extra mile. Guitarist Markus Vanhala explains:

“At the moment, the exact plan looks like this: over the coming months, Insomnium will be unleashing four atmospheric songs in a digital format, accompanied by scenic music videos. And when the autumn leaves start to fall once again, these chants of burdening gloom will be pressed into a physical E.P. as well. The forthcoming extended play is called ‘Argent Moon’.”

The videos have been impressive. ‘The Conjurer’, ‘The Reticent’ and ‘The Antagonist’ have been released over the past few months, with ‘The Wanderer ‘still to come. Whilst the videos are captivating pieces of artwork, the music must stand on its own, and ‘Argent Moon’ truly does that, with 23 minutes of carefully melancholic music that is instantly recognisable as Insomnium. They hit you right in the heart, even if it is a blackened dark heart that beats.

From the gentle introduction of ‘The Conjurer’, which gives way to some heavier segments as it winds its way, through to ‘The Wanderer’ which closes the E.P., Argent Moon demonstrates the more delicate elements of the band whilst retaining that heaviness that has always underpinned their music. ‘The Conjurer’ soars, the hooks dig deep and the blend of melody and bassist/vocalist Niilo Sevänen’s gruff vocals contrast perfectly. There are searing lead breaks and dual guitar harmonies.

E.P. Review: Insomnium – Argent Moon

Vanhala provides some pleasing clean vocals on ‘The Reticent’, another beautifully created song that combines the firepower of drummer Markus Hirvonen with the melancholic darkness with which the band are synonymous. It’s an extension of ‘Heart Like A Grave’, moving the band forward but retaining their deep roots. Vanhala works with Sevänen on ‘The Antagonist’, the pair trading vocal styles, whilst the orchestral elements allowing the songs to climb high.

Closing track ‘The Wanderer’ also features Vanhala’s vocals, acoustic guitars, and strings over pounding drums and Sevänen’s bass. It’s a magical track that retains a heaviness without the need for smashing riffs or thunderous drumming for much of it although it does increase in tempo to head towards a dramatic climax.

Insomnium returned to their trusted supporting cast – the drums captured at Tampere's Fantom Studio with renowned sound engineer Samu Oittinen who also mixed all the songs, whilst most of the other instruments and diverse vocals were crafted with the long-time collaborator Teemu Aalto at his Music Productions Studio in the band's hometown of Kotka.

‘Agent Moon’ is a reminder that Insomnium remain a headline act across the globe. As things slowly reset, this E.P. provides us with a timely reminder of their prowess and quality.

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.