That's where Finland's Insomnium comes in. Formed in 1997, this FInnish quartet has released 5 full-length albums since 2002, finding their stride with 2004's Since the Day It All Came Down and cranking out a series of unbelievably strong and consistent albums ever since. With next week's release of Shadows of the Dying Sun (Century Media), Insomnium proves once again that not only is melodeath still a viable genre, but it can still be absolutely devastating when created by it's current masters.
Shadows of the Dying Sun probably isn't going to convert anyone who refuses to acknowledge melodeath, but for those of us already in the loop, it's another masterpiece from Insomnium. These guys haven't changed up their approach much at all since the second record, but they always manage to create something that sounds so fresh and unique and that you never get tired of them. On Shadows of the Dying Sun we get the usual crushing riffs, introspective lyrics, and melodic leads, but it's not like anything that you've already heard. Insomnium has always had a way with creating the most somber, woeful atmosphere this side of the funeral doom department, but they still make everything sound so interesting. There's so much going on here that you can get lost inside each track and still find something new every time you listen. Finnish bands are usually obsessed with keyboards for some reason, but here Insomnium only uses piano parts to add to the atmosphere when necessary. The result is another challenging, intelligent album that only reveals it's uniqueness upon repeat listens.
Insomnium has definitely created an album that ranks up there with the best releases of 2014. There are a few moments that border a little too close to Opeth territory, but they've always had a few of those. I'm not concerned that these guys are headed down a slippery slope. Shadows of the Dying Sun is just the latest in the string near-perfect Insomnium records. If you haven't heard of this band or if you've been avoiding them for some reason, now is a good time to jump on the bandwagon. They haven't peaked and they haven't plateaued. They're just somehow always at the top of the mountain.