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Insomnium: Shadows Of The Dying Sun

Melancholic Finns intensify their palette

Despite being one of melodic death metal’s most unique and instantly recognisable modern voices, Finland’s Insomnium have perhaps struggled to craft a status deserving of that uncanny knack for a delectable, melancholic earworm.

When they hit the mark, however, they’re one of the best around, and while Shadows Of The Dying Sun stops short of being a classic, it’s certainly as good as anything the Finns have put their name to thus far, brimming with grandiose hooks, sumptuous melodies and, importantly, a few full-throttle ragers to keep the pace nice and varied.

From the infectiousness of Ephemeral, which is as catchy as this stuff gets, to Black Heart Rebellion’s blackened, blastbeat-driven majesty and the ambient folkisms of eight-minute setpiece The River, this is a polished and varied collection of melodeath gems.

Atmospheric enough to soundtrack the most glorious of fantasy epics and stirring enough to tug at the heartstrings, Shadows… offers moments of haunting delicacy and fist-pumping heroics in equal measure. A fine effort from an enduringly excellent band.

Merlin Alderslade

Metal Hammer editor Merl heads up the world's biggest metal brand and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.