Album of the Day: Insomnium – Across the Dark
Ever have those days when you wake up in the morning, an album comes into your brain and you MUST play it immediately? This morning was an Insomnium kind of morning in the Vince Division of the MS Mansion, high time for their 2009 breakthrough Across the Dark: I cranked that shit LOUD as I prepared my morning coffee, and I’m still cranking it now — this is the kind of album that beckons multiple listens.
All of this week’s “Best Of 2014” action has put Best Of lists of years past on the mind, and what the fuck was I thinking by not including Across the Dark on my 2009 list? I don’t think I’ve listened to a single Lye by Mistake song since I compiled that list and I’ve probably listened to Across the Dark a dozen times. Goes to show how ultimately arbitrary and meaningless these lists are.
In any case, I suspect a lot of Insomnium fans will probably point to 2006’s Above the Weeping World as Insomnium’s breakthrough, and maybe it was; at the very least it’s a really fucking good album, and in the run-up to Across the Dark it seemed impossible that Insomnium could top their previous effort. Yet they did: if Above the Weeping World established what would become “the Insomnium sound” then Across the Dark perfected it. Other bands have tried to sound like Insomnium — that melancholic, dark, doomy vibe mixed with soaring melodic death metal, distinctly Scandinavian — but no one does it as well. Insomnium are the undisputed kings of this micro-corner of the metal universe, and Across the Dark is their masterwork.
Every song on Across the Dark is a complete winner. I told MetalGF this morning that this album makes me feel like I’m standing at the edge of a fjord in deepest, darkest winter under the swirling northern lights, arms stretched high to the sky in triump. I dare you to listen to track 2, “Down with the Sun,” without feeling like you’ve been infused with sudden powers of badassery. What’s remarkable is how simple so many of these riffs are — not rocket surgery — ’cause it’s the motion of the ocean, not the size of the wave.