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They might be at risk of losing their notability. - 80%

eyes_of_apocalypse, January 25th, 2012

Insomnium is pretty much "the" melodic death metal band these days, and for good reason. Ever since their 2002 debut, they've been churning out record after record of prime material. For those not in the know (which you should be, because these guys are like one of the most popular melodeath bands now, aren't they?), Insomnium is known for their brand of melancholic, mournful melodic death metal which they've been doing since 2004's Since the Day It All Came Down - their debut, In the Halls of Awaiting, was more in the style of old In Flames + Amorphis than what they're doing now. Something about the way they form their riffs produce a certain sorrowful quality that I've seen labeled as the "crying guitar" - and really, it's a fitting label. Few bands really evoke emotion with me the way they intend to, but Insomnium is definitely one of them. Tracks from their prior albums such as "Weighed Down with Sorrow" rank as some of the most emotively somber music I've ever heard. This newest album of theirs, One for Sorrow, is effectively the same thing.

While these guys really do not have a mediocre record at all, I believe that their 2006 album Above the Weeping World, which happens to be one of my favorite albums from the 2000s, is the epitome of their sound hitherto this point. While all of their albums since Since the Day It All Came Down are really doing the same thing, Above the Weeping World did it the best. The mournful melodies climaxed perfectly in this album and created some of the most fantastic melodeath of the last decade. Since then, their albums have been going in a downward slope, however. Across the Dark was worse than it's predecessor, and so is One for Sorrow worse than its predecessor.

This is not inherently the problem with this album though. This album offers solid tracks all throughout. From the opening acoustic "Inertia" to the heartbreaking finally title track, the album never loses its appeal. There are obvious high points - "One for Sorrow" is full of sorrowful melody that makes my heart weep, and "Lay the Ghost to Rest" has great progression, beautifully somber riffing, and a bone-chilling climax. Likewise, there are obvious lowpoints - opener "Inertia" is a far cry from the memorable beauties that opened their previous three albums (and some of the best introduction songs ever), and "Regain the Fire" just sounds to me like what an Insomnium cover band would be doing... You know, the Insomnium sound, but generically. Everything here though is good. I think one big problem that arose here with me though is that while everything is good, it's the same stuff they've been doing for four records now, and of slightly worse quality at that.

But, again, this is not the problem with the record. The problem with the record is that... it's the same stuff they've been doing for four records now. At what point does their sound become tiring and droll? At what point do they fade into obscurity of the bands that have essentially re-released the same record half a dozen times? Insomnium's sound is fantastic, but it's not changing much between records. They've spiced this album up a bit by including more use of clean vocals, but that created another problem with me: the clean vocals (which do sound quite nice) often times make the songs they appear in sound happy... and that is not an adjective one should want to see describing an Insomnium song. But I digress; despite the clean vocals (which are still used sparingly, by the way), the instruments - which are still top notch - are doing the same thing they've been doing for four albums now. As long as they keep doing their sound well, really, I can't complain. There's going to come a point though where it sounds like they're recycling all of their old material, and I can already hear that just slightly here.

Make no mistakes though - I'm giving this record an 80% justifiably. It's still good, quality music, and when looking back on what was released in 2011, it's definitely an honorable mention. I'm just worried they're going to lose their appeal if they don't mix things up a bit more. Maybe add a bit more of that faster and ultimately less melancholic stuff that showed up in In the Halls of Awaiting.