Insomnium are a Finnish melodic death metal band and this is their ninth album.
I loved 2016’s Winter’s Gate, and 2021’s Argent Moon was pretty damn good to, so I knew that I wanted to check out what Anno 1696 had to offer. Across 50 minutes of material Insomnium once again treat us to a feast of metallic might.
These songs are richly textured and potently melodic. The music is a tapestry of precisely woven detail, with each instrument playing a keen part in bringing the whole to life. This is music-as-narrative, with Insomnium’s charismatic style sounding more layered, intricate, and emotive than ever. Not to mention darker and rougher too.
The band’s skilled songwriting is professional and heartfelt, making for a finely crafted collection of affecting and impactful tracks. It’s a dramatic and varied journey that the band take the listener on, one filled with tragedy and sorrow, but also rage and anger.
The core of Insomnium’s melodic death metal powers much of Anno 1696, yet it’s not the only driving factor here. Folk influences, both in the music and story, are firmly embedded, while elements of melodic mournful doom and pinches of progressive metal are apparent too. Anno 1696 also showcases a much more blackened side to the band, at least in places; sometimes you can really feel the frozen winds furiously howling through history.
A deeply atmospheric album that’s layered with nuanced feeling and outbursts of grim violence, Anno 1696 is captivatingly expressive creation. Darker and more unforgiving than some might be expecting, this is an effortlessly impressive album. Beauty and horror combine in music that’s both enjoyable and rewarding.