INSOMNIUM is a rising name in the melodic death metal scene here in Finland these days. With an excellent new album in stores now, “Across the Dark,” any opportunity to see them live has been a definite must. They played at Nosturi in Helsinki on October 9th, 2009, with AXEGRESSOR and OMNIUM GATHERUM warming up the stage.
The night was yet young when we headed to Nosturi, early enough to catch half of AXEGRESSOR‘s set. I had been warned by friends not to bother with this band, and I dare that there was no fault to be found in their assessment. While it may be personal distaste for thrash music, I do still appreciate bands with some style and originality, like STAM1NA. However, AXEGRESSOR played the most basic of basic cymbal-smashing thrash and there was little to be said for vocal quality.
OMNIUM GATHERUM was next on the roster and the first band of actual interest. The show overall was quite nice – the music was pretty good, the performance was solid – nothing mind-blowing, but neither was there anything offensive to the ear. However, Jukka Pelkonen [vocals] is a rare type when it comes to fronting a band. While he does tend to look pretty ridiculous at times and doesn’t have the strongest growl, one simply must appreciate the effort he puts into connecting with every single person in the crowd, going as far as to nearly seek them out one-by-one in an effort to get a smile. Ever see the movie Almost Famous – that scene where Jason Lee talks about fronting the band? “I look for the guy who isn’t getting people off, and I make him get off.” That’s what this reminds me of. Only without that particular character’s shitty attitude.
The rest of the band performs admirably as well, with Toni Mäki‘s cool style, Markus Vanhala‘s sweet shred… though Aapo Koivisto [keyboards] did not seem to be doing much and often appeared bored. His movement was wooden and he didn’t even seem to be playing all that frequently. Nevertheless, these guys are the type of band that I can simply enjoy casually, with a smile on my face.
INSOMNIUM, however, was the main attraction. I am quite new to the band, but I’ve been very enthusiastic about their material, which came highly recommended by many sources. We found a comfortable spot with a good view on the balcony. The sound was not optimal here, but neither was it awful.
I have to give my utmost praise for what was essentially a flawless performance. The vocals were incredible, the music was strong and well-executed. Jules Naveri, of PROFANE OMEN fame, stepped in to sing the clean vocals from “Across the Dark” – I had not expected such a powerful thrash-growler to sing so nicely. His vocals flowed beautifully with the material.
The set was also very well chosen, with old favorites like “Mortal Share” mixed with gorgeous new tracks like intro “Equivalence” and my personal favorite, “Where the Last Wave Broke.” I was also thrilled that they didn’t neglect the instrumental intro, “The Gale,” prior to “Mortal Share” as many bands would have.
Overall, INSOMNIUM had an outstanding performance. Niilo Sevänen [vocals, bass] has an amazing, deep growl, and his stage presence is strong and powerful, while the band as a whole know how when to rock out and when to sync up. Combined with OMNIUM GATHERUM as an opener, we left the venue feeling like it was a night well spent.
2. Down with the Sun
3. Drawn to Black
4. The Killjoy
5. Daughter of the Moon
6. The Harrowing Years
7. Where the Last Wave Broke
8. The Lay of Autumn
10. The Gale
11. Mortal Share
12. Devoid of Caring
13. The Day it All Came Down (encore)
14. Weighted Down with Sorrow (encore)
Written by Bear Wiseman
Interview with messier — “There’s only three of us, so we have to make it count and get the sound as big as we can.”