Insomnium, "Since the Day it All Came Down"
Insomnium threw down the gauntlet on their debut In the Halls of the Awating. The disc blended the absolute best elements of Sentenced with aggression and drive reminiscent of earlier Dark Tranquillity, and the result was an edgier, far more engaging listen than 99% of the bands in Finland or Sweden could ever even hope for.
With their sophomore release Since the Day it All Came Down, Insominum is faced with the large challenge of one-upping their debut, a task I'm sure even the band isn't too thrilled to have to face. The disc starts out well with an intro that segues nicely into "The Day it All Came Down," the band's best track to date. It's fast and melodic, with songwriting smarts by the truckload. The next six tracks, though all completely solid, all have a softer edge that could have been sharpened to make the disc a bit flashier.
From "Death Walked the Earth" through the end of the album, however, Insomnium breathes some fresh air into their material, making the acoustic interludes and stunningly beautiful melodies seem like more than just another use of the group's patented formula. "Closing Words" is fast and criminally upbeat for a band written by a group of Finns, though "Disengagement" makes up for this with its slower, thoroughly crushing attack. Aside from the title track, the meat of this disc resides nearer the end, making listening to Since the Day it All Came Down seem a little imbalanced.
In all, I don't feel like Insomnium succeeded in topping their debut with this album, though it's clear that they made a worthy attempt. They were hindered by no longer having the surprise factor, failing to capitalize on the heavier, more aggressive elements of their material, as well as maybe taking one too many trips to the well of acoustic interludes. Despite all this criticism, if I'd heard Since the Day it All Came Down before In the Halls of the Awating, my reviews of the two discs would probably be swapped. Try to think of Insomnium's second album as the second half of their debut; be happy with it, but don't expect the next step in the group's evolution yet.
The Day it All Came Down