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Insomnium - Argent Moon review




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Reviewer:
9.0

63 users:
7.79
Band: Insomnium
Album: Argent Moon
Release date: September 2021


01. The Conjurer
02. The Reticent
03. The Antagonist
04. The Wanderer


This song must be over one and a half hour long… What? "Four track EP?" Oh, I see: though each chapter is a captivating composition with its own character, the four combine into a novella rather than an anthology. Argent Moon is more than the sum of its parts, and I've been listening for hours.

About 434 851 200 seconds ago, I was shorter, had no sense of fashion, yet am still somehow wearing the same shirts today. Roughly 7 247 520 minutes ago, I had short hair with crimson highlights, life was easier, and I've likely cut my life shorter since then. Circa 120 792 hours ago, I didn't listen to music on my phone, but on a mp3-player device with limited storage capacity. More or less 5033 days ago, limited storage capacity mattered little to someone with a musical taste limited to a handful of bands. Around 719 weeks ago, having recently expanded my musical taste by 1000% (no, that's not how percentages work), I was excited to attend my second gig ever, having travelled to Fryshuset, Stockholm to catch Amorphis' Silent Waters tour.

One of the opening acts was Swallow The Sun, and I remember thinking they were pretty cool. It would've been funny had the other support band not been who you'd expect, considering all this build-up, but of course it was one of the bands I would later be told it is a "travesty" not having listened to. I get that a lot, but of course I have heard Insomnium (once) before (for roughly half an hour on November 29, 2007), so you got nothing on me! I have vague memories of the gig, but I'm quite sure I liked it. Fast-forward 13 years, 9 months and 11 days, and here I'm sitting asking myself what took me so long. Now, I've sampled some of their discography as reference points, and while Argent Moon is undoubtedly a metal album, there is very much an unplugged, mellow, sort of singer-songwriter vibe going on here. As the band stated, it is an EP "grow[n] in the darkness and misery of the quarantine", and focuses on their softer side.

Considering the variety of moods, creative song arrangements, and exciting shifts in dynamics they've put into only 23 minutes of music, Insomnium are clearly multi-faceted enough to remain excellent songwriters no matter the level of distortion. "The Conjurer" opens the EP with a rollercoaster ride of alternating moments of sparse, around-the-campfire acoustic strumming and subtle piano chords with ever heavier moments of melodic death metal. Near the one-minute mark, as the lead guitar chimed out a soaring, rising melody, something nowadays quite rare in music occurred: a performance truly impressed me. Niilo Sevänen's is a curious flavour of growl; not quite a guttural death rumble nor a hoarse post-hardcore scream but somewhere in-between, and with just a sombre hint of tonality that, just like the songs on Argent Moon, becomes more than the sum of its parts. As "The Conjurer" retreats into a breather, that rising lead melody twists into a descent, and the song attacks and retreats a few times more, each time with more ferocity. Then, this melody is suddenly undergoing some mixed ascent and descent, and the puzzle pieces previously laid out in the song all combine to blast off into a "Starless" climax tapering off into synth drones.

Three of these four songs have already been available on streaming services for a while now, so I'll save my words for the final track. Well, most words, after I raise a glass to the pseudo-easy-listening quasi-ballad that is "The Retinent". Jani Liimatainen is a decent singer, but he could've been off-key for all I care; the song is the least interesting of the four, but there's a vulnerability to his voice that would've not even been necessary for the lyrics to hit hard in the relatability solar plexus. I'll admit that two years ago, when the world suddenly came under threat by a bunch of unwashed bats, I sort of enjoyed the isolation. Little by little, imperceptibly slowly, however, it all went to shit, and by spring 2021 I found myself in a severe state of burnout, catatonia, and emotional instability. Coupled with an already severe case of insomnia made ten times worse by the circumstances, I sort of... lost touch with reality for a while. More than usual, I mean. What eventually got to me was not the social distancing or the fear of illness, but the collapse of all external structure. Eventually I found that "I keep losing track of time / My sense of self where I belong / I keep falling deeper into the hole / Disconnected, all alone". No doubt, words ringing as true to many of you as they do to me.

I found the decision to release three fourths of the album in advance curious, but whether due to label decision or cunning sleight of hand, Insomnium turns out to have saved the best for last. "The Wanderer" sets a campfire-at-the-end-of-the-road vibe with unplugged rhythmic strumming and plucked arpeggios, soon disturbed by reverberating, weary war drums. "The Antagonist" (anti-heroes are still all the rage, eh?) reflects, in layered vocals emphasised by erratic trebly flourishes, on selling his soul "to unveil the secrets … to possess the richest". Then, a plot twist: Argent Moon unplugs its unplugged one last time, Markus Hirvonen trades the omnipresent echo of his toms for a straight-forward 4/4 beat, the guitars chug out an upbeat, highly danceable (yes, please) groove, setting up for a harsh/clean duet: "For death will never touch me / They won't take me", as if finding solace in the fact that an aeon of immortality will sooner or later make him forget every detail of his regrettable past.

I'm not sure whether death is a cure or a curse. I'm dead sure insomnia is no cure, but a curse. Most of all, I'm sure Insomnium will be a frequent cure for the curse of silence from now on. After all, I've 13 years, 9 months and 11 days to catch up with.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 8





Written on 09.09.2021 by Slam an axe into your boat, then row for your life.


Comments

Comments: 15   Visited by: 294 users
09.09.2021 - 19:46
Sand

"words ringing as true to many of you as they do to me"
I can say that even though I might have "overgrown" this type of melodeath that Insomnium play, their lyrics were the most relatable + motivational texts in my past. Songs like Weather the storm and Ephemeral, While we sleep... I don't doubt that the lyrics on this one are any less helpful so I'll go back to my beloved band from the past, for a while <3

Also, nicely written review, sir Netzach. Do you think that there might be _too much_ of your personal stories in some of your reviews, though? Just a thought
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Non serviam
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10.09.2021 - 02:35
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by Sand on 09.09.2021 at 19:46

"words ringing as true to many of you as they do to me"
I can say that even though I might have "overgrown" this type of melodeath that Insomnium play, their lyrics were the most relatable + motivational texts in my past. Songs like Weather the storm and Ephemeral, While we sleep... I don't doubt that the lyrics on this one are any less helpful so I'll go back to my beloved band from the past, for a while <3

Also, nicely written review, sir Netzach. Do you think that there might be _too much_ of your personal stories in some of your reviews, though? Just a thought

Thanks, and non serviam. ! It felt like an appropriate tone for this album's theme, I mostly see it as telling a story about my listening experience. How much is too much? I haven't thought about it, have you?
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10.09.2021 - 15:02
KaninStryparn

Good review! took me 128 seconds to read it
Going to speedrun this review later, gotta listen to the EP first!
----
Heavy Metal is the law that keeps us all united free
A law that shatters earth and hell
Loading...
10.09.2021 - 19:21
Grouch Douglas
Enigma
I rarely check out any EP that's under 30 minutes, but your review convinced me. Anyway, Insomnium is one of my favorite bands so I'm sure I will enjoy this immensely.
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10.09.2021 - 20:33
doez
Hallucigenia
Written by KaninStryparn on 10.09.2021 at 15:02

Good review! took me 128 seconds to read it
Going to speedrun this review later, gotta listen to the EP first!

Speedrunning reviews, that's a rather interesting idea, maybe speedrun.com could host a metal storm category
Loading...
10.09.2021 - 20:57
nikarg
Mod
Man, this is a great review. I like the personal touch - although it does make the review run long - as well as the fact that it is written by someone unfamiliar with the band (even though I don't know how someone can be unfamiliar with Insomnium; how did you achieve that while being at Metal Storm? ). Definitely took me more than 128 seconds to read but I wasn't counting
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11.09.2021 - 10:49
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Insomnium discog binge now
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


2021 goodies
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11.09.2021 - 20:35
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by KaninStryparn on 10.09.2021 at 15:02

Good review! took me 128 seconds to read it
Going to speedrun this review later, gotta listen to the EP first!

Do you keep time of other daily life stuff speedruns like you do with reviews?
Loading...
11.09.2021 - 20:44
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by nikarg on 10.09.2021 at 20:57

Man, this is a great review. I like the personal touch -

unfamiliar with Insomnium

Thanks, a personal touch felt appropriate, and necessary to convey the emotions on the record. Show, don't tell

See, that's what I get a lot!
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11.09.2021 - 20:44
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by RaduP on 11.09.2021 at 10:49

Insomnium discog binge now

Oh, right, thanks for reminding me bro
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11.09.2021 - 20:46
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by doez on 10.09.2021 at 20:33

Written by KaninStryparn on 10.09.2021 at 15:02

Good review! took me 128 seconds to read it
Going to speedrun this review later, gotta listen to the EP first!

Speedrunning reviews, that's a rather interesting idea, maybe speedrun.com could host a metal storm category

Speedrun writing a review... Vs speedrun reading it... There's a turnbased game brewing
Loading...
11.09.2021 - 21:16
doez
Hallucigenia
Written by Netzach on 11.09.2021 at 20:46

Speedrun writing a review... Vs speedrun reading it... There's a turnbased game brewing

And there's the all star category, where you speedrun listening to an album, then speedrun reviewing it and then speedrun reading your review
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13.09.2021 - 07:55
KaninStryparn

Quote:
Do you keep time of other daily life stuff speedruns like you do with reviews?

just reading and sex. my pb at sex is 12 seconds
----
Heavy Metal is the law that keeps us all united free
A law that shatters earth and hell
Loading...
15.09.2021 - 21:00
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by KaninStryparn on 13.09.2021 at 07:55

Written by Netzach on 11.09.2021 at 20:46

Do you keep time of other daily life stuff speedruns like you do with reviews?

just reading and sex. my pb at sex is 12 seconds

I take this to mean, since you obviously know what you are doing here, that you also combine speedreading speedreviews with premature ejaculation speedsex runs? Btw, how about that + evening soon
Loading...
16.09.2021 - 11:18
KaninStryparn

Written by Netzach on 15.09.2021 at 21:00

Written by KaninStryparn on 13.09.2021 at 07:55

Written by Netzach on 11.09.2021 at 20:46

Do you keep time of other daily life stuff speedruns like you do with reviews?

just reading and sex. my pb at sex is 12 seconds

I take this to mean, since you obviously know what you are doing here, that you also combine speedreading speedreviews with premature ejaculation speedsex runs? Btw, how about that + evening soon

that beer and metal evening is happening, right now i'm moving to another apartment. i'll hit you up when im done with that
----
Heavy Metal is the law that keeps us all united free
A law that shatters earth and hell
Loading...

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