Anno 1696
Century Media
Out : February 24, 2023
Playing Time : 50:32

Insomnium – that’s Melodic Death Metal from Finland. At first, the band was a quartet, founded in the eastern Finnish city of Joensuu by Niilo Sevänen, Ville Friman, Tapani Pesonen and Markus Hirvonen. Only Tapani is no longer part of the band. The first demo CD was released two years later. Because of the success it took only one year until the next demo. In 2001, the band was able to get a record deal with Candlelight Records. In the meantime, the band has five members, three guitarists and is signed to Century Media. In February, “Anno 1696”, already the ninth studio album, was released.

The opener “1696” is not called exactly the same as the album. Nevertheless, it can be considered the title track. Thanks to the acoustic guitars at the beginning, the song has a slightly folky touch, later on it seems atmospheric, partly thrashy. Also “White Christ” starts quietly at first, again with acoustic guitars. Later on, the sound can be described as a Death Metal anthem, as the sound comes out of the speakers. Thanks to the female vocals, “Godforsaken” is a little reminiscent of Eluveitie. After the elf-like introduction, the rhythm section crushes everything. Only when the Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela kicks in, it gets a bit quieter again. “Lilian” is then much catchier. Insomnium come across very melodic here, even the evil growls of shouter Niilo Sevänen can’t change that. Also “Starless Paths” sounds melodic at first, later various thrash elements flow in. It becomes more melodic again with “The Witch Hunter”. You could imagine the ballad “The Unrest” at a campfire in the far north. The wood is crackling, accompanied by acoustic guitar melodies. Romantic. Here you can hear one of the rare excursions into clear vocals. The introduction of “The Rapids” seamlessly follows the quiet predecessor. But this is only the calm before the storm, before driving double bass attacks provide a Metallic end to the album.

Nominally, the line-up lists two singers for clear vocals.  However, there is not much of that to be heard on “Anno 1696”. Unfortunately, one might say. Nevertheless, Insomnium have delivered a very good album. The musical range is impressive. This is how I enjoy listening to Melodic Death Metal.

Insomnium – White Christ (feat. Sakis Tolis):

Insomnium 2022. From left Jani Liimatainen (guitar), Markus Vanhala (guitar), Niilo Sevänen (vocals and base), Ville Friman (guitar), Markus Hirvonen (drums). Century Media Records. Photo by Terhi Ylimäinen


Niilo Sevänen – Bass, Vocals
Ville Friman – Guitars
Jani Liimatainen – Guitars, Clean Vocals
Markus Vanhala – Guitars, Clean Vocals
Markus Hirvonen – Drums

Track list:

  • 1696
  • White Christ (feat. Sakis Tolis)
  • Godforsaken (feat. Johanna Kurkela)
  • Lilian 
  • Starless Paths
  • The Witch Hunter
  • The Unrest 
  • The Rapids
  • Album - 8/10
  • Cover-Art - 8/10
  • Song Writing - 9/10


Disturbingly Good


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