#TBT: MeloDeath March Continues with INSOMNIUM's Above The Weeping World
Welcome to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. TBT number 63 continues a month featuring one of my favorite genres in the metalverse: Melodeath. Finland's Insomnium is this week's feature with their third studio release Above the Weeping World. A truly remarkable album, Above the Weeping World is an absolute staple in the world of melodeath, bridging the old-school Gothenburg-style with new a unique blend of emotion and reflection that resulted in a record that fans absolutely adore.
INSOMNIUM'S ABOVE THE WEEPING WORLD
Release Date: August 2006
Record Label: Candlelight Records
Melodic death metal is a genre with a hard boundary. Bands who're successful in this genre learn to build up – not out. What I mean by that is the best bands in the melodic death genre seem to perfect their sound by becoming better at their instruments, creating better mixes, and becoming better song writers and lyricists instead of becoming experimental. Leaning too catchy or 'pop-y' can easily push melodic death into power metal or symphonic metal, and experimenting too far with additional elements and push the genre into progressive territory. With melodic death metal, I'm looking for layers of sound, expressive melody, thick and satisfying growls, and technical, additive guitar solos. I'm also looking for a certain kind of energy – one that feels inspiring and uplifting.
Insomnium are some of the best in the business at crafting memorable melodic death metal, and Above The Weeping World is by far one of their best works. This album embodies every single aforementioned hallmark of melodic death metal. What makes Insomnium and Above The Weeping World unique in the world of melodeath are tracks like "Change of Heart". The song is driven by the drum work and riff-based melody instead of solo or vocal melody. Moments of the two synchronizing create an Amon Amarth like intensity. Each time the drum expression changes (every 8 – 16 bars or so), the depth shifts and the and energy completely changes. It kicks ass and gives me goose bumps 99% of the time.
In fact, the drum work across the entire album controls the texture of each song. The attention to the execution of percussion contours this album from ear-catching to truly amazing. If you like "Change of Heart, "Drawn to Black" has some of the same Amon Amarth stylings to it as well. The guitar/drum integration works so well in melodeath because it loans itself perfectly to that driving, inexhaustible sense of 'end of the movie' all-or-nothing desperation. And, I live for it.
Above The Weeping World offers more than melodeath's trademarks of repetitive refrains and building momentum – it also incorporates Insomnium's iconic finger-tapped solos and parts kissed with black-metal-style tremolo picking. The album reflects growth for the band in several gorgeous, acoustic-y breakdowns. "Last Statement" has one of these elements that bleeds into a gorgeous, emotional outro.
"At the Gates of Sleep" and "In The Groves of Death" are two more songs with very welcome acoustic parts that heighten the reflection and intensity of each track. I don't find them forced, and their execution feels focused and satisfyingly somber.
Above The Weeping World exudes refinement and attention to emotion which is exactly what I come to melodic death to find. "Mortal Share" is another stand-out track that happens to have a (strange) official music video.
Even considering the hard borders of the melodeath formula, Insomnium created a stand-out album with Above The Weeping World. The record manages to veer away from monotony and asks us to come back again and again for another listen. Tag us on your social media with #melodeathmarch and #metalinjection and let us know who your favorite melodic death bands are! Bonus TBT points for older albums :)