I suppose it's only fitting that my return to reviewing albums happens on an up note like this. After all, it's been months since I reviewed anything, and I am a bit out of touch with pretty much anything that's come out this year. So, when I was perusing the record store the other day and saw that Insomnium had put out a new album, without even thinking about it, I bought it. See, when a band this consistent has a new release, it's impossible to not feel like a kid on Christmas, and sure enough, as soon as the first somber notes of Inertia touched my ears, I felt as if Santa Claus himself had delivered presents to me and then died underneath my Christmas tree, never to finish his trip.
For those of you who are not familiar with Insomnium, imagine the most picturesque, soaring, anthemic metal that's shot through with crushingly tragic melodies, deep and growling vocals that rage against a wall of sadness, a constant juxtaposition between the struggle of living and the inevitable defeat brought to us by death. Always tasteful, never pretentious and overdone, and not saturated through with goth influence... it's just really good, depressing and yet majestic at the same time, and on One For Sorrow, Insomnium comes through again with a strong effort that matures without changing the formula that brought them to where they are today.
One For Sorrow continues nicely from their previous album, Across the Dark. There are some clean vocals on this as well, but they are much more integrated into the music, fitting much better into the fade of the songs. Like Across the Dark, the first two songs here act as two parts, with Inertia providing the intro to Through the Shadows. The pounding, heavy rhythm on Song of the Blackest Bird acts in direct contrast to the airy melodies of the guitars, and the intensity of the vocals turn that song into my favorite on the whole album.
Every song, though, is good. There is not a bad track on this album. Ten solid songs, ranging from the sounds of a dreamscape to the sounds of a collapsing world. Most bands can't pull this style off, but Insomnium finds the ultimate balance of technical prowess and song arrangement with raw emotion and an almost simplistic presentation that pulls you right into a melancholy and ponderous state of mind. I said this for every Insomnium album I've reviewed- I cannot recommend them strongly enough. Get this, or you really don't like music.