Live at the Whisky a Go Go

West Hollywood, CA

June 6th, 2018

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Insomnium return, bringing their unique brand of Finnish progressive death metal to the North American continent once more. Having had an amazing run as supporting act last fall with Lacuna Coil and Epica, this time around we get a full headlining set featuring their latest album, "Winter's Gate" in its entirely along with a host of songs from their previous works as well.

The juxtapositions between harsh and melodic, light and darkness, full and warm to bleak and cold speak to the heart as their musical tales weave tapestries of legends and stories of survival in the harshest of climates.

Hailing from Finland, there is a heavy dose of their Viking culture throughout these tales, but there is also an emotional telling of these yarns that draw the listener in and make their sound, both on CD and especially live, a unique offering amongst the death metal scene.

Niilo Sevänen leads the pack, handling the main extreme vocals as well as bass guitar. He is joined by Ville Friman on guitar and clean vocals, Markus Vanhala on guitar, and Markus Hirvonen on drums.

As promised, they proceeded to play the latest album, "Winter's Gate" from start to finish. The songs them selves are simply titled Parts 1 through 7 and encapsulate an entire tale.  It is a great album and seeing it in its entirely in such a fashion made me love it even more.

Upon completion of this Viking saga, they delved back in to their catalog for a procession of favorites. The next three songs came from their previous release, "Shadows of the Dying Sun".

"The Primeval Dark" is a personal favorite and the reaction from the crowd proved that to be a general consensus. "While We Sleep" was followed by "Revelation" which also happens to be the first three songs from that album as they appear on the release.

"The Killjoy" was the only song taken from 2006's "Above the Weeping World". They played "Weather the Storm" next which was unexpected as this is actually a bonus song that is available only on the deluxe "One for Sorrow" release.

They returned to "Shadows of the Dying Sun" for two more of my favorite songs with "Ephemeral" followed by "The Promethean Song".  It had already been an epic set as their songs do not follow radio-friendly structures but each one is a meandering story in and of itself.

They had one final song to give us before their set was done. Insomnium played "Only One Who Waits" from "One for Sorrow" for their final song of the evening and then bid farewell.

It was a great show, even better than the last time I saw them, as they were able to play twice as many songs and gave us the "Winter's Gate" saga in its entirety.

In addition to the powerful and heavy music, there is beauty and melancholy portrayed in these songs that speaks to the soul and is quite uplifting. I highly recommend checking these guys out.

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