After a couple of pretty tumultuous years for the Finnish melodeath masters of Insomnium due to the pandemic, with an unfortunate situation where their US tour got cut off after barely playing any shows and a quite different release with the ‘Argent Moon’ EP, they’re back again with a new full-length! When we talked with Markus Vanhala back in 2021, he promised us that their next music will be “grumpy old angry guys kind of music again, no ballads” (check out the interview here), which seems to be very much the case when listening to the already released singles. And add to that the fact that ‘Anno 1696’ is yet again based on a short story written by vocalist/bassist Niilo Sevänen, similar to the epic ‘Winter’s Gate’ album, we’re getting pretty excited about things! Time for us to sit down with Niilo and guitarist Ville Friman to have a chat about things…
Before diving into the new album ‘Anno 1696’, we shortly talk about how their 70 000 Tons of Metal trip was since they were back for only a couple of days when we caught up with Niilo and Ville. Seems like they highly enjoyed themselves, recommending everyone to go to the festival cruise at least once in your lifetime.
About the writing of the new album, they tell us that they’ve been working on material for the album on and off throughout the pandemic since there was nothing much more to do besides creating new stuff. So some of the songs have been around for quite a while already in some form. ‘Anno 1696’ is again based on a short story written by Niilo, though this time the story was explicitly written with the intention to make an album around it. And while comparisons to what they did with ‘Winter’s Gate‘ back in 2016 are easy to make, they did things somewhat different again by for instance writing the songs more as something that will accompany the story instead of the linear story they did with that album. Not one long song of over 40 minutes this time, but separate tracks that tell some part of the story each on its own.
They also talk about how much they’re into creating this kind of total package and experiences with special editions including vinyls, art book, the short story, … Which has become something they really find joy in to put things together and make it as nice as possible for their fans. Another thing that is sort of something different from their usual way of working, is the inclusion of Johanna Kurkela on ‘Godforsaken‘ and Sakis Tolis on ‘White Christ‘ as guest vocalists. Johanna was almost an obvious choice, since Ville met her and her husband Tuomas Holopainen in London when they were on a trip, and she was all too happy to fill in for the previously just programmed female vocals on the track. Niilo and Ville also told us that the track ‘Godforsaken’ at first had the working title ‘Sakis‘ because the song had a strong Rotting Christ vibe, and they were kind of aiming to get Sakis to contribute to the song.
If they’re going to do a tour where they play the album in full from start to finish like they did with ‘Winter’s Gate‘ is still up in the air, since this time they’re not stuck to playing the full album like they were back then. I guess we’ll see what they end up doing with it on upcoming tours, make sure you catch them on their US tour with Enslaved in April to at least get to hear a couple of new tracks live!
‘Anno 1696’ is out on February 24, but while waiting, check out our review here!
Or take your chance to get a track-by-track and snippets of all the songs by answering the questions in the Insomnium quiz you can find here: https://www.insomnium-quiz.com/
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