Insomnium Unveil New Album ‘Anno 1696’ and Single ‘The Witch Hunter’

Alex de Borba

Alex de Borba

Insomnium, the Finnish melodic death metal veterans, announced the release of their ninth full-length album, ‘Anno 1696,’ on February 24th via Century Media Records. Accompanying the album is the release of their new single, ‘The Witch Hunter,’ an epic blend of darkness and aggression with hauntingly beautiful melodies.

They are a Finnish melodic death metal band from Joensuu founded in 1997, comprised of Niilo Sevänen, vocalist and bassist, and vocalists and guitarists Ville Friman and Jani Liimatainen, guitarist Markus Vanhala, and drummer Markus Hirvonen. Insomnium has become one of the top acts in their genre over the years by creating music that combines elements of modern melodic death metal with strong melodies and an innate sadness that comes through in the music and lyrics. Since its inception, Insomnium has released eight studio albums, two EPs, two DVDs, and two demos.

‘In The Halls of Awaiting,’ their debut album, is highly regarded in the melodic death metal genre. The album, which was released on Candlelight Records on April 30th, 2002, exemplifies the band’s musical abilities and showcases their skill in crafting powerful and memorable metal tracks. The album’s songwriting is strong, with each track delivering a unique and engaging listening experience. Heavy guitar riffs, thunderous drums, and hauntingly beautiful melodies distinguish the music. The production is superb, with each instrument having a noticeable presence in the mix.

The album’s vocals are particularly remarkable, with the lead singer delivering a powerful and emotional performance. The lyrics are well-written, with themes that pursue life, death, and the human condition. The album is a well-rounded and cohesive oeuvre, with each song building on the preceding to create a memorable and powerful listening experience.

One must admit that for a debut album such as ‘In The Halls of Awaiting,’ Insomnium made a significant impact on the metal scene with an album that is a must-listen for fans of melodic death metal. Songwriting, musicianship, and production all make a contribution to an unforgettable listening experience. This album serves as a testament to Insomnium’s talent and creativity, and it is a stylistic classic that will be relished for years to come.

‘In The Halls of Awaiting’ undoubtedly set the tone for what was to come: a string of melodic yet heavy albums that earned them a worldwide following.

Insomnium - ‘Anno 1696’
Insomnium – ‘Anno 1696’

They released their second album, ‘Since the Day It All Came Down,’ on May 4th, 2004, which was much more polished than their debut, with orchestral arrangements in some tracks as well as a newly added folk element.

They released their third album, ‘Above the Weeping World,’ on October 17th, 2006. It included songs like ‘Drawn to Black’ and ‘At the Gates of Sleep,’ which adopted new melodic death metal standards. The album also debuted at number nine on the Finnish album charts, a remarkable achievement for a melodic death metal band.

Three years later, the band released their fourth studio album, ‘Across the Dark,’ on which they started experimenting with new elements such as acoustic guitars and lighter songs like ‘The Lay Of Autumn’ while preserving their trademark style. This album was a watershed moment in the band’s career, as they began to gain broader acclaim in Europe and North America.

On October 18th, 2011, their fifth album, ‘One For Sorrow,’ was released by their new label, Century Media Records. The result was arguably their most successful record to date, with the single ‘Only One Who Waits’ receiving massive airplay across Europe and North America.

In 2013, they returned to the studio to work on their sixth full-length album, ‘Shadows Of The Dying Sun,’ which was released on April 29th, 2014, and included fan favorites such as ‘While We Sleep’ and ‘Ephemeral.’

‘Winter’s Gate,’ Insomnium’s seventh studio album, was released on September 23rd, 2016. The album was an ambitious, one-of-a-kind concept album based on a 40-minute track. This lengthy composition included seven separate songs, each of which explored a different aspect of the story told throughout this album.

‘Heart Like a Grave,’ their eighth studio album, was released on October 4th, 2019. This release sees them expanding on the sound they have been working on for years.

The band’s upcoming new studio album, ‘Anno 1696,’ promises the same heavy riffs and melodic harmonies that fans have come to expect while also delving into a darker and more mature sound. It follows their 2019 release, ‘Heart Like a Grave,’ and is expected to contain some of the band’s most heavy material to date.

In support of the album, Insomnium has released ‘The Witch Hunter,’ the first single and video visualizer. The song captures their sound perfectly, combining darkness and aggression with hauntingly beautiful melodies. The video is a fantastical, almost static witching animation that tells the story of a witch hunter who, it makes it appear, must confront his own inner demons. It also includes a witch and a grey wolf, bringing to the video an eerie ambiance.

In terms of the video, guitarist Markus Vanhala said that “This is a good example of a song growing and finding its own wings during the studio process. This one definitely has a cinematic feel; the storyline needs the essence of journey moving forward. In fact, I made a Finnish vocal demo for this one, reading and screaming Niilo’s storyline, but only the name stayed and translated from ‘Noidanmetsästäjä’ to English. But that’s another story and a secret version never to be found by ‘outsiders…’.”

Niilo Sevänen, bassist/vocalist, continues: “This is Markus Vanhala’s composition; it actually does not really sound like the archetypal Insomnium song and has some very interesting elements. One of the songs that improved the most in the studio in my opinion – and became one of the singles. Lyrically it continues to tell the story from the Witch Hunter’s point of view.”

“For me, this song has a really strong cinematic feel to it, and I can easily travel into the story in my head when I close my eyes,” guitarist Ville Friman concluded.

Insomnium has been a mainstay of the metal scene since their debut, ‘In The Halls Of Awaiting,’ in 2002. Since then, they have poured out some of the genre’s most beloved and acclaimed albums, helping to define the melodic death metal sound. ‘Anno 1696’ will almost certainly be no exception.

Insomnium has performed in countries all across Europe, as well as North America and Japan, throughout their career. The band has opened for renowned acts such as Children of Bodom and Amon Amarth, as well as toured with Ensiferum, Wintersun, and Dark Tranquillity.

Fans can now pre-order their upcoming album, ‘Anno 1696,’ through our shop as well as watch and listen to their ‘The Witch Hunter’ video below.

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