INSOMNIUM + THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER + STAM1NA

27.11.2019
Veranstalter: Backstage Concerts GmbH
Veranstaltungsort: Backstage Werk
Adresse: Friedenheimer Brücke
80639 München

INSOMNIUM

Hailing from the land of thousand lakes, boasting with a thousand melodies and spawning a thousand emotions comes “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”, sixth studio album of Finland's melodic metal magicians INSOMNIUM. An album born of the melancholy, sorrow and dreariness of long winter nights, as relentless and overwhelming as an autumn storm and yet as refreshing as the first sunbeams of a spring morning and as peaceful as a mild summer's eve.

Two and a half years after their acclaimed masterpiece “One For Sorrow” the Finns return with an album that brings them one step closer to the Olympus of melodic metal where their established countrymen Amorphis shouldn't ensconce themselves too comfortably. “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”, which once again immerses deeply into stirring abysses of melancholy, is even more varied, intense and dynamic than its predecessor – with each new album INSOMNIUM seem to bring their songwriting craftsmanship closer to perfection. “We haven't changed our style dramatically”, vocalist and bassist Niilo Sevänen explains the general approach of the new album. “Fans can rest assured that it is still classic INSOMNIUM. Of course there's also some new flavors here and there, and maybe it's even more diverse compared with the last album. The easy stuff is easier than before, the heavy stuff is heavier. The contrasts between the songs are probably bigger than on any of our previous albums.”

Exhibit A for the impressive sonic range INSOMNIUM cover on “Shadows Of The Dying Sun” is placed right in the centre of the album: While the beastly “Black Heart Rebellion” features brutal blast beats and even ventures into black metal realms, the ensuing gut-wrenching semi-ballad “Lose To Night” may be the softest song INSOMNIUM have ever written. An emotional roller coaster the listener cannot flinch from. Of course it takes some reruns to fully grasp all the subtleties and details of the majestic compositions gathered on this tantalizing opus, however, those are the kind of records that outlive the rush of fresh excitement and finally become something bigger than just another new album, aren't they? “That's what we aim for, to have an interesting, diverse, long-lasting album that you don't get fed up with”, Sevänen describes the musical self-conception of a band that has evolved impressively since their foundation in the Finnish university city of Joensuu back in 1997.

Inspired by bands such as their legendary countrymen Amorphis and Sentenced, early Paradise Lost or Swedish genre pioneers à la In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates or Opeth, 17-year-old Sevänen buried his grunge band and asked his metalhead schoolmates Ville Friman and Markus Hirvonen if they wanted to form a metal band with him. From that point, the only direction for INSOMNIUM was up: album by album – from their 2002 debut “In the Halls Of Awaiting” via “Since The Day It All Came Down” (2004), “Above The Weeping World” (2006) and “Across The Dark” (2009) through to their Century Media debut “One for Sorrow” (2011) – also introducing Markus Vanhala as the new fourth member. And tour by tour the passionate musicians edged their way to the very top of the scene and have by now become the spearhead of melodic death metal made in Finland.

Even the departure of longtime guitarist Ville Vänni shortly before their tour supporting “One For Sorrow” at the end of 2011 couldn't knock INSOMNIUM off course. With new guitarist Markus Vanhala, who has contributed considerably to “Shadows Of The Dying Sun”, they found an equal substitute for Vänni who left the band amicably for personal issues.

Maybe an album title like “Shadows Of The Dying Sun” might sound cliché for a melodic metal band from Finland at first. However, once you are lost in the fascinating sonic realms that INSOMNIUM conquer here, “Shadows Of The Dying Sun” suddenly becomes the only title possible. Branding the band as cliché Finns would be quite superficial anyway, especially as melodic monsters like “While We Sleep” or the album's first single “Ephemeral” exude an immensely positive aura. “Somehow our music has always something sad, dark and dreary, and our lyrics just fit the music. It's the kind of music we love and want to make, the kind of music that makes us feel good. It doesn't mean that we are depressed or sad in our lives”, Sevänen muses. “And we do have empowering, hopeful and uplifting songs as well, even though at first sight some song titles may appear quite sad and melancholic. But there is an optimistic vibe hidden somewhere in our lyrics, some hope that not all is lost.”

An optimistic vibe becomes INSOMNIUM anyhow, seeing that they are about to conquer new frontiers with their manifold sixth studio album whose cover was once again designed by Ghost Brigade guitarist Wille Naukkarinen who had already done such a great job on “Across The Dark” and “One For Sorrow”.

Fearlessly and wakefully, INSOMNIUM now dispel the shadows of a dying sun – and head into a new tomorrow: The dawn of musical majesty.

 

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER

Any band that has earned an army of devout followers through dropping seven killer full-lengths - and touring their collective ass off for sixteen years - could perhaps be forgiven for thinking they could take it easy as they wade into their eighth release. But that's just not The Black Dahlia Murder's style, and Nightbringers is testament to that. Having released their most accomplished, aggressive, and emotionally diverse music to date in the form of 2015's Abysmal, the Michigan quintet have once more pushed themselves to new heights, and the 34 minutes of searing melodic death metal that comprises Nightbringers is riveting listening. "I always feel a responsibility to the people who support this band when we start making a new record," asserts vocalist Trevor Strnad. "The pressure that comes from people being excited to hear what you come up with next can be intimidating, but it's so exciting that those people love you so much for just doing what you do. It makes you want to honor what you've done in the past, but also excite them with where you go next, and that definitely drove us on 'Nightbringers'. When we started writing I honestly didn't know we had this album in us, and I feel really proud of it. It's a great moment for us."

Rather than meticulously plan things out or stick rigidly to any kind of template, when it comes to writing, The Black Dahlia Murder prefer to let things happen organically. In the hands of guitarist Brian Eschbach - who co-founded the band with Strnad in 2001 - and new recruit Brandon Ellis (Arsis, ex-Cannabis Corpse), Nightbringers is rich with dynamic riffs that are at once fresh and classic TBDM, resulting in a collection that shifts through many moods and effortlessly incorporates various elements of extreme metal. With guitarist Ryan Knight having amicably stepped down in 2016, the addition of twenty-four-year-old Ellis to the band's ranks has helped usher in an exciting new era. "He's very professional for his age, I think he's skilled far beyond his years, and his live energy is exceptional. When Max (Lavelle, bass) joined the band he challenged a lot of us on stage to raise our personal bar, and Brandon's pushed that even further," states Strnad. "Brandon coming into the band and writing a bunch of songs was an awesome surprise too. He really took the reins, and this record is also the most involved that Alan (Cassidy drums) has been too. The way that we were doing the demos and bouncing things back and forth he had a lot of room to do what he wanted to do, and I think it's definitely a more colorful album for that. I also think as we get older the emotional content goes up. I think we better realize how to grip the listener. Personally, I try to write lyrics that are going to match each part, and kind of ramp up those feelings that we're putting across." Strnad's statements are vividly borne out by every moment of Nightbringers. For fans attending 2017's Summer Slaughter tour, the first taste of of the record came with the inclusion of the title track in their set, which has an undeniable immediacy to it, rich with hooks and boasting a "circusy, evil and playful" air. By contrast, "Catacomb Hecatomb" is suffused with tragedy, the mournful tone of its slower passages deeply affecting. This too is dramatically different to "As Good As Dead", which has some swagger to it that Strnad likens to Megadeth, or "Matriarch", described by Eschbach as a "wild, neoclassical romp" and stands as one of the most cutthroat and all out aggressive tracks in the quintet's arsenal. Upon first hearing the latter, Strnad was intent on matching its visceral intensity. "I felt inspired to write very violent lyrics to it. It's told from the perspective of a woman who is trying to have a child and not having any luck, and she goes kind of crazy and stalks this other woman who is due to have a child. She finds her moment to take it from her, cutting it right out of her stomach." While Strnad explores a variety of themes and ideas with his lyrics, they are united by the album's title, which embraces a tenet that has been central to The Black Dahlia Murder's output since the very beginning. "Death metal and nighttime are synonymous to me. We are the rulers of the darkened hours that the Christian good fears. A lot of archaic ideas that are still upheld - such as marriage and monogamy - came from Christianity, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, and to me, death metal has always been bucking that. It's 'being-the-villain music', because we're the enemy of Christianity, the enemy of all that is good and traditional. Death metal is for free thinkers, it's for showing people the path to inner strength and operating on your own will, instead of being told what to do and living in fear, and songs like the title track and 'Kings Of The Nightworld' are about leading a legion of awakened minds into battle." Following this theme also motivated Strnad to forge into ever-darker territory, even when this meant tearing things up and starting over. "I felt I needed to rise to the occasion to make as much of the blood and guts and heinousness as possible, and there was actually a couple of points where I rewrote some songs. I just didn't feel like they were dark enough, or violent enough, so I was really trying to ramp up the monstrous aspects of things - the grizzlier the better!"

Rather than decamp to a single studio, the members split off when it came time to start laying down the songs - all well versed in how to get the best out of their individual performances. With former bassist Ryan Williams once again assisting, the drums were tracked at The Pipe Yard in Plymouth, Michigan and rhythm guitars and bass in the band's practice space in Warren, Michigan. Ellis then recorded his many blistering solos in his home studio, while Strnad opted to record at his home in Auburn Hills, Michigan with Joe Cincotta (Suffocation, Internal Bleeding) of Full Force Studios overseeing his sessions. For the unique and haunting cover art they turned to Kristian Wahlin, aka Necrolord, who has designed seminal artwork for the likes of At The Gates, Bathory, Emperor and also TBDM's 2007 release, Nocturnal. "I think he's the most prominent artist when it comes to classic releases in the melodic death metal genre, and kind of bringing things full circle with it being the ten-year anniversary of 'Nocturnal' felt right. By now people probably wouldn't have expected us to go back to him, so it's kind of a surprise, but at the same time it's a very classic cover too." With the band celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the aforementioned album by playing it in its entirety on Summer Slaughter, it has given them a moment to reflect not only on the road that has led them to here but also that which lies ahead. "When I think back to when we started the band, I feel very proud of everything we've done, and I also see a lot of improvement over the years," says Strnad. "In the early songs, I can hear us as kids, and then segueing into our adulthood as musicians and writers, but sixteen years in, I still feel young as a band. I feel like we have a shit ton left to do, and I think we're sitting pretty with the best lineup we've ever had. I also think 'Nightbringers' could be our finest hour yet. I feel very strongly that it will affect people, I want to get all of these songs in people's ears, and I want them to check out everything we've got on this record. There's so much variety and so many great ideas, and I think that this could take us to another place."

 

STAM1NA

The Finnish metal phenomenon Stam1na have achieved almost everything a rock band can achieve in Finland. Each of their seven albums have sold Gold (one Platinum) and the band has played hundreds of mostly sold out shows all over the country. They have won five Emma awards (i.e. Finnish Grammy) and have now released their 8th album Taival.

Stam1na’s self-titled debut album catapulted Stam1na straight to the top of the Finnish metal scene right after its release. Stam1na toured around Finland and conquered more and more audience. In the yearly polls Finnish rock and metal audience were touchingly unanimous on Stam1na’s greatness; Stam1na was voted as The Newcomer Of The Year in all relevant medias. Their second album, “Uudet Kymmenen Käskyä”, went straight to the 3rd place in the Official Finnish Chart, and has now sold gold, almost 20 000 copies. “Uudet Kymmenen Käskyä” won the Emma Award in Metal Album of the Year category.

“Uudet kymmenen käskyä” was released in Germany by ZYX Music in 2007. In Autumn 2007, Apocalyptica invited Stam1na to play 14 gigs with them in the Baltic countries and Germany. Over 40 000 people enjoyed an unforgettable Stam1na show of virtuosity and great fun.

Stam1na continued their glorious story with their third album “Raja”. It spent two weeks on the #1 position of the Finnish album charts and again sold about 20 000 copies. “Raja” took the band to Germany again. This time they made thousands of metalheads go nuts at Wacken Open Air festival.

In February 2010 Stam1na released their fourth album “Viimeinen Atlantis”. The ambitious theme album got nothing but praising reviews from the Finnish media and became the band’s first Platinum album.

Stam1na’s fifth album Nocebo was released in February 2012. The album was produced by Grammy nominated Joe Barresi who is also known for producing Tool’s 10000 Days and many others. Nocebo hit the #1 positition and sold gold right after its release. The album was released by Bieler Bros Records in the USA in July 2012.

Their seventh album “Elokuutio” was produced by a Finnish metal pioneer Janne Joutsenniemi (Stone) and mixed by Jens Bogren. The album sold gold like all their previous releases. After “Elokuutio” the band toured extensively all over Europe and visited also Japan and the famous 70 000 Tons of Metal cruise in the Caribbean sea.

Stam1na’s 8th album Taival was again produced by Janne Joutsenniemi and mixed by Jens Bogren. Taival introduces Stam1na more melodic and emotional than ever, still keeping the fierce nature of the band.

Stam1na

Antti ”Hyrde” Hyyrynen – vocals, guitar
Pekka ”Pexi” Olkkonen – guitar
Teppo ”Kake” Velin – drums
Kai-Pekka ”Kaikka” Kangasmäki – bass
Emil ”Hippi” Lähteenmäki – keyboards

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INSOMNIUM + THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER + STAM1NA

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