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Album Review: "Winter’s Gate" by Finnish Melodic Death Metal Band Insomnium

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Winter's Gate Is Not a Typical Insomnium Album

Winter’s Gate is the 2016 studio album by Finnish melodic death metal band Insomnium and this album is a full length album however it is one song divided into seven parts. This is something different than what the band has done prior to this and being a major fan of this band, I got the urge to listen to this one. The album is a concept album based on the short story Winter’s Gate written by bassist and vocalist Niilo Sevanen. Think of this album as a sort of Finnish version of "The Ivory Gate of Dreams" if you want to but this one is based on a short story so that makes it different from the Fates Warning song.

More Analysis of the Style of Winter's Gate

Stylistically this is still very much a melodic death metal album but it is not a melodic death metal album in the traditional sense. What this means is that the album isn’t constructed in such a way that song #1 starts and plays, then comes song #2 until the conclusion of the album. Instead the album was created to look like one song which is almost 40 minutes long but it is divided into seven different parts. It is a concept kind of album. Stylistically, Winter’s Gate resembles something we would have heard from bands such as Catamenia while also having that melodic death metal format to it. There are also clean vocal parts in this album. You can tell by the drumming in some instances that there is also a thundering black metal kind of feel. However, the album may also end up being sort of acquired taste for some fans because it may feel like the album is one very long song even though in reality there are seven parts to this album.

"Winter's Gate Part 5"

About the Seven Parts of Winter's Gate

With part one titled “Slaughter Moon” the story says that the journey begins across the sea. You can notice the Ensiferum folk metal influence in here even though this is still a melodic death metal album. The beautiful part about this album is that it does not feel sorrowful even if there are lyrics about someone bearing the brunt of sorrow and pain. This album will not burn you or pound your eardrums senseless but it is an album that feels like a journey. In this lyrical context, the winter season is seen as a season of sorrow and pain as the entrance to the gate lies near for the brave warriors that survived the journey by ship. “The Golden Wolf” tells the story of the travelers trying to search for a place where no sorrow exists yet it seems all they can do is dream of the days that are long gone. It feels like all the good times have vanished as the search for no sorrow keeps on going. By the time the album reaches part 4 there is a shift in the songwriting as it turns from heavy melodic death metal to an acoustic filled part combined with clean vocals. The distorted guitar makes its return shortly after that. By the time part 5 is here, there is a beautiful piano part and this is significant because the same heavy song structures can get stale after a while.

Favorite of the Seven Parts of Winter's Gate

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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