Last updated: 03/22/2003 03:52:45 AM
It was the end of winter 1997 in Joensuu, a quiet town in the province of North-Karelia located in the extreme east of Finland, when four anguished young men were forming a fierce metal band. Bassist Niilo Sevänen and drummer Tapani Pesonen united forces with the dynamic guitar-duo of Ville Friman and Markus Hirvonen, and soon furious chords and rhytms echoed in the woods of Kanervala. Thus the peaceful and tranquil life of the community was marred for ever.
In the beginning the band played cover-songs from acts like Amorphis, Entombed, Paradise Lost and Sepultura - various kinds of metal that they liked and were able to play. The very first own songs composed were melodic and fast, but not very brutal. All the time a proper singer was looked for, but none could be found from such a small town. After a while the guys realized that Niilo was quite able to use his throat like L.G. Petrov or Tomi Koivusaari, and from this point on the band took a much more darker path. Music grew to resemble the melodic Scandinavian death metal of the mid-90´s, and influences were mainly taken from Finnish and Swedish bands. Melodies turned gloomier and more sorrowful, and soothing acoustic passages were woven into the songs.
In the summer of 1998 drummer Tapani joined the Finnish armed forces and some line-up changes became inevitable. Gifted multi-instrumentalist Markus took the drummer´s seat, and a new guitarist Timo Partanen was taken into band. At the same time it was decided that a latin word insomnium, meaning nightmare and insomnia, would be a proper name for the band. During the next winter Insomnium gathered its strength, rehearsed intensively and concentrated on song-writing.
In April 1999 a first Insomnium demo was forged in Headcase Studio in Joensuu. Four songs of melancholic death metal received praising reviews in Finland and abroad. Above all was the nomination as Terrorizer´s demo of the month with full points. Record companies were not yet interested, but the band got some good gigs. Best of them was playing along with Anathema at Ilosaarirock-festival´s metal club, which of course was inspiring for a young band.
In autumn 1999 Niilo had to leave the heaths of Karelia as he moved to Turku to study. Markus had gone to army in July and Ville also had started his non-military service a bit earlier, so next winter was a quiet time for the band. But the fire kept still burning as Niilo and Ville concentrated on composing and prepared their second coming in silence.
In August 2000 Insomnium invaded Jone Väänänen´s East Voice Studio to record their second demo "Underneath the Moonlit Waves". As it was proved later, this was the right choice, because now the whole production reached a higher level. Songs had evolved, playing was more accurate and sounds were much heavier than on the debut demo. This time the reviews were even more positive, as accolades and praises flowed from all over the world. Finally the light was lit in England and Candlelight records offered a deal for the band in January 2001.
Few months later Insomnium reached its current line-up, as a stern guitarist Ville Vänni from a Turku-based band Watch Me Fall came to replace Timo Partanen. Now the band was stronger than ever and ready to face the challenges that Candlelight offered - the 4-album deal was signed in May 2001. In the end of July the band entered the brand new Media Works Studio in Joensuu and began the recordings of their first album with their trusted man Jone Väänänen. Battering drums and shattering guitar-walls were created by the end of August, and Insomnium entered the Astia studio in September to do the mixing with Anssi Kippo. Mastering was done a few weeks later at Finnvox with Mika Jussila.
Insomnium´s debut album "In the Halls of Awaiting" came to be ultimately the best work of the band so far. Songs had gained more versatility, depth and nuances and the overall production was stunningly heavy. The album presents a band that has taken a step away from the traditional melodic death metal, and moved towards hither to unknown musical territories.