“Winter’s Gate” is one song, 40 minutes long exactly and a concept album about a group of Vikings that travel in the middle of winter to find a fabled island west of Ireland. It doesn’t get more prog than that. Vocalist & bassist Niilo Sevänen wrote a short story back in 2007 and this song/album is based around that story. There is a separate disc which features Sevänen reading the story.
“Winter’s Gate,” the song, is about as epic as anything I have heard…ever. The song has plenty of twists and turns along the way and never feels like 40 minutes which is a testament to the band. It starts out very ambient before the band kick in full throttle with the classic Insomnium onslaught.
The track shifts after 8 and a half minutes to a more tranquil acoustic based section. The key to making a song this epic work is to have great segues and make the transitions effortless. The band shift back and forth between heavy and melodic for a bit before switching to a mellow section around the 13 minute mark. Again, it’s fucking perfection!!
They kick back into a triumphant blast before yielding to a GORGEOUS piano based movement at the 24 minute mark. I’ve said this before in MANY reviews and I’ll say it yet again. The best progressive songs have dynamics and atmosphere. “Winter’s Gate” is absolutely dripping in those elements, and that’s why this massive track works so well. Credit is certainly given to the incredible mix by the great Dan Swanö, who is no stranger to 40 minute plus tracks himself!
“Winter’s Gate” is not only a journey conceptually but also compositionally and sonically. Every great band needs a definitive album and I’ve been waiting for Insomnium to deliver their definitive album. “Winter’s Gate” is that album. It’s truly a monumental album that should not be missed. It’s a captivating adventure that is both powerful and beautiful but beyond that, it is essential.
1. Winter’s Gate
Label: Century Media