Interview With Ville Friman (INSOMNIUM)

[By: Karim Tarek and IRoar]

Formed in the year 1997, Insomnium is one of the most renowned and reputed bands in the flourishing Finnish Melodic Death Metal scene. They didn’t go through easy times attaining that reputation and renown though; they actually rose up in a competitive local scene that bears some of the world’s top Melodic Death Metal bands like Mors Pricipium Est, Swallow The Sun, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, Wintersun, Omnium Gatherum, and Amorphis, to mention a few. They have succeeded to prove themselves as a competent unit and consequently gain the world’s attention being one of those few Melodic Death Metal bands who are not just gods with the instrumentation, but also deliver deep and meaningful music that is not anywhere near the mainstream shallow Melodic Death Metal.

They already released four solid full-length gems, the latest being 2009’s “Across the Dark,” released via Candlelight Records. However, they are planning on releasing their fifth full-length next month, particularly on the 17th, to mark their first collaboration with Century Media records. Tentatively titled “One For Sorrow.” The band recently released the official video for the second track on the album, “Through The Shadows,” on Youtube, which kind of quenches, even a tad bit, of the high anticipation for that album.

As longtime fans of theirs, we got a chance to catch up with them and ask them a couple of questions about their new album and what they expect from it. Here's how it went:

First of all, how are you guys doing? It’s very nice to have you on Metality as all the crew here are fans of yours.

Thanks for having us. We’re doing great. Doing loads of promotion all the time which is always a good sign! Journalist seem to really like the album as well.

INSOMNIUM will be releasing it's latest studio offering titled "One for Sorrow" on October 17th. Can you tell us about the album's lyrical theme? And what subjects the album explores?

The starting point for the lyrics was old English nursery rhyme called One for Sorrow. It has 10 rhymes and is based on old superstition where the number of crows you see sitting on a tree branch determines your luck in future life. Likewise, we have ten songs on this album that forms loose frame or concept for the lyrics. The lyrical themes are pretty much the same as always: the universal topics love, death, sorrow, loneliness, heartbreak, regret, longing, finding your inner strength and so on. Some of the lyrics are based on our personal life, some on things that you see happening around you. While Niilo was inspired this time by Christian Morgenstern and Finnish poet Kaarlo Sarkia among others, I drew inspiration for example books American Gods and Vellum by Neil Gaiman and Duncan Hall, respectively. I even included some thoughts about world’s current political situation to some of the lyrics. However, instead of direct expression we like to dress our ideas in a form of small tales and poems, which also leaves more space for the individual interpretation.

Your last studio offering “Across The Dark,” was released in 2009, less than 2 years ago. How has the writing/recording process been for “One For Sorrow”? and how does it differ from its predecessor?

I think everything was more hectic this time. We had a lot tighter time schedules and we had less time to rehease together as a band. Most of the writing was done during the last and first months of 2010-2011 and we rehearsed only three times befre going to studio. I wrote again approximately 80% of the material and lots of the magic happened in fron of my Macbook and Logic 9. However, we did lot of arranging work together on the basis of demos just by changing e-mails. I’ve been living in the UK for the last 1.5 years, which definitely sets some difficulties but luckily modern technology offers ways to overcome the physical distance. I think One for Sorrow is probably our most diverse effort to date. We have incorporated some new influences but kept the basic backbone of Insomnium sound the same: melodies, harmonies, riffs, acoustic guitars and orchestration are all still there. Biggest difference is probably that I’m doing some clean vocals on the album for the first time.

Your first four albums were released via Candlelight records. “One For Sorrow” marks your first collaboration with your new label Century Media records. While both are widely respected. What made you switch labels at this point in your career?

Well, basically we just came to an end with the 4 album deal with Candlelight Records and wanted to explore also other potential options. We did negotiate with many labels but Century Media made us clearly the biggest influence as a persons and with the mere size and reputation they possess in the metal scene. They are hard workers like we, which makes the collaboration perfect fit.

Finland has always been known for its top-notch Melodic Death Metal bands in particular as we all know. Whats your opinion on the current local Finnish Metal scene in general? Are there any newcomers you support and would like to recommend?

I think the Finnish metal scene is one of the best in the world. If you like Insomnium, I would definitely recommend you to check out following bands: Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun, Omnium Gatherum, MyGrain, Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon. We’re good friends with all of these bands. From the bit never bands I really like Medeia and their music videos are absolutely brilliant!

We're a Middle Eastern heavy metal site. Our main mission is to bridge the gap between the international and middle eastern metal scenes. Are you familiar with any metal bands from the Middle East?

I think that’s great job. I’ve heard few names but haven’t really listened any metal bands from your area, which is really a shame. I definitely need to explore more on this area.

More and more international acts are being confirmed for shows in cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Beirut, and Cairo (Such as Metallica performing at Yas Arena in Abu Dhabi and Megadethperforming at The Mutt Rock Festival in Dubai). Would you guys be interested in performing at any of these cities, since you have quite a big following over here?

Definitely, that would be really awesome! One thing I love with playing in a band is that you get the opportunity to travel to all new exiting places where you would never go otherwise.

We'd like to thank you for this pleasant opportunity and for your time. It has been a pleasure to have you here on Metality, and would be great to do again. Best of luck with your upcoming album, that I’m sure is gonna be groundbreaking for you, and best of luck with your upcoming efforts. Feel free to share any words with Metality’s readers.

Thanks a lot for your interview, it was really a pleasure! I must say that I’m positively surprised that we have fans in middle eastern metal scene. Please check us out and hopefully we’re able to come there for a live show in the future. Horns up!

Pre-order "One For Sorrow" through Amazon: CD | Mp3
(Out October 17th via Century Media Records)


  1. Hey guys! Be sure to vote for Insomnium for The Album You're
    Most Looking Forward to Next Week. Go to:
    to vote. You can vote more than once too!

  2. Greatest band on the planet. Just amazing music !!!