The fine line between experimentation and loss of direction is one which we have pointed to in the past. In fact, you could say that it stands at the center of most discussions that see the light of day at Heavy Blog. This question, of when exactly boldness ends and folly begins, is one which plagues all of human existence. However, in a genre of music like metal, where experimentation is hardwired into the basic definitions and self image of the genre, it becomes even more important. Insomnium’s newest album, Winter’s Gate, is almost a text book example of why this question is important and the kind of context that gives it birth. Standing at the peak of their career, with six albums in total and the latest two being absolute masterpieces, Insomnium must ask themselves: what next?
Ten years ago yesterday, on September 5, 2006, a little-known band from Brooklyn named Grizzly Bear released a rather unassuming album called Yellow House. It was technically their second album, though for all intents and purposes it was their first. Founding member, singer-songwriter Ed Droste, had released one full-length under the Grizzly Bear moniker a few years prior entitled Horn Of Plenty that featured drummer Christopher Bear. That album, though, wasn’t too much more than a collection of scraggly demos and sketches, a mere hint of the potential within. Yellow House brought with it the addition of fellow singer-songwriter Daniel Rossen – who had already made some minor waves in the NYC indie scene as one half of the hybrid folk and samples-heavy duo Department of Eagles – and multi-instrumentalist/producer Chris Taylor – who would rotate between bass and a multitude of woodwinds while almost singularly shaping the band’s recorded sound. This album was their first released as a full quartet and would turn out to be a powerful opening statement of what this group could achieve together.
But that’s not why I’m writing this.