Finnish melodic death metal masters Insomnium, known for their melancholy and captivating sound, have dropped their ninth full-length album, Anno 1696, and it’s a definite album of the year contender. Released via Century Media Records, Anno 1696 takes listeners to a dark sphere of witch prosecutions, famine, and superstition in Northern Europe. Based on a short story by Niilo Sevänen (bass/vocals), Anno 1696 is a concept album immersing listeners in a world of despair, fear, and turmoil. An emotional rollercoaster, musically, a semi-reminder of 2016’s Winter’s Gate, each song delivers a unique blend of haunting melodies. To celebrate the album’s arrival, Insomnium have unveiled a music video for “Godforsaken (feat. Johanna Kurkela),” a track that perfectly encapsulates the mood and themes of the album. Directed by Riivata Visuals, the video is a visual feast that brings the song to life in a haunting and unforgettable way.
Metalinsider spoke to Sevänen right when the group was in the middle of filming the video and explained:
“There will be one more long video from the Godforsaken song. It’s going to be, what is it, eight and a half minutes, so it’s one of the longest songs. It’s going to be interesting to see what that’s going to be like. We shot the band shots in snow, in the winter landscape. It was a really cold day. So it’s going to be a cold video, for sure. But yeah, the videos, the imagery, the scenes, you can show in the videos, they have to match the story, and they have to be in the same mood and the same era, of course. We’re dealing with 17th-century history, so obviously they have to look really at what is happening in that time. We were a bit skeptical, just, can we do it? Is the video company so good that it will not look like some school play or live-action role playing thing? But actually, the videos are really cool. Especially these animals like horses, and these wolf-dogs that are shot there. They look really, really cool. I’m confident that the third actual video will be cool as hell as well.”
Later in the discussion, Sevänen discussed working with the renowned Finnish vocalist Johanna Kurkela on the track:
“Johanna Kurkela, a female singer, she’s a very renowned artist in Finland. She has this great fairy, elf kind of voice, which we wanted for this Godforsaken song. So actually it’s now the first time that Insomnium has had female vocals. But we’re not going to turn into Nightwish or Epica. It was just the one song, and it required especially this kind of sound that Johanna can do, and she did amazing. She elevated the song to another level, and it became so much cooler than it was in the demo phase. So both of these guests did an extraordinary job.”
Insomnium have always been known for their ability to create phenomenal music, going beyond the scope of standard songwriting capabilities and expectations with visualization and heavy musical executions. Anno 1696 is no exception. It’s a journey that will leave you breathless. Anno 1696 is an album you need to listen to, and their double CD deluxe edition is a must, featuring illustrations and Sevänen’s written story in both English and Finnish. It’s a masterpiece showcasing the talent and creativity of one of the best bands in the genre. And with the release of the new music video for “Godforsaken (feat. Johanna Kurkela),” there’s never been a better time to dive into the world of Insomnium.
Guitarist Markus Vanhala comments:
“This shows the epic side of the album and is taking the listener through the sonic snowstorms and shamanistic plays. I truly love the shamanistic vocals of the beautiful soul Johanna Kurkela who did a perfect job on executing this vision to perfection. We salute you, Johanna! Probably my own favorite on the album, besides ‘The Rapids.'”
Bassist/vocalist Niilo Sevänen adds:
“Vanhala’s composition and one of the most epic songs in this bunch. Here we have the renowned Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela performing the female vocals. Lyrics are from the point of view of the main protagonist, Arvid, who tries to solve the mysterious deaths in the small village.”
Guitarist Ville Friman concludes:
“Also one of the oldest demos we had ready for this album before the pandemic hit. The original female voice sample was elevated to another level by Johanna’s vocals. First time we have used female vocals on any Insomnium song.”
Watch the clip below: