On June 19, 2018, Finnish metallers Insomnium took their Winter’s Gate World Tour to the city of Philadelphia. A quaint, yet loud city filled with pride in their underdog status compared to the likes of New York and Washington DC.
Insomnium has played here quite a few times, but never as a headliner. This would change tonight.
Opening the show was a local band named Frost Giant, self-described as “Ugly, Frost-Bitten, Troll-Ravaged Folk Metal.” A fitting opener for a show dressed in madness, melancholy, and the likes.
Next up, was an up and coming band within the prog circuit named Oceans Of Slumber, featuring roaring dual guitars, haunting keys, and the stunning vocals of Ms. Cammie Gilbert. A band to check out for sure! I entered the venue knowing their name, but not being too familiar with their work. But I have to say, I enjoyed their set. Wishing best of luck to both opening bands!
Once their set was finished, it was the moment we had all been waiting for. Insomnium!
Let me start this off by saying-I love Insomnium. Absolutely adore this band. I’ve seen them five times-this would be the fifth-but only as openers, and it’s led me to desperately want more, when they had only been given about 30-45 minute support slots.
So this show was deeply special to me.
When the North American tour was announced, I went down the list of tour dates, not expecting to see Philadelphia on the list; bands of this style are hit and miss in this city, unless you’re a heavy hitter like Dark Tranquillity or Amorphis. So, one could imagine the joy on my face, and the loud squeals that possibly woke up my neighbors and shattered a few beaker glasses in bio lab when I saw Philadelphia on that list.
And at a place like Voltage Lounge no less!
Voltage Lounge is a small bar located behind one of the bigger venues in the city; The Electric Factory, and thanks to some great promoting as of late, have been getting bigger shows. It’s a small bar that holds no more than 300 people. A packed show, filled with many of my friends-some I haven’t seen in a few months-and a new group of friends I had made during my trip to 70,000 Tons Of Metal in 2016.
So, I already knew this was going to be a good time.
It was good vibes all around, with Frost Giant and Oceans Of Slumber setting the tone, we were ready to embark on the wild ride that was Winter’s Gate. Or, Summer’s Gate, as I would jokingly call it, since we are currently in the warmer seasons.
Insomnium began their set with the sounds of the sea, giving great visuals for the journey to come. Shouts and screams of jubilation when Niilo, Markus, Markus, and Nick (live session member) jumped on the stage, and ran right into Winter’s Gate. A glorious, thundering forty-minutes through excitement, discovery, stillness, sadness, fury, and ultimately, disaster.
I had joked with my friends,”You can’t mosh to Insomnium!”, which, I was proved wrong, when the next thing I knew, I was thrown into the wall by my friend-who is about three times my size. In all fairness, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
As Insomnium breezed through all 7 parts, it sounded as great as it did on album, telling the story of vikings embarking on an adventure, and finally, failure as the storm’s fury threatened to destroy them all-as Insomnium’s music threatened to destroy Voltage-and break our hearts in the process.
And how lovely it was to finally hear and see this live. Long had Winter’s Gate been spinning in my car radio, or on my Spotify. It had become an anthem, a song I used to study for all my biomechanics exams, a song I ran to, to keep in shape. Part 7, especially, being my favorite, pushing me to new heights with my jogging, forcing me to push myself harder and harder.
The notes, the lyrics, the presence of Insomnium was filled with the same passion and intensity found on each song of their discography, and it resonated into the crowd. We sang along with each song, banged our heads until we were sure we had whiplash, moshed and nearly knocked everyone down to “While We Sleep”.
Screamed while they played The Killjoy-well, I did. It’s my favorite song of theirs and did not expect to hear it live.
Insomnium granted the Philadelphia crowd with two sets; set one consisted of Winter’s Gate, while set two consisted of songs throughout their entire discography. It was a treat, from the second they hit the stage, to the second they left.
As mentioned before, I could gush and gush about how much I love this band, so that should be enough to go see them if they come to your town. You’ll leave the show with an empty feeling that the show is over, but you’ll be glad you saw it. This is melodic death metal at its absolute finest.
Setlist is as follows:
- Slaughter Moon
- The Golden Wolf
- At The Gates Of Winter
- The Gate Opens
- The Final Stand
- Into The Sleep
- The Primeval Dark
- While We Sleep
- The Killjoy
- Weather The Storm
- The Promethean Song
- Only One Who Waits