Gonzalo Pozo of Sonic Perspectives recently conducted an interview with drummer Markus Hirvonen of Finnish melodic death metallers INSOMNIUM. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On incorporating more "Finnish melancholia" into INSOMNIUM's forthcoming studio album, "Heart Like A Grave":
Markus: "Basically it started out as a lyrical concept, more or less. Finland is a land of melancholic and sorrowful old songs, basically, mainly sourcing from the post-war era after the '40s and '50s. Then the mainstream music, like pop music, if you want to call it like that, they were like ultra-depressing and very melancholic songs. But they were huge and popular back in the day and they still are — the older folks listen to those songs with tears in their eyes and joy in their hearts. It's kind of funny how deep they are in that melancholic thing. But, yeah, that was the inspiration with the lyrics and the songs kind of evolved in that direction as well. I'm not saying that all the songs in the upcoming album will be in a sad mood, but they are definitely some slower and maybe a bit sadder songs than we've written before. Of course, they are the counterweight for the songs that have a bit of a different vibe in certain songs. It's actually a bit more diverse. It's a cliché to say, but this time, it is, especially with [new guitarist] Jani [Liimatainen, ex-SONATA ARCTICA] onboard writing new stuff. That has spiced things up quite a bit. I'm quite sure people will hear Jani's influence also on some parts and some songs, more or less."
On the "diversity" found within "Heart Like A Grave":
Markus: "There's this one song, the outro song, in a way, it's like dark synth, almost. We played it differently; it has a 'Blade Runner'-like vibe going on that we've never had on any song before. It's a weird song in a way, but it sounds us, but at the same time, it really doesn't sound like us. It's really interesting. Also, I mentioned about Jani's role before. There's one song mainly written by Jani, actually, it's fully written by Jani. I'm quite sure it will pop out from the rest of the songs in a really good way and really complements the rest of the album. As I mentioned earlier, there are some slower and sadder songs here in the mix, but also quite lively at the same time. I think that's kind of a new form of expression that we have come up with on this album. There are some good, basic, older death metal songs as well in the mix. I'm sure people will love it. In my opinion, this is easily the strongest INSOMNIUM record we have ever done. I hope others will feel it as well. There weren't any plans for diversifying or anything. Maybe the recording of the  'Winter's Gate' [album] kind of opened the gates in a way for us that we could prove to us that, 'Okay, there are no boundaries in a way. We can explore all the directions we want. I'm not saying we went like full-on to some weird directions, but yeah, it kind of opened the treasure box for us in a way that we can expand tempo-wise and the timings of the songs, we can play slower and faster and so. Also, maybe explore with the time signatures a bit more, but still keeping the INSOMNIUM [feeling] behind it. It wasn't like a decision that we were going to diversify our material, but it came up."
"Heart Like A Grave" is due on October 4 via Century Media Records.