'Mach Dich Frei' From Finsterforst Review

These are the themes explored by Finsterforst on their fourth full length release ‘Mach Dich Frei’. And this is no easy listen, just like the mythos they tap from, the themes are many and the sweep of the tales is magnificent.

The 14 minute plus of ‘Schicksals End’ covers a range of styles, while remaining rooted in metal. The incantation type riffing, the symphonic elements, and the consistent plague upon unwary ears.

Equally ‘Zeit Fur Haas’ kicks off with an almost traditional metal riff, before lurching through Johannes Joseph’s clean vocals as a counterpoint to Oliver Berlin’s gruff guttural style.

But, while even the most devoted fan of cookie monster vocals will come to know each word of their favourite bands unless they can speak German the themes are impenetrable. It is over 30 years since I sat my German ‘O’ Level (in the days before GCSEs, when we had real exams) yet barely a word from this release can be understood.

That said, keeping true to your roots is obviously precious to Finsterfrorst in the same way Skalmold sing in Icelandic to retain authenticy.

The seven members of Finsterforst have, on this release plunged into the depths of Germanic folklore, using metal, folk and pagan themes to reach a musical peak, none more so than on the title track, which sees Simon Schillinger and David Schuldis weave dark sonic landscapes across the song, with Sebastian Scherrer’s keyboard work allied with Joseph’s choral vocals offering the light to the darkness.

But to strike at the heart of this album the finale is the almost 24 minute epic track, ‘Finsterforst’. Here the varied elements of the band come together: guitars, accordion, drone like vocalisations, acoustic guitar, and heaviness in lead-like quantities.

Finsterforst push the folk/pagan boundaries on this release; at times coming across like medieval chants, but they never forget it’s about the power of metal to inspire the imagination.

We could give this a higher rating, but as we can’t understand a word, we can only say that musically fans of heavy folk metal should check this out

Review by Jonny

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