‘During the 1980s, black metal was a loose grouping of a handful of metal bands who shared Satanic lyrics, although most of the “first wave” bands referred to “Satanism” only for shock value.‘
Now in 2017, black metal is one of the hippest things out there, at least when thinking of the post black metal/blackgaze scene and bands like Deafheaven, Ghost Bath or Alcest. Sure, the true Norwegian black metal still is apparent within the scene, and yet there are plenty of bands that reinvented black metal, modeling into something more aesthetic than its early days.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit don’t need Satanism, and neither do they need corpsepaint or any artificial genre identification. They simply play music that could be categorized as black metal, but is there even a debate about that? After their 2015 release Stellar, the band made a huge step into my personal playlists, having created an album that is gritty, dark, passionate and heavy, yet beautiful at the same time. Tracks like “Repulsion“ totally got me within their ambiance, which made me very curious about new music by this band. With Finisterre they follow a similar concept, layout-wise: a record that is five tracks strong (with those reaching long playtimes) and features a bonus track. Stellar, for example, had two of those bonus tracks.
“Aufbruch“ is German for ‘departure’, and probably a quite logical opener. It is also the fastest song the band has ever written, which becomes obvious within the blistering blast beats. Der Weg Einer Freiheit truly prove their ambient side in the song’s intro, all while keeping on blasting a lot. This somehow reminds me a little of Deafheaven’s “Luna“ off their latest New Bermuda. But the sound on Finisterre is, as the name implies, way darker and heavier. Singer Nikita throws in some clean vocals as well from time to time, which perfectly match the band’s music. The following phrase from “Aufbruch“ will give you goosebumps:
‘Kommst du, um mich zu holen? Zu viele Seelen hast du schon genommen, doch meine kriegst du nicht!‘
Which literally translates to: ‘Do you come to take me? You’ve already taken too many souls, but you won’t get mine.‘ It might be that I’m a little biased, being German and all, but this phrase got me on the very first listen, similar to how the band already managed to on Stellar. Overall, the German singing sounds very aggressive and underlines the band’s integrity. In “Aufbruch“’s case, it also marks the song’s inner pinnacle and emotional climax, as well as the lyrical turning point. What a way to start a record!
It is questionable if it’s necessary to build up a song with three minutes of purely repetitive guitar playing, as happens in “Ein letzter Tanz“, although those half clean/distorted guitars are a pure joy to listen to sound-wise. This bridge, may it feel long-winded or not, connects the record and keeps the flow going. The song’s length of 13:49 might not be a hint to the Norwegian black metal band and DWFE label mates 1349, but it is the longest track on Finisterre. Around the seven-minute mark, they prove their ability to conjure up heavy-hitting contrasts. “Ein Letzter Tanz“ will leave you enough time to absorb its pathos and rich chords until it fades out with acoustic guitars.
What matches all tracks on this record is the use of tremolo picking on the guitars that feels influenced by early black metal acts. On drums there is, as I said before, a lot of blast beat and double bass usage and less of intriguing, complex fill work. Still, it’s outstanding how tight the overall musical concept and production appears to be. My impression of Der Weg Einer Freiheit‘s live shows is that they play on the same level at their live shows as well.
‘Die Skepsis ist groß, man wird sie nicht los.‘
“Skepsis” – a two-part song – was already used as singles (or rather as a maxi), and represents the first output since Stellar. Those two songs work with a more progressive attitude; especially the first part reminds both of the foregoing record and the band’s German compatriots in Heretoir, being an a little more dreamy and instrumental track. Part two starts out with pure black metal mayhem, but fortunately it doesn’t sound like the eponymous band. If there is a band that might have been an influence, it’s probably Dark Funeral. The tremolo part at 1:40 playtime in “Skepsis, Pt. 2“ in particular sounds very ‘Nordic’, and also reminds of Dimmu Borgir‘s “Kings Of The Carnival Creation“.
This impression also comes up in “Finisterre“, the title track, which might well be the darkest and sludgiest one. It begins with a very Satyricon-sounding beat on the drums and heavy guitar riffing, later transisting into a slightly jazzy clean part supported by some strings that create a very darkened but also beautifully melancholic mood, before Der Weg Einer Freiheit show once more that they are playing extreme music. It even ends with those strings in a very awesome way!
“Neubeginn” – German for ‘new beginning’ – comes in after a few second of pause after the main tracklist of Finisterre and is basically as good as the previous five songs. I don’t know why it didn’t make it on the proper record; maybe because of conceptual reasons? Anyway, if you enjoyed Finisterre you will love that Der Weg Einer Freiheit gave us this little bonus of almost ten minutes as well!
In the end it’s necessary (but perhaps obvious) to mention that Finisterre is one of the hottest releases in the black metal genre of 2017. Whether it’s post black metal, blackgaze or something else is up to you. In fact, let’s just call it music.
Notable Tracks: “Aufbruch“ , “Skepsis, Pt. 2“, “Finisterre”
FFO: Deafheaven, Dark Funeral, Heretoir
Follow Der Weg Einer Freiheit on Facebook! They will be touring with Inter Arma and Regarde Les Hommes Tomber this fall, make sure to get more info here! Purchase Finisterre on the band’s Bandcamp and visit their website!