I’ve been a fan of Der Weg Einer Freiheit ever since 2011’s Agonie EP, a fantastic blending of atmosphere and brutality in the distinctly German way that in which they combine the two in their black metal. With each album since they’ve improved their sound and become a really great band, but from the three previous full length efforts they hadn’t quite reached the heights of releasing an album that one could consider a classic. Continuing in the vein of releasing an album that surpasses the previous release, their fourth album Finisterre once again surpasses the previous album Stellar, and sees them make the move from a very good band to a great one, and have released the best album of their career to date and one that could be looked at as one of the best black metal releases of the decade so far.
Finisterre seems them continue with their penchant for long songs, with three around the ten minute mark and two tracks just over five minutes. With their great songwriting abilities it’s far from a case of writing long songs for the sake of being long, nor just employing the strategy of hypnotic repeated riffs for the sake of atmosphere. Each song is well constructed and part of a great album as a whole. Aufbruch the first piece on the album is an aggressive one. After a brief spoken word introduction and a brief acoustic chord pattern they kick you in the face with a massive wall of sound; with insane blastbeats high in the mix and tremolo riffs as abrasive as a sanding machine, and pained, screamed vocals with sincere and severe aggression. The bass pummels away like an unstoppable juggernaut and it’s supremely heavy. But never one to go for the all out brutality at expense of all else as some other bands there’s atmosphere and melody here in equal measure to this heavy approach. Some high pitched melodic tremolo picking evokes a similar warm atmosphere to Drudkh, while the darkness of fellow Germans Nagelfar and Dark Fortress comes through in the heavier sections. In the midpaced parts where melody reigns supreme the rhythmic drumbeat keeps the pace fantastic to keep you headbanging. Der Weg Einer Freiheit have also been a band to infuse their songs with softer parts, and this is the case as always six minutes in when they drop to just some acoustic strumming and quiet clean tremolo picking to change the atmosphere before coming back with a blizzard of fast distorted tremolo picking in another great wall of sound, sounding clean chants over the top adding the final cherry on the cake of the epic sound they’d been building throughout the preceding eight minutes. A stunning track and one of the highlights of the album.
Ein Letzter Tanz sees an introduction of acoustic chord playing in a similar manner to Dark Fortress‘ the Deep, a dark and introspective piece that builds up the aggression the longer it goes on, building up until the rest of the instruments come in with another furious wall of sound and continuing with a fearsome assault of beauty and brutality with their melodic aggression, ending with a gorgeous melodic climax of soaring lead guitars. The closing title track is one of the highlights of the album, starting with some meaty aggressive mid-paced riffs and harsh screams, before amping up into another blastbeat fuelled wall of sound, soaring melodies flying their way through the brutality. An interlude with dark strings provides a goregous change of pace before it moves back into a brutal climax, the strings still forging their dark, beautiful path against the destruction in an amazing close to the piece.
Finisterre sees the continuation of a great career so far for the German black metal band, and surpassing Stellar they’ve released an album which sees Der Weg Einer Freiheit move firmly into the absolute top of the atmospheric black metal scene.