Der Weg Einer Freiheit push their black metal to new extremes on existence-destroying ‘Finisterre’

Photo by Sophia Weißberg

In order for styles of music to survive, it’s going to take interesting new bursts of creation and evolution that reach other corners. Otherwise, we’re going to keep hearing the same noise and ideas over and over again until it dies an overdue death. While some people have cried about change, others have taken up the quest and helped metal get more captivating and surprising.

German black metal quartet Der Weg Einer Freiheit have been one of those groups that have taken the basics of their sound and pushed and pulled its borders elsewhere. Now, on their fourth record “Finisterre,” the band continues their association with powerhouse Season of Mist, and they hold up their end by delivering five tracks of intelligent, hybrid black metal that both crushes and challenges at the same time. The band—vocalist/guitarist Nikita Kamprad, guitarist Sascha Rissling, bassist Nico Ziska, drummer Tobias Schuler—has been active since 2009, and in that time, they have released four powerful platters of their forward-thinking, progressive-twisted black metal that is awe inspiring witnessed just coming from a mere set of headphones. To be in their presence as they mow down whoever’s in front of them must be an experience that leaves bodily welts considering the amount of damage their recorded output kicks out.

“Aufbruch” begins the record with someone speaking in German over cold guitars that chill to the bone. Suddenly out of that, the storm begins and brings astonishing power. Chant singing drips over the monstrous growls when the chorus arrives, and the drumming is just punishing as it ruptures and mauls. Later, clean calling enters, as the song gets proggy, but then things turn back toward a strain of black metal that will sound perfect once fall arrives. The track ramps up again, leading toward its chaotic finish. “Ein letzter Tanz” is a beast at 13:48, with the first moments trickling blood before guitars begin agitation, and full ignition is achieved about three minutes in. Grisly growls and melodic drama push the agenda, while a period of vicious storming blackens the scenery and brings fear. The track turns on a dime for a moment, getting downright breezy, but then it’s back to the fighting pits as gazey atmosphere cascades over the darkness, the vocals wrench, and the track disappears into ash.

“Skepsis Part I” ignites from the start, as tricky melodies make their presence known, and then the whole dam bursts. The track is trudgy and smothering for a while before some elegant playing spills in and adds more texture to this rousing instrumental. The conjoined “Skepsis Part II” is animalistic right as it begins, as speed and guttural savagery combine and create a nightmare void. The pace is relentless, as the track pelts with acid, the cries are raw and pained, and the final moments bash with ruthless aggression. The closing title track runs 11:13 and immediately charges. The track has a prog-fueled base, as vicious cries mount, and the tempo hurls anvils. Kamprad’s growls are monstrous here, while the band hits with sudden impact, creating gut-wrenching power. Melody slips in, bringing brief serenity, and lush strings stretch over the fury. The song later cracks and begins hammering again, as the band slowly pushes their way to the end with a slowly fading assault that fades just as strings pick back up and bring the song to a morose conclusion.

Der Weg Einer Freiheit’s power is astonishing, so much so that Kreator’s Mille Petrozza has sung their praises, and that is paid off in spades on “Finisterre.” These five tracks are repeated piledrivers, crunching your spinal column mercilessly into the ground as they waylay you with their intensity. This is the type of stuff that keeps black metal morphing and developing, promising that with bands such as this, the style won’t always sound the same but will never die.

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