A few years ago when marijuana was legalized where I live, I started using THC to calm my anxiety, hoping that it would soothe some of the chaos I would feel at times and help me get a better grip on what was going on in my head. The idea worked for the most part, but I had to take a break and alter my use for a few reasons, one of which is I stopped dreaming when I used THC.
I was reflecting on that after taking on “Noktvrn,” the new record from progressive black metal band Der Weg Einer Freheit that delves deeply into the night and the dreams that accompany our slumber. Inspired by Chopin’s compositions about the night, the band—vocalist/guitarist Nikita Kamprad, guitarist Nico Rausch, bassist Nico Ziska, drummer Tobias Schuler—went about creating music that also basked in the darkness and paid homage to those later hours. Amid all of this, Der Weg Einer Freheit generated some of the most explosive, moving music of their career, and this entire thing drips with twists and turns you won’t see coming. The band also wrote two songs in English for the first time, and there are clean vocals on a few songs that add to the aura and make it even more mysterious.
“Finisterre II” is an instrumental intro cut that is awash in acoustic guitars and a hazy aura, moving through the clouds into “Monument” that also basks in gray atmosphere before things come absolutely unglued. The guitars cascade behind the driving pace, feeling both aggressive and exciting as vicious growls lacerate flesh, and the savagery continues to multiply. The tempo rages with fire as a moody stretch takes hold, shrieks hammer the ground with daggers, and the track comes to a smoldering end. “Am Rande der Dunkelheit” ignites from the start as horrifying wails splatter, and the drums mash bones into paste. The playing is blinding and devastating, going into murky strangeness that gets into your blood, and then a new charge awakens spirits. The playing rushes from there, only to dissolve into liquid that drips away for good.
“Immortal” changes the pace a bit as it hulks in the mist with Kamprad’s clean yarling spreading over the verses. Synth waves increase the cloud coverage, and then the power arrives, the growls choking you hard. The pace sways back and forth, going from cold to raging fire, ending when the smashing bows out to the heat. “Morgen” is thunderous as it knifes through earth and rock, the growls crush, and the riffs take off. The playing adds pressure to your brain, and an atmospheric stretch lands at the feet of hell, going off as the playing implodes the earth. “Gegen das Licht” runs 11:13 and floats through the cosmos as the bass scuffs, and the playing seemingly unites with the air. Gazey lurching emerges as a savag assault is mounted, the growls mar, and the playing flattens everything ahead of you. Cold eeriness settles but then gnaws as bone, trudging chaos gallops, and the final moments are absorbed by liturgical organs. “Haven” ends the record soaring in odd auras as high clean singing chills, and we’re headlong into moodiness. A dream state is achieved as the temperature drops, the band churns, and wordless calls chill your flesh as the track melts into the ground.
“Noktvrn” is the record that really shows the possibilities Der Weg Einer Freheit hold as these seven tracks come to life and bustle with stuff not typical of most black metal. It’s enthralling and captivating, as the idea of celebrating the night and dreams that come with that feels very tangible when experiencing this record. This band is doing some pretty special things that should set them apart from their chosen sub-genre because they are proving they are capable of so much more.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/derwegeinerfreiheit
To buy the album (North America), go here: https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/
Or here (International): https://shop.season-of-mist.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.season-of-mist.com/