Mach Dich Frei by Finsterforst (Napalm Records)

ATx5S0_250x250From the legendary Black Forest to the various places on Earth where metalheads dwell, those seeking an adventure beyond time and genre will surely wish to check into what the colossal Finsterforst has to offer. In a realm where Pagan and Folk Metal collide, Finsterforst demonstrate a vast amount of creativity, and with their latest effort Mach Dich Frei , the Southwestern German-based collective has unveiled a classic recording for the ages. The introduction commences with the ominous strains of Abfahrt, followed by the vast and triumphant Schicksals End. With a combined total of over 15 minutes, the gripping atmosphere envelopes the listener for even greater entreaties ahead.

The Mach Dich Frei experience is one where nature and romanticism combine, when modern day metal compositions such as Zeit für Hass and the epic title track surround the listener with a world of wonder and enchantment. References such as Korpiklaani, Ensiferum, Tyr, and even Moonsorrow come to mind, but Finsterforst is their very own majestic entity, and the auditory artistry found throughout Mach Dich Frei will captivate the senses.

The grand finale starts off with the bewitching ambiance of Reise Zum…, calming and serene, weaving its dark magic with somber keyboard and traditional instruments. Every band should have their own self-titled sonata, and the concluding 6h4nXLFinsterforst is a breathtaking magnum opus! Clocking in at a staggering 23:55, this grand finale is thoroughly haunting and cinematic.

The musicianship found within Finsterforst is extraordinary, featuring inspiring participation of Oliver Berlin on vocals, Johannes Joseph on accordion and clean vocals, Tobias Weinreich on bass, Cornelius “Wombo” Heck on drums, Sebastian “AlleyJazz” Scherrer on keyboards, David Schuldis on rhythm guitars, and Simon Schillinger on lead and rhythm guitars. It may be too early to make such bold proclamations, but I expect Mach Dich Frei by Finsterforst to show up within many a Top Ten List when the 2015 spins to its conclusion. Here’s hoping Finsterforst make their way to the States to set our imaginations, beer mugs, metal horns, and mosh pits in flight.

(Review by Ken Morton)

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