Something to stir the blood in your veins.
Imagine a barren mountain path; it’s tranquil yet eerie at the same time. Look over the edge, see everything before the horizon and back again. The vision is massive, ever reaching - you see many things, and it takes a while to see everything; from the gentle stream in the middle of a forest to a crushing waterfall, before you see the chasm right beneath your feet, death may only be seconds away but you can’t help but enjoy the beauty and despair of the vision you behold. As much could be said for Finsterforst’s 2012 release Rastlos
. The album is massive from start to finish the listener is entrapped by this display of depth and well-crafted song-writing only to play it again. This seven track affair never loses pace and is far from a tiring listen. Coming in at almost eighty minutes Rastlos
utilises features cross the board; from brass to woodwind and even a dabble in the occasional ambient/drone section. Every component comes together to create this opus of an album.
Despite the excellently presented vocals that when used command a lot of the listeners’ attention, this album is very much an instrumentally based affair. The beauty of the album comes in the form of its instruments, not to mention all the other sounds sources (tweeting birds etc.) The instrumental feature is not taken in a way where the record is void of all vocal lines, rather the screamed vocals, clean notes and soothing chanting that will on occasion present the listener with a battle theme. Rastlos
is impressive in its construction; conventional black metal aesthetics interlay with folk themes in a way not unlike any of Primordial’s releases except here there is more to listen for, more to be absorbed. Listeners’ may not receive the albums’ full potential on a first listen but on a secord or even third the listener may begin to understand Rastlos’
depth. Brass instruments, woodwind, strings all add to this album full of contrast showing off vibrantly just how all these elements can come together without becoming a muddled mess. Add a media sample of running water, birds and the imagery created comes together for the listener in a positive manner.
achieves what most other albums of the genre fail to. Usually where a culmination of sounds are pushed together the result sounds forced, unnatural to fit within the record while also creating a tiresome listen. Fortunately for Finsterforst the result here does not fall into any of the above mentioned. Ideas are far from repetitious and blend naturally from section to section. It’s astonishing how well it comes together. There’s never a dull moment on this record; its seven tracks come and go like a journey and this eighty minute affair swings by making the most of the listeners’ attention. Whilst predominantly full of the riffs and screams that stereotypically fit the confines of the genre Rastlos
sounds fresh on the ears of the listener, there is enough here in the folk-ish/pagan crossover to keep the listener well entertained. Even the twenty-two minute final track ‘Flammenrausch’ brings the album together reinforcing the album’s ever present imagery and finishing the album off in a very positive manner.
is a release that should not be missed simply because it comes at the end of the year. For fans of pagan metal, this is a must. For all of its symphonic elements and excellently presented musical ideas this release may not be as cheese-y as it sounds. For those who found Eluveitie’s Helveltios
to bouncy or too full cheese-y, or respectively found Korpiklaani’s Manala
a flat record this album is sure enough to be able to turn the tides. Rastlos
touches on a lot of ground without managing to be confusing or forced. There is light where there is dark, tranquil where there is anger. Rastlos
is an album that is full of surprises, twists and turns – yet nothing is out of place. It turns out that this year isn’t quite over for the metal genre.