Review Summary: Dark, epic Black Metal tempered with a few contemporary influences.
Black metal has come a long way since the likes of Mayhem, Burzum and Darkthrone released their dissonant, hate-filled crop of early 90's classics. What was once without doubt one of the most insular, purist and real genres around (bar perhaps the East/West coast rivalry that claimed the lives of 2Pac and Biggie, no other music scene has come close to rivalling the violence, singularity and totality of early Norwegian black metal; suicide, murder and multiple church arsons, those boys really did mean it) has become fractured, diverse and in some areas almost totally unrecognisable. And quite frankly all the more interesting for it. After all you can only do so much with blast beats, inarticulate shrieks and relentless un-muted tremolo picking recorded in a grimy basement (or under a full moon in the middle of some frost-coated Scandinavian forest if you're Ulver).
These days variation is the name of the game, be it the impenetrable, monolithic epitomes of Blut Aus Nord, the vibrant, shimmering post-black metal of Alcest or the experimental, surreal meddling of Nachmystium, black metal doesn't seem so... black anymore. On Unstille, Der Weg einer Freiheit (translated, The Path of Freedom) keep things reasonably traditional. There are no saxophone solos, Gregorian chanting or bluegrass interludes, but what Der Weg einer Freiheit do bring something relatively rare to black metal; fun. Unstille is a bloody enjoyable listen.
Opener 'Zeichen' is neither laborious nor turgid as its twelve minute run time may suggest. Its relentless first half offers zero breathing amongst the cacophony of blast-beats, distorted guitar and guttural shrieks but halfway through everything falls away and each element is slowly re-introduced, layered and built upon, culminating in a long, slow hypnotic guitar solo. The blast-beats return for the furious final minutes before finally fading away into nothingness. It's a master-class in constructing an epic, arresting and engaging and betraying its actual length.
Instrumental 'Nachstam' is a further highlight. Melancholic, brooding and centred around a melodic guitar line, it again shows a knack for pace and dynamism lacking in so much black metal. 'Vergängnis' contains almost post-rock style passages of melodic guitar and ten minute closer 'Zerfall' rages furiously for six minutes, slips into a sludgey dirge then re-erupts for the record's most surprising and ethereal moment; one final minute of spiralling, gorgeous guitar reminiscent of Sigur Ros's 'Popplagið'.
Purists may not appreciate the post-rock influence present here, nor the melody that Der Weg einer Freiheit frequently inject into their compositions. Unstille is dark, furious, epic. It takes the best elements from the notorious second wave of black metal and tempers them with a broader palette of modern influences. A masterpiece.
Originally here - http://www.youarentcool.com/reviews/4/unstille