Review Summary: Striking an impressive balance between jaw-dropping intensity and staggering emotional depth, Finisterre is a standout work of black metal.
For about a minute, Finisterre
sounds as though it might be a fairly standard black metal album. Opener “Aufbruch” begins with a spoken word introduction and a gentle, isolated guitar melody, a fairly obvious preamble to an explosion of blast beats and distorted tremolo that most fans of black metal will likely see coming. But then the explosion hits, and dear God, does it explode
. The jarring intensity is largely thanks to Tobias Schuler, whose machine gun drumming is presented in unusual clarity for a genre that largely privileges the lo-fi and atmospheric; every rapid snare hit is crisp and arresting. Combined with Nikita Kamprad’s visceral, unhinged screams, the breakneck blast beats create an urgent, ferocious energy that immediately establishes Der Weg Einer Freiheit as a unique force in the black metal scene.
But while the drums are often the star of Finisterre
, the key to the album’s success is how Der Weg Einer Freiheit works as a cohesive unit. Even when they’re at full power, Schuler’s drumming and Kamprad’s vocals leave plenty of room for the interplay of guitars to set a devastating yet gorgeous emotional tone. The band is more than willing to pull back at times, catching their breath by engaging in more deliberate or subdued moments. The result is an album that shifts seamlessly between wreaking apocalyptic havoc, howling in despair under the weight of the destruction, and sifting through the wreckage after the fact. Finisterre
is a gripping experience all the way through, and a standout work of black metal.