Sunday, December 09, 2012


Napalm Records Handels GmbH

Germany's Finsterfrost ("German for "Dark Forest") are described as "nature-loving warriors hailing from the German Black Forest". The Black Forest ("Schwarzwald'") is a stunning area that is well-known in the band's home state. It is both a place of beauty and a place that is dark and mysterious. It is therefore all the more fitting a name for this folk metal/black metal band. For that matter so is the album title. Choosing to call their fourth album "Rastlos" ("Restless") makes sense of the music seems almost restless at times. Finsterforst offers a sound that is equal parts sorrowful folk and unrestrained black metal. Not a new idea of course as there are more and more bands coming down the pipeline that make their living by offering up a mixture of folk/folklore and the more extreme parts of black metal. What hope then is there for this German band then to set themselves  apart from the pack? Even the use of authentic instruments like the accordion (And even a full horn section?) have been done before. I'm almost positive of that fact. But, fear not as there are a few things to be thankful about "Rastlos". Besides the obvious, talented musicians writing sophisticated material, There are nice little touches to be found. Having choir arrangements in place to back up what are some very sinister lead vocals is a very wise move. It shakes things up some as does the album's overall vibe. While the material is dark and grim (And rightly so for this kind of metal darkness) there is also this melancholic appeal to this release as if Finsterforst are pouring out their sorrow over the course of this unwinding journey. In that sense this is also epic metal as the whole affair seems more like a work of adventure-themed metal. With a subtle production that neither over-enhances the music here or allows it to get lost in the background (Both of which I've seem ruin many a good album, folk/black metal or not) "Rastlos" is perfect soundtrack for a dark and chilly night when all you want is to warm your bones by the fire with a pint in your hand.

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