(We have the privilege of helping to premiere a full stream of the new album by Der Weg Einer Freiheit in advance of its August 25 release by Season of Mist, which we introduce with a review of the album by Andy Synn.)
Raise your hand if you’re familiar with Der Weg Einer Freiheit’s phenomenal 2015 album, Stellar?
If your hand isn’t up in the air… shame on you. Shame.
Because you’ve been missing out on one of the most electrifying and emotionally invigorating acts (and albums) in the Metal scene today.
But don’t worry, because the band’s latest record (their fourth) is another opportunity to bask in the glory of their sublime blackened beauty.
Containing only five songs (well, four really, as “Skepsis” is essentially one song divided into two parts), this album is actually a full track shorter than its predecessor, however only two minutes separates the two releases in terms of their total length.
As you might expect, this means that the songs here really stretch out to epic proportions – although this is, truth be told, nothing new for the German quartet, as previous numbers, such as “Neubeginn” (from the band’s self-titled debut), “Zeichen” (from 2012’s Unstille), and “Letzte Sonne” (from Stellar), have all hit double-figures with ease.
For example, Finisterre’s furious opener, “Aubruch”, clocks in at just under ten minutes, and (after a suitably solemn introduction) finds Der Weg Einer Freiheit unleashing a veritable maelstrom of hyper-velocity Black Metal, aided and abetted by an uncanny undercurrent of bleak, melancholy melody, while “Ein Letzter Tanz” takes things even further and, at almost fourteen minutes in length, is not only the longest, most ambitious track the band have penned thus far, but also one of their most involving and intricately plotted compositions, shifting back and forth between moody minimalism and blazing catharsis with impressively dynamic dexterity.
As previously mentioned, the album’s centre-piece, the unflinchingly visceral “Skepsis”, is split into two halves, the first of which is a roiling, seething instrumental of almost unmatched intensity, while the second not only maintains this same frenetic, punishing pace, but also adds an array of forlorn melodies and truly vehement vocals into the mix as it builds towards its truly magnificent finale.
The fifth, and final, track – “Finisterre” – is, by some margin, the most traditionally “blackened” song the band have produced in some time, with its merciless, rumbling grooves, nerve-jangling bass lines, and sharpened, scythe-like guitars, and its appearance is, at first, actually a little jarring, as it possesses a much rawer, more old-school, vibe than any of the preceding numbers.
The back-half of the song finds it undergoing something of a metamorphosis, however, reincorporating all the eloquent and elegant progressive and melodic touches that had (so far) been pushed to one side, bringing the album to a climax which manages to be both immensely satisfying, yet still leaves you wanting more.
As good as this album is, I would argue that it’s not so much a step up from Stellar – which was about as close to flawless as it’s possible to get – as it is a lateral move designed to open up new opportunities and new creative avenues for the group.
After all, attempting to improve on (near) perfection is a fool’s errand.
So while its predecessor will, in all likelihood, continue to be held up as the band’s magnum opus, Finisterre, could well signal the beginning of a whole new phase of their career.
Finisterre will be released by Season of Mist on August 25.
Pre order link:
To catch Der Weg Einer Freiheit live, check the flyer for their upcoming European tour dates after the album stream. The band will also be appearing this year at Xtreme Fest, Brutal Assault Open Air, and Summer Breeze Open Air.