The German band Finsterforst (“Dark Forest”) take their name and inspiration from the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in their homestate of Baden. Their newest release Rastlos is their first release on Napalm Records, and might be the breakthrough album of this 8-member band.
While Finsterforst are labeled as a folk metal band, or a pagan metal band with hints of black metal, with their use of grunts, clean vocals and choir passages, they have created an interesting sound. The main reason is that they added an accordion to the typical set of instruments, which results in quite a different sound. Thin whistle and oboe are used here and there as well.
The sound of Finsterforst's Rastlos sometimes sounds inspired by symphonic black metal (Summoning), sometimes by the more extreme folk metal (Primordial) and sometimes like a legion of pirates playing metal (Alestorm). Moonsorrow and Equilibrium are also not far off from what can be heard on Rastlos. The tempo is mostly kept at a fast pace, but there is space for a peaceful and calm intermezzo every now and then too.
Most tracks on Rastlos are very lengthy pieces, of around 12 minutes. The lyrical content is mostly related to nature, and German myths – all lyrics are in German as well.
The first track of the album “Nicht als Asche” sets the tone with an almost 3-minute long introduction. As this track is immediately one of the lengthier works of the album (13:40 in total), it reminds me of a pagan metal-version of a composition like “Black Rose Immortal” by Opeth, albeit a little less innovative.
“Fremd” combines some of the heavier riffs of the album with blast-beats and a hurried hoompah on the accordion. It is precisely in those edgy parts on the album that the innovation in the use of the accordion in their music can be understood.
After the almost new-age like short interlude of “Am Scheideweg”, “Stirbt Zuletzt” is mostly folk metal with some catchy choir parts in there. I can almost see a crowd raising the horns and chanting along with this track.
The fifth track “Ein Lichtschein” is another lengthy composition, consisting of a black metal chapter, after which clean vocals and “hey”-shouting blend into instrumental work.
The second interlude of the album “Rast” (rest) brings sounds of thunder, nature and distant dreamy melodies. Then, hell breaks loose for a last time with “Flammenrausch”, a 22:48-minute long opus.
If you like the heavier kind of folk metal, and wonder how kvlt an accordian can actually sound, check out the preview of the album here.
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