Der Weg Einer Freiheit

Noktvrn

Written by: KW on 28/12/2021 17:00:20

The German atmospheric black metal master craftsmen in Der Weg Einer Freiheit have quickly become one of my favourite bands in their field after witnessing their powerhouse performance at Aalborg Metal Festival 2019 and soon after rinsing their magnum opus record “Finisterre” countless times, it even ended up in my best albums of the decade list (I would probably rank it even higher by now). Some very promising singles led me to believe they might pull off the nigh-impossible feat of matching or even exceeding the greatness that is “Finisterre” and now the next chapter in the history of the band, titled “Noktvrn”, is finally here.

So did they succeed? Well not exactly. Is it still one of the best albums of 2021? Most definitely, which is a testimony to the insanely high quality of output the Bavarians manage to conjure up time and time again. “Noktvrn” picks up straight where “Finisterre” left off quite literally. When I first saw the title “Finisterre II” I was beyond excited to get a sequel to the masterpiece of a title track from the last record but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed by the fact that it turned out to just be an acoustic interlude, albeit a beautiful one, to the real opening track “Monument”, even though it does pose as a great transition piece between the two albums.

Aside from that tiny gripe, Der Weg Einer Freiheit is back in all their glory, still very much sounding like what made me fall in love with them in the first place. “Monument” is classic Der Weg Einer Freiheit - a swell of melodic tremolo picking and blistering blast beats from one of the greatest black metal drummers working right now, Sebastian Schule, while frontman Nikita Kamprad intensely screams out his German poetic, existential lyrics in an amalgamation of heaviness and beauty. “Am Rande der Dunkelheit” carries the torch further forwards but introduces a more dramatic, foreboding touch to the atmosphere and themes with a gloriously effective and catchy harmonized lead melody. “Morgen” has tension that sounds like it’s about to snap any minute from the contrast between the bombastic whirlwind of sinister guitar melodies and quieter passages, while the monumental 11-minute masterpiece “Gegen das Licht” perfectly continuously builds to a tidal wave of massive tremolo chords and a barrage of drums before a single chord on a church organ sounds the finale to one of the greatest tracks of the year.

While a large part of the material present here sounds like you would expect out of the band, the album isn’t without curveballs, “Immortal” being the one with the largest strays from their formula the band has ever written. Surprisingly understated drums and synths bring a smoothness to the wide-open space, as featured vocalist The Devil’s Trade deeply croons with a folky tinge - in English no less, also a first for the Germans who always write in their mother tongue, culminating in a haunting climax of twinkling guitars, not a blast beat in sight. Yet for how different this sound is to the band, it fits the flow of the record like a glove and ends up a welcome, moody change of pace. The final track “Haven” is another expansion of their sound. While the rest of the record does present a more post-rock spin on their signature sound, this epic closer embraces the post-rock sound fully, evolving from soft falsetto vocals into an explosion of reverb and heavenly synths.

“Noktvrn” is another brilliant offering of atmospheric black metal that will both make you grin from the sheer intensity and shiver from the melodic melancholy, though I would have liked at least one more track with the just straight menacingly evil power that is usually found on the other records like “Skepsis Pt II” from “Finisterre” or “Verbund” from “Stellar”. While I don’t consider it the unequivocal masterpiece that “Finisterre” was, it still comes very close and proves once again how unbelievably consistent they are. The fact that this record was also live tracked is another testament to the talent these guys possess and I’m sure the next one will be just as great, though if they’ll ever top their last magnum opus is still yet to be seen.

9

Download: Am Rande der Dunkelheit, Immortal, Gegen das Licht
For the fans of: Altar of Plagues, Harakiri For The Sky, Wolves In The Throne Room, Winterfylleth
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.11.2021
Season of Mist

Related Items | How we score?
Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXXII Rockfreaks.net.