Andras
Iron Way

So after my review of Finsterfirst’s latest album, Einheit Produktionen were kind enough to send me a trio of the labels releases from the tail end of 2008, and all three warrant your attention, especially the 5th full length album from this long running German folk/Viking metal band.

Much like Heidevolk, there’s a huge Vintersorg influence here especially in the excellent vocals of Ecthelion (aka Steffen Thümmel) who delivers a hypnotic, silky croon (along with some blackened rasps and deeper growls) that is like Andreas Hedlund (Vintersorg, Borknagar,etc) but just a bit more baritone. Musically, Vintersorg is the main influence with largely black metal riffage with lots of epic, folky melodies and plenty of bouncy majestic synths.

After epic intro, the oddly titled “Miasma Track” kicks things off in fine fashion, giving the listener an immediate highlight track both vocally and musically with some truly mesmerizing vocals and some pretty tasty, melodic and synth flocked blast beats. While the rest of the album is no slouch, placing such as great highlight early on, certainly makes the rest of the album seem a bit under whelming. Still, “Spellbreaker” delivers a classic Vintersorg-ish (Tid Fjells era) mid paced romp and some more captivating vocals. “Across Those Highlands” is a more feral, blasting number with a few regal marches thrown in. “Return to Black Hill” is the album’s second standout out- a slow, somber number, again, with just gorgeous, appropriately atmospheric vocals from Ecthelion.

Admittedly, the second half of the album seems to drop off a bit, but is still full of Vintersorg-ish goodness: “Infested” is the albums most direct fierce cut, pure black metal cut, but it lacks the austere beauty of the albums more restrained, atmospherics, while “Dunkelwald” seems to try and mix harshness with atmospherics, but it results in the albums weakest, wandering cut. However, the closing section of “Pagan Path” is a return to epic form and closing moody ballad “Kreuzweg” ends the album on a somewhat depressing note (Bal-Sagoth -ish outro not included).

In all, a very nice little surprise from a label that seems to have found a real, niche in the pagan/folk/viking metal realm, a niche that looks to be close to rivaling Naplam Records based on this, the Finsterforst, SorgSvart and Oakenshield releases I have heard.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 20th, 2009

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