Mach Dich Frei

Ive enjoyed watching Germany’s Finsterforst (Dark Forest) evolve from a pretty blatant, if incredibly enjoyable Equilibrium clone  on their first two releases into a more epic, rangy and cinematic mix of Moonsorrow and Bathory, as heard on 2012s Rastlos, where the band delivered vast 20 minute songs and more epic orchestration, clean choirs and mid paced tempos.

Well, on their Napalm Records debut Mach Dich Frei (‘Set Yourself Free’), the band continues that sound with even more epic hues, cinematic scope and orchestration to die for. Comparisons to Moonsorrow (notably the likes of Voimasta ja kunniasta and Kivenkantaja) and latter Bathory are still relevant, but the increased orchestration and choral arrangements, especially an utterly rousing brass/horn section (rendered with keyboards, I know) give the band a little more identity.

With almost a post rock sense of sonic prose and pacing, the lengthy tracks build and peak with grandiose pomp and elegance, befitting lush German hills that feature in the video for the song’s title track above, which has a rousing , excellent chorus. The often awe inspiring horns and brass blasts truly give the those peaks an sense of massive, cinematic scope and resonance, even if the riffs they are often backing are a bit stilted. Not that the riffs or blackened rasps are bad of forgetful, but they would certainly be less memorable if rendered plainly and without the orchestras and somber choirs, as they plod with a precise, almost doomy, deliberate gait. Only a few times do they get a little more fierce, with a couple of random spurts hearkening back to the blacker, folkier Equilibrium tones on Weltenkraft  (“Zeit für Hass”). 

You may come for the riffs, but you stay for the big, dramatic, Chris Nolan/Hans Zimmer -ishbooming atmospheres as moments mired deep in the likes of the “Schicksals End'” (11 or so minutes in) , grand opening of “Zeit für Hass”  and 2 minutes into “Mann gegen Mensch” (and various moments  thereafter)  . Although things to tend to bog down a bit here and there with mild mannered acoustics and  such (5 minute instrumental “Reise Zum”).

The closing 24 minute title track takes some patience to get through, especially with its lengthy build, but the payoff is worth it for the head banging romping march around 12 minutes in, and payoffs is what Finsterforst are all about nowadays. While not as immediate as Rastlos, this album is even deeper and possibly more rewarding for the patient folk metal fan and sees Finsterforst rise to be one of the genre’s best bands.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 25th, 2015


  1. Commented by: LongDeadGod

    I love seeing band called equilibrium clones, shows how the years go by. I remember calling equilibrium just another band on the Finntroll style folk metal bandwagon.

  2. Commented by: Count Breznak

    Another meaning is “remove your cloths”. As in when you are visiting a doctor.

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