Germany’s Pagan/Black Metal act, Firtan return with their third full-length album – Marter.  I am new to the sounds of Firtan and the Pagan/Black Metal influences are something I am starting to enjoy, the more I hear bands playing this style of music.

This review is for the 8 song album, but the physical copy has a bonus track “Medomai”.  The eight songs are all German titles, sung in the band’s native tongue, much like other German Black Metal bands, such as Porta Nigra.

“Faðir” opens up at 6 minutes and really not much breathing room to be had as the song starts with a fast speed, not quite blasting and the melodic guitar riffing traverses into more violent riffing as the song picks up the pace and gets into full blast mode.  Plenty of monstrous double bass  to be had and the variety of tonal shifts, during the mid-paced parts, blend nicely.  There are some well-placed keyboards too, making the sound more expansive.  Phillip Thienger has a nice set of pipes as well as his vocals are gruff, black metal for sure, but not as screechy, he also let’s some screams out too.

“Amor Fati” is next and at 9 minutes is the longest track.  Beginning with some soft guitars and light drumming it is evident the band are unafraid to incorporate the Pagan influences throughout the album.  Around the minute mark the rest of the black metal music hits and the atmospheric Pagan elements, still evident, are more in the background, but being played simultaneously with the black metal music is rather cool to hear.  The song picks up the pace, then slows down with acoustic elements over the brutal music.  The vocals getting into the higher register range, but still not grating to these ears.  The rhythm section at the 3.40 part is excellent.  The blending of the sounds are terrific.  The isolated guitar riff, soon thereafter, is the Holy Shit part.  This part goes into a bombastic vicious blast and is hellbent, not for leather, but rather taking your jaw, ripping it open and then using your lifeless body as a tennis corpse racket.  The song shifts in a multitude of directions with a plethora of signature time changes.  This is truly an expansive track.  The addition of the choral vocal moments at the 6.55 section is killer.

“Odem” opens with atmospheric acoustic elements before the harder music comes blasting through your speakers.  The mid-paced heaviness is vicious and David Kempf is quite a monstrous drummer.  His drum rolls, cymbal hits and pummeling double bass work hand in hand with the lighter elements, when he’s utilizing those methods.  What a damn fine drummer he is.  He also became the new drummer for Germany’s technical brutal death metal band, and personal fave, Profanity.  Check out this track to learn some killer technical black metal drumming folks.

Firtan is a damn good band and I am totally digging Marter.  The production is a bit more streamlined and maybe has more of a vibe to their earlier material, whereas their last full length Okeanos, had a fuller sound.  All the instruments sound great on this.  The guitar melodies and drumming (double bass moments) really cut through powerfully.  The Pagan elements are still ever present, but had more of an influence on their earlier releases, as the band, in some sections, get into the post-modern black metal elements where despair and coldness are used to create a more emotive soundscape.  This is a damn good release.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
December 7th, 2022


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