Michael had bestowed quite some praise upon German FINSTERFORST and their first EP “Wiege der Finsternis” back in 2006 and now I have their latest full-length “Weltenkraft” (“Worldpower”) in my player, trying to convince me as well. Founded in 2004 they, like so many others these days, play Viking Metal, with their twist being a real, live accordion that stands quite prominently in basically all of their compositions, adding its touch, isn’t it amazing sometimes how an instrument becomes a universally accepted part of some sub-genres of Metal after previously having been unheard of?
Well, a few years back I had officially dubbed the accordion an official Metal instrument thanks to MOONLYGHT’s innovative use on their “Progressive Darkness” album and now more and more bands come out of the woodwork (pun intended, as FINSTERFORST is a German expression for “dark forest”) and at least in this case here, they definitely make great use of it. “Des Waldes Macht” (“The Power Of The Forest”) kicks things off with thundering double-bass, a very nice tempo and said accordion leading the way, embedded into the overall sound instead of just being an add-on and it works great!
And they continue in this vein, with the energetic “Suche Nach Dem Licht” (“Search For The Light”), where the a little unflexible croak of fronter Marco Schomas is the only slight sour point in an otherwise very dynamic and melodic track, which once more lives off its accordion use, something that also marks “Von Glorreichem Schmerz” (“Of Glorious Pain”), which’s melody line(s) will automatically get you going and the quiet breakdown just adds to the charm, as it shows that FINSTERFORST don’t have to go full force all the time, but have several dimensions, further elevating the album. And here it also becomes clear that the production is crisp and clear, letting all instruments shine, where they have to.
Now you might think that by using the accordion so prominently, the music might become repetitive and boring after a while, especially as the Germans pack almost 77 minutes of music into this album, but that is the beauty of “Weltenkraft”, the songs have just the right measure of variety to sound distinct enough, yet they are not all over the place, thus never sounding disjointed, letting the 10 songs swerve through your ear canals without dragging on.
An excellent piece of Folk/Viking Metal from the south west of Germany, with its own characteristic in form of the accordion being an integral part of each single song and enough quality and variety to compete in the steadily filling up arena of the sub-genre, now if only they also added some vocal variety (the light choir of “Verlorene Seelen” (“Lost Souls”) is a good start!)…
(Online March 18, 2008)