Rating:
8.7
Finsterforst - ...Zum Tode Hin
27 February 2009


01. Urquell
02. Das Große Erwachen
03. Seines Glückes Schmied
04. Sturmes Ernte
05. Untergang


Pagan Metal. A vast battlefield. On one side we have the true vikings, experienced warriors who enjoy their metal blackened, sophisticated and at times melancholic, the kind of metal Moonsorrow, Primordial and Bathory play or have played. And on the other side we have the younger generation, armed with plastic weapons and war paint, attracted by skalds like Equilibrium, Ensiferum and Turisas with their joyous melodies and their drinking songs. This faction may lack in experience, but thanks to the pagan hype of the last few years they easily make up for it with their sheer number. Nothing but spite for each other these two forces face each other, pretty much like in a wall of death. And as in every wall of death there are always some idiots who refuse to take sides and rather stand in the middle where the two forces are gonna crash into each other...

Enter Finsterforst. Ever since this septet has released its highly acclaimed debut album "Weltenkraft" ("Force of the World") they were hailed as Germany's answer to Finntroll. But even though they were highly praised for the refreshing use of the accordion they still belonged to the "party metal" flock. Apparently they weren't quite satisfied with this reputation, so they've taken a few steps towards the army of "sophisticated viking metal"... and right into the middle of the battlefield.

Finsterforst's sophomore album "...zum Tode hin" ("...Towards Death") offers only five songs clocking at over 70 minutes; it is obvious that one cannot expect songwriting à la Korpiklaani. Finsterforst have matured a lot in this regard and apparently they have listened to lots of Moonsorrow during the composing process: intricate and exalted songwriting, calm passages with acoustic guitar and flutes - courtesy of Sevan Kirder of Eluveitie fame - and occasional hints of melancholy (especially "Untergang" ("Downfall") with its long acoustic opening shines in this field) all display an admiration for Finland's masters of epic viking metal. The fact that the accordion "riff" at the beginning of "Urquell" ("Origin") resembles the melody of Moonsorrow's "Haaska" might just be another hint. However, Finsterforst don't deny their roots. The accordion, variedly used to evoke either joy or sadness, is still as prominent as the lead guitar which gives the band's sound its unique flavor. Faster passages, especially in "Seines Glückes Schmied" ("Forger of One's Own Destiny") and the last two minutes of "Das große Erwachen" ("The Grand Awakening"), are predetermined pit material. Even if this disc needs a few more spins than their debut, which wasn't all that easy to digest already, eventually one discovers that Finsterforst haven't forgotten how to write captivating tunes. And sadly Marco Schomas' harsh vocals are still as monotonous and boring as on their debut. The appearance of clean vocals in "Sturmes Ernte" ("Reaping of the Storm"), reminiscent of Falkenbach's works, gives the song a nice epic touch, but it doesn't hide the fact that the vocals overall are rather dull. One does get used to it after a while, but it's still a stain on this otherwise excellent album.

The question is though: will Finsterforst find enough recognition between the fronts? The "party pagans" might reject "...zum Tode hin" for being too complex and long-winded. The highbrow discipleship of Primordial and the likes might be put off by the ever-present sound of the accordion. Those however who appreciate both sides of the pagan metal spectrum might find a little gem in this album which skillfully combines the best of both worlds.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Finsterforst
Album: ...Zum Tode Hin


 



Written on 26.03.2009 by
Promonex
Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.
More reviews by Promonex ››



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Talvi - 26.03.2009 at 11:44  
This album is horrible. It's a shameless and the worst, weaker copy of Moonsorrow. Their debut may be a bit party-like metal, but it was fresh and original compared to the competition. One of the big disappointments of the year.
DarkMoor99 - 26.03.2009 at 12:29  
I really like this album.
Janne - 26.03.2009 at 16:10  
Very nice review! I hope I'll 'find a little gem in this album' As I've read the influences it can't be bad! ..even if it isn't so original :/
Sjuk - 26.03.2009 at 16:20  
A very good review and a very good album !
Elio - 26.03.2009 at 23:38  
As most of you noticed, not the most original work ever. A good listen anyway.
tuerda - 27.03.2009 at 07:17  
Quite good. Better, in fact, than their first album. The review is spot on. Admittedly there are a lot of bands that sound like them, but this is among the best releases in this style. The only bit I disagree about is the accordion making it less complex or interesting. As for this Moonsorrow clone stuff, this is bull shit. Every Moonsorrow album sounds exactly the same, so Moonsorrow itself is certainly the worst offender of all in that department.
Both Bears - 27.03.2009 at 13:24  
Reviewed this myself some time ago .. there are so few good folk/pagan/viking bands nowadays and this album really appealed to me .. the previous Finsterforst album is boring as hell and this, while being a partial ripoff of Moonsorrow, offers great atmosphere and melodies .. i rated it 9/10 or so
albatros - 27.03.2009 at 23:32  
One of the more thoughtful reviews I've read recently. After listening to the myspace teasers I think I'll go for these idiots in the middle. haha ... Moonsorrow meets Equilibrium indeed ... this should be listened to open air. Doesn't sound generic to me at all.
Janne - 03.04.2009 at 21:11  
Written by Elio on 26.03.2009 at 23:38

As most of you noticed, not the most original work ever. A good listen anyway.

Hehe definitely While I was listening to it the 1st time my brother came into my room and asked if it was the new Moonsorrow album? xd
Konrad - 08.04.2009 at 17:50  
Written by tuerda on 27.03.2009 at 07:17

Quite good. Better, in fact, than their first album. The review is spot on. Admittedly there are a lot of bands that sound like them, but this is among the best releases in this style. The only bit I disagree about is the accordion making it less complex or interesting. As for this Moonsorrow clone stuff, this is bull shit. Every Moonsorrow album sounds exactly the same, so Moonsorrow itself is certainly the worst offender of all in that department.


Don't get me wrong...I really like your taste in music, but listen to what you are saying. Moonsorrow is an offender because they sound like THEMSELVES? Now I did like the lastest Finsterforst release, but everytime I listen to it I keep waiting to hear the Moonsorrow singer. I think finsterforst has much talent, and they will continue to develop in their own unique way, but it's only their second album, and is by no means original or revolutionary. Kivenkantaja was revolutionary.
tuerda - 09.04.2009 at 08:46  
Written by Konrad on 08.04.2009 at 17:50

Written by tuerda on 27.03.2009 at 07:17

Quite good. Better, in fact, than their first album. The review is spot on. Admittedly there are a lot of bands that sound like them, but this is among the best releases in this style. The only bit I disagree about is the accordion making it less complex or interesting. As for this Moonsorrow clone stuff, this is bull shit. Every Moonsorrow album sounds exactly the same, so Moonsorrow itself is certainly the worst offender of all in that department.


Don't get me wrong...I really like your taste in music, but listen to what you are saying. Moonsorrow is an offender because they sound like THEMSELVES? Now I did like the lastest Finsterforst release, but everytime I listen to it I keep waiting to hear the Moonsorrow singer. I think finsterforst has much talent, and they will continue to develop in their own unique way, but it's only their second album, and is by no means original or revolutionary. Kivenkantaja was revolutionary.


I think you miss my point. Moonsorrow only ever made one album. Then they went into the studio and made the same album again . . . and again . . . and again. Don't get my wrong, I love moonsorrow, but something is unique and fresh only the first time you do it. After that well . . . then its just recycling. Moonsorrow is a 1 trick pony (don't get me wrong, its a great trick, but there is only one). Finsterforst, on the other hand, has shown significant evolution from one album to the next. I think this alone is enough to dispell any notions of becoming a simple moonsorrow ripoff. I suppose we will have to wait until the next album before issuing a final veredict though.
White Winter Sun - 10.04.2009 at 18:18  
Good review which depicts well their universe and music.

I like a lot this album. Their music sublimates at once the aggressiveness of extreme metal and the emotion of the folk music.

Furthermore, the use of the accordion brings a lot on this album, going from cheerful melodies to heavy atmospheres loaded of emotions. A really nice use of this intrument IMO.

Finally, even if there are only five titles on this album, they are long but really adapted to the band's approach. I found this album like a trip which depicts and personifies the duality of the man and the nature while the minutes spend.
Konrad - 10.04.2009 at 21:35  
Written by tuerda on 09.04.2009 at 08:46

Written by Konrad on 08.04.2009 at 17:50

Written by tuerda on 27.03.2009 at 07:17

Quite good. Better, in fact, than their first album. The review is spot on. Admittedly there are a lot of bands that sound like them, but this is among the best releases in this style. The only bit I disagree about is the accordion making it less complex or interesting. As for this Moonsorrow clone stuff, this is bull shit. Every Moonsorrow album sounds exactly the same, so Moonsorrow itself is certainly the worst offender of all in that department.


Don't get me wrong...I really like your taste in music, but listen to what you are saying. Moonsorrow is an offender because they sound like THEMSELVES? Now I did like the lastest Finsterforst release, but everytime I listen to it I keep waiting to hear the Moonsorrow singer. I think finsterforst has much talent, and they will continue to develop in their own unique way, but it's only their second album, and is by no means original or revolutionary. Kivenkantaja was revolutionary.


I think you miss my point. Moonsorrow only ever made one album. Then they went into the studio and made the same album again . . . and again . . . and again. Don't get my wrong, I love moonsorrow, but something is unique and fresh only the first time you do it. After that well . . . then its just recycling. Moonsorrow is a 1 trick pony (don't get me wrong, its a great trick, but there is only one). Finsterforst, on the other hand, has shown significant evolution from one album to the next. I think this alone is enough to dispell any notions of becoming a simple moonsorrow ripoff. I suppose we will have to wait until the next album before issuing a final veredict though.


Agreed.
Pétur - 11.04.2009 at 19:18  
Written by tuerda on 09.04.2009 at 08:46

Written by Konrad on 08.04.2009 at 17:50

Written by tuerda on 27.03.2009 at 07:17

Quite good. Better, in fact, than their first album. The review is spot on. Admittedly there are a lot of bands that sound like them, but this is among the best releases in this style. The only bit I disagree about is the accordion making it less complex or interesting. As for this Moonsorrow clone stuff, this is bull shit. Every Moonsorrow album sounds exactly the same, so Moonsorrow itself is certainly the worst offender of all in that department.


Don't get me wrong...I really like your taste in music, but listen to what you are saying. Moonsorrow is an offender because they sound like THEMSELVES? Now I did like the lastest Finsterforst release, but everytime I listen to it I keep waiting to hear the Moonsorrow singer. I think finsterforst has much talent, and they will continue to develop in their own unique way, but it's only their second album, and is by no means original or revolutionary. Kivenkantaja was revolutionary.


I think you miss my point. Moonsorrow only ever made one album. Then they went into the studio and made the same album again . . . and again . . . and again. Don't get my wrong, I love moonsorrow, but something is unique and fresh only the first time you do it. After that well . . . then its just recycling. Moonsorrow is a 1 trick pony (don't get me wrong, its a great trick, but there is only one). Finsterforst, on the other hand, has shown significant evolution from one album to the next. I think this alone is enough to dispell any notions of becoming a simple moonsorrow ripoff. I suppose we will have to wait until the next album before issuing a final veredict though.

Have you even properly listen to Moonsorrow? Because there are significant changes with there albums. Suden Uni and Voimasta Ja Kunniasta sure sound a bit the same but there was already a change of approach Kivenkantaja a more cleaner and slower sound, but the changes started to get more clear with Verisäkeet where they really "blackend" there sound and with the releases V: Hävitetty and Tulimyrsky the Folk Metal element almost completely disappears and it sounds way more Viking Black with some other genres in the mix. If you already disregard these changes as nothing, then I don't understand why you say Finsterforst really has changed from there debut since the changes are similar. Desptie that I have to say this album is better then their debut, the production is cleaner, the song structure is better layered. The vocals are still repetitve tough. A good Moonsorrow worship album
Elio - 11.04.2009 at 19:24  
I have to agree TOTALLY with Pétur. Reading Tuerda's post made my heart suffer.
Janne - 11.04.2009 at 19:30  
Written by tuerda on 09.04.2009 at 08:46

Written by Konrad on 08.04.2009 at 17:50

Written by tuerda on 27.03.2009 at 07:17

Quite good. Better, in fact, than their first album. The review is spot on. Admittedly there are a lot of bands that sound like them, but this is among the best releases in this style. The only bit I disagree about is the accordion making it less complex or interesting. As for this Moonsorrow clone stuff, this is bull shit. Every Moonsorrow album sounds exactly the same, so Moonsorrow itself is certainly the worst offender of all in that department.


Don't get me wrong...I really like your taste in music, but listen to what you are saying. Moonsorrow is an offender because they sound like THEMSELVES? Now I did like the lastest Finsterforst release, but everytime I listen to it I keep waiting to hear the Moonsorrow singer. I think finsterforst has much talent, and they will continue to develop in their own unique way, but it's only their second album, and is by no means original or revolutionary. Kivenkantaja was revolutionary.


I think you miss my point. Moonsorrow only ever made one album. Then they went into the studio and made the same album again . . . and again . . . and again. Don't get my wrong, I love moonsorrow, but something is unique and fresh only the first time you do it. After that well . . . then its just recycling. Moonsorrow is a 1 trick pony (don't get me wrong, its a great trick, but there is only one). Finsterforst, on the other hand, has shown significant evolution from one album to the next. I think this alone is enough to dispell any notions of becoming a simple moonsorrow ripoff. I suppose we will have to wait until the next album before issuing a final veredict though.

I don't want to talk about Moonsorrow in this topic but what you said is just not true!
tuerda - 18.04.2009 at 00:04  
Bah, I've gone and said something that made everyone go off topic. If moonsorrow fanboyz want to come and attack me you may do so someplace that doesn't interfere with a good review of a good album. There are plenty of other ways to do it. I may even take the time to respond to a modest quantity of what you say. I also plan to go compare moonsorrow records to each other as per petur's suggestion and maybe see something I didn't see the other billion times.
Promonex - 21.04.2009 at 17:48  
I never thought this review would get so many replies

Thanks a lot for all the comments and the vivid discussion. Finsterforst are still considered as newcomers here in Germany where they've opened Ragnarök Festival and apparently they'll also get a very early slot at Wolfszeit Festival as no one really cares about them. Is it just me or are they indeed that more well-known abroad?

Btw, in the initial draft of the review I've had the lack of originality mentioned at the end as one of the factors which might put off the Moonsorrow/Primordial/Thyrfing fellowship, but eventually decided against it as they, in my opinion at least, indeed draw lots of inspiration from Moonsorrow, but are still doing it the Finsterforst way, so that you never really have the impression that you're listening to another band than Finsterforst. Thus the grade I've given for originality: 6.5-7 for sounding so Moonsorrow-ish in the songwriting, 8.5-9 for sounding like Finsterforst in the execution resulted in an overall originality rating of 8.
Janne - 29.04.2009 at 18:46  
Wow, by now I have listened to this album 12 times and I can say I liked it more and more after each listen!
3dd - 28.05.2009 at 21:05  
This album is just amazing...the long tracks are perfect in every second, also the guitar riffs are outstanding. One of the best albums of the year.
Baz Anderson - 03.11.2009 at 21:15  
Made me want to check it out...
MétalNoir - 05.03.2011 at 16:30  
Finally got it and I must admit it rocks! Very Moonsorrow-ish yet unique with the upbeat accordion.

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