Finsterforst – Rastlos
text: Basak Gunel
Finsterforst is a pagan, folk metal band from Germany. The band was formed at the end of 2004 by Tobias Weinreich, Sebastian “AlleyJazz” Scherrer, Simon Schillinger and Marco Schomas. At first, the band focused on songwriting but when the accordion- player Johannes Joseph and rhythm guitarist David Schuldis joined the band in 2005, they started to record songs and the first EP, “Weige Der Finsternis”, was released in 2006.
The band’s name Finsterforst means “dark forest” which refers to “Schwardwald”, a mountain range from their home state. Apart from the normal metal instruments such as electric guitars and bass, the band uses folk elements like accordion, tin whistle and oboe. In 2010, the vocalist Marco Schumas left the band and he was replaced by Oliver Berlin in the same year.
From the first song “Nichts als Asche“, this album gives signs that it is a unique album. The listener will surely recognize the contrast between slow and atmospheric beginning and then the harshness that follows this silence. The contrast pushes the limits of the listener’s imagination. Personally I felt like I was in the middle of the black forest. Furthermore, in all the harshness of the vocals and the riffs, the sound of the accordion is really impressive. A mixture of diverse elements is always good in pagan, folk metal songs. Furthermore, the choir-like clean vocals in the song makes it perfect: what more can a pagan metal fan want?
This perfection continues with the second song “Fremd”. The song starts with an acoustic beginning which, once again, takes the listener far away. The darkness can still be felt in the slower tempo of the song, which is a great feeling. I like the acoustic parts in folk metal songs and this song is no exception.
The atmosphere of the album changes with the instrumental song “Am Scheideweg”, which can be thought of as a transition song, followed by “Stirb Zuletzt”. Unlike the first two songs, “Stirb zuletzt” features clean vocals only and this adds another beauty to the darkness itself. The ending of this spectacular album is rather surprising and long.
The last song “Flammenrausch” is probably the most ‘brutal’ song on the album and it is also the most diverse one. When the listener thinks the harsh vocals and the riffs are too much, the song changes into an acoustic piece with the folk elements in the background. As I mentioned before, the contrast between the silence and the harshness is balanced so well, that you don’t mind that it’s over ten minutes. Furthermore it shows how much passion Finsterforst has put into this album.
Generally, I like so many aspects of the album. To begin with, the highlight of the album is definitely the harsh vocals in songs such as “Nichts Als Asche” or “Flammenrausch.” These vocals are really strong and in combination with the dark vibe throughout the album, even more ‘black’. As a matter of fact, the brutal vocals fit better to the album than the clean vocals. That’s why I was impressed by songs like “Nichts Als Asche” or “Fremd” more than “Stirb Zuletzt”.
I also have to mention that the album artwork fits perfectly to the darkness, the listener will surely feel himself/herself in the forest (that can be seen in the album artwork) while listening to the songs. Moreover, elements like choir-like vocals in the background and the folk instruments, such as accordion, prove that Finsterforst has diverse elements in their songs. Another diversity that can be clearly recognized, is the change of melodies and riffs within the songs. They are divided into different parts in one song. This diversity reminds me of Moonsorrow songs. The songs might be a bit too long for some listeners, but once the listener gets into that ‘dark’ and ‘black forest’ mood you will enjoy the full pagan metal vibe with the whole diversity throughout the album.
My favorite from the album is definitely the first song “Nichts Als Asche”. This song made me want to listen more of the album, so it really caught my attention from the first second. It is indeed 13 minutes of pagan metal beauty. I can recommend this album to any pagan metal in general. It is full of anger, passion and strength.
1. Nichts als Asche
3. Am Scheideweg
4. Stirb zuletzt
5. Ein Lichtschein