If you care for atmospheric and blackened epic folk metal in the key of Caladan Brood, Equilibrium, Falkenbach, Manegarm, Moonsorrow, and Wintersun, you should definitely familiarize yourself with Finsterforst, from southern Germany. The band name in Old German literally means “Dark Forest”, and is a reference to the well-known German Black Forest.Rastlos means “Restless”, and is already the band’s third full length release, and they’ve generated very favorable reviews up to this point.
The band sings in very poetic words about the two emotional extremes of despair and hope, and sometimes uses landscapes and natural phenomena as metaphors to build a very tense atmosphere. The lyrics remind me of German Baroque literature, with writers like Andreas Gryphius. This should be quiet interesting for those who are interested in the German language.
This doesn’t mean that foreigners can’t enjoy the music at all. On the negative side, the band sounds at times too close to Moonsorrow and Falkenbach, and doesn’t truly have its own style developed yet. If you are though looking for melancholic accordion sounds, dark and majestic orchestrations, sharp and often blackened guitar riffs, epic choirs that remind one of old school Viking Metal, and a great mixture of slow, almost doom-metal driven passages intermixed with fast black metal, this release is worth your time and attention. The song writing is interesting and energetic, and the transitions are very fluid. It’s the kind of album you must listen in one shot, and may need to do so several times. I would pick the opener, “Nichts als Asche”, and “Stirb zuletzt” as the most vivid and approachable tracks. The album as a whole iw quite a grower, and its captivating atmosphere should convince those who like the bands mentioned above. I must admit that the final track, “Flammenrausch”, gets a little overwhelming with a running time over twenty-two minutes, but that doesn’t change a thing for the positive final result. Finsterforst hardly reinvents the genre, but they are pretty good at what they do.