Finsterforst - Rastlos
Napalm Records
Epic/Folk/Viking Metal
7 songs (77:50)
Release year: 2012
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Thomas
Album of the month

There is little doubt that the pagan/folk metal scene isn’t exactly thriving. Moonsorrow absolutely dominates the scene, and with very good reason. More or less every release have been fantastic, epic and majestic in their own right and nothing and no-one have ever been close if you ask me. Sure there are bands which compete in certain areas like Eluvetie and Finntroll but come on, those bands aren’t even close to being in the same league, not even Skyforger or Equilibrium’s Sagas. The kings of winter have in other words set the bar extremely high.

Which brings me to Finsterforst. A band I hadn’t really heard about, and what I had heard was pretty average. However, Rastlos, even if it has not been released yet, already gathered the attention of pagan warlords and turned the heads of underground Vikings. There was no way I could let this one pass by when the promo was up for grabs.

To be brief, there’s another top tier Viking/folk metal in town.

To be tedious: Let it be known, Finsterforst wields a brand of folk/Viking that many have attempted to forge yet few have mastered. Some of which you have heard before yet rarely experienced in the masterful way it can be done with the right elements.

Finsterforst is the warrior, Rastlos their sword, the edges are sharpened and swung magnificently. There’s an aura of pitch-black darkness surrounded by sorrowful, epic, fantastic melodies that will enchant you and touch your very soul. In terms of comparison the obvious choice is Moonsorrow, and Nicht als Asche could probably have been drawn straight out of Kivenkantaja. However, where Moonsorrow shifts the focus towards melodies that intends to catch you a little bit, Finsterforst binds you in the night, surrounding you with black, and while the two bands may sound entirely similar in places, I, subjectively, also find them different in every sense of the word.

The spirit of ancient heroes flows through Rastlos with every wave of riffs, soaring orchestrations, harsh, ripping vocals and deep rumbling, almost operatic roars. The pace is solid, ranging from slow wanderings through stomping passages and the occasional fast endeavours. Each song is deliberately crafted to take you on a journey through the bloodshed of the battleground, emotional, melodic passages and the joy of dazzling moonlight and victory where heads of enemies are mounted on spikes. The 22-minute concluding chapter, Flammenrausch, imposes seemingly never-ending glory. And just like Moonsorrow moves you every time, you never want this album to end.

This is epic music, the songs ranges from 12 to 22 minutes, but as an avid fan of metal you should be used to stuff like that by now. This album is worth every second of it, and is really close to being album of the year for me. This is absolutely riveting album that every declared folk/pagan/Viking metal fan should own and love to their death. I spy a future classic and you should let the music of our ancestors carry you away into another time and another dimension.

Killing Songs :
Every single one of them
Thomas quoted 95 / 100
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