Finsterforst – Mach Dich Frei (2015) – Review

Listen on Apple Music
RockmusicRaider - Spotify Logo
RockmusicRaider Review - Finsterforst - Mach dich Frei - Album Cover

We covered Mach Dich Frei of Finsterforst already in 2015 for the first time. With the new record looming and RockmusicRaider with more than 510 posts under our belt, we decided to have another go at all that goodness. At these epic sounds reaching us from the – supposedly – darkest of all forests.

In the meantime, the RMR deck crew even insisted to cover Rastlos, which we quite enjoyed. So, something must be good with these folks, right?

This will also stop the endless confusion of Googlebot that did not know where to turn, once it hit the old German review. Because the RMR tech crew was too lazy to attach a language flag for guidance to the post and the Google product is apparently too dumb to recognize the language. When – on the other hand – they boast fucking omnipotency everywhere they go. So, something does not sync. And this will be for another of our tech posts on SEO and such.

So, in preparation of the 2019 new epic Zerfall, I went ahead and gave Mach Dich Frei another thorough listen. And I still fail to see where the pagan label that many like to use should come from. That they have mud on their faces may have many reasons, but it’s surely not a qualifier for the pagan label. Or perhaps they don’t have good showers in the Finsterforst, who knows. Or the dwellers of the woody hills of their own backcountry do go out in that in that fashion. But they’re for sure no Heilung or Eluveitie that clearly (try to) talk to the old gods.

I could grudgingly attest to the Folk Metal label, they do provide some liberal use of the accordion, acoustics, and a little brass after all. But that would also be like slamming a Brazilian Folk stamp on Hibria because they mix some local Caipirinha into their Heavy Metal at times. Right?

Yet, Finsterforst undoubtedly deliver a powerful tune on Mach Dich Frei. Their eerie mix of liberally applied Melodic Death Metal and Folk Metal (there…) offering starts like a thunderclap with Schicksals End. It is interesting how they overwhelm the mix and – indeed – their recording gear by throwing everything they got into this magic potion. And that is something prevalent throughout the album. It is a ‘too-much-of-everything’ record in a sense, when less may have been better.

Added to that are the heavy-duty and often overly corny blood-and-honor lyrics that already got on my bad side the first time around. This thing may have sounded cool in Roman times, but these days – less so. Interesting how the video of the title track sweetens the message, whilst the text calls for revolution and mortal combat.

Yet again, alternating between powerfully delivered clear voice and their trademark growls does indeed remind me – at times – of the Melodic Death Metal bands like Insomnium dispense. With the epic taste of Moonsorrow from time to time. That they hit the mix with acoustic instruments all over just adds to the brutal muscle Mach Dich Frei displays at every corner.

So, we have a lusty metal tune going. Until, well until Reise Zum… hits the fray. The mix between earthy sounds, Tiamat, and loads of Jethro Tull just fail to make sense to me. An outrageous coherence killer if ever there was one. Maybe they should have saved that one to get some additional beef on #Yolo that was to come later. Just sayin’.

I guess the former was meant to be an intro to Finsterforst – the title track. Which is cool, but way too long. Whereas the title track kinda meanders around Todtnau like one of them woozy Pink Floyd records of old did when the band got overwhelmed with the weed. So, in other words, once you yearn for a close after some 6 minutes of endless acoustics, they hit you with a 24 minutes monster that you must endure.

Yet again, the cathedral, soaring riffs, and grandiose, epic soundscapes never fail to pull me in and make me actually enjoy the Melodic Death Metal with a truly earthy Folk Metal taste at times. Too long, yes, but it is in Finsterforst where the band unveils its true power. And that is something they have to give in spades.

In the end, Mach Dich Frei is a record with real metal juice. Finsterforst have that knack to marry manly chants with powerful riffing and sometimes epic soundscapes. Those continue to pull me in, and even fascinate me with this mix of harsh heavy metals and soaring acoustics.

And that despite the fact that their meandering around this hilly soundscape sometimes gets a bit tiring. AND that the mix and master seem to be brutally overwhelmed by a set of equipment not really adapted to the harsh and complex compositions.

But in all, Mach Dich Frei is a good record that we still enjoy listening to this day. And so will you, but only if you dig that kind of lengthy composition.

And congrats! The record made it onto the 2015 Top Ten and the first intermittent digest ever. That’s a feat right there.

Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Napalm Records  | Web: Official Site
Release date: 23 January 2015

Raid a comment or twenty!