Der Weg Einer Freiheit
(Season of Mist)
To a great extent, pure (“trve”) black metal has experienced a lull in quality recently. While progressive, experimental or avant-garde black metal is at an all-time high in terms of quality, few bands are churning out exceptional second wave black metal, and fewer still are doing it outside of the US. German based group Der Weg Einer Freiheit offers up a nice counterpoint to the notion that OG black metal is a dying fashion. The band’s third album, Stellar, is a nice notion of foreshadowing of the greatness held within. Der Weg Einer Freiheit’s sound is rooted in the “traditional” Scandinavian sound, though the emphasis is rooted rather heavily in melody. Interestingly, the beginning of the album offers up some clean moments that pull a trick on the listener that Stellar is going to veer off in progressive moments. In a way that works very well for the band, this is an album that, other than an initial note, doesn’t deviate too far from the norm here.
Stellar is a very engaging listen, with forceful melodies and pummeling musicianship, it’s a love letter to traditional second-wave black metal that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel; it proves that we can still use the wheel as long as it’s made well. Thankfully, Der Weg Einer Freiheit does a damn fine job of showcasing the need for a well-oiled machine. Stellar is an immersive and engaging listen, surprisingly warm and contemplative. By focusing on worldly issues instead of anti-Christianity and Satanism, Der Weg Einer Freiheit is able deliver excellent black metal that is void of the harsh, cold feel of the second wave. It’s not going to give you a hug, but it’s a starkly less cold than its Norwegian relatives.
In fact, it’s the atmosphere and feel of the album that really helps Der Weg Einer Freiheit separate from its peers. I hesitate to call them post-black metal or atmospheric black metal, but this German band has an excellent grasp of essence and feel in constructing great, engaging extreme metal. (Nicholas Senior)