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Finsterforst - Jenseits review

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Band: Finsterforst
Album: Jenseits
Release date: September 2023

01. Kapitel I – Freiheit
02. Kapitel II – Dualität
03. Kapitel III – Reflexionen
04. Kapitel IV – Katharsis

The last Finsterforst album had a song as long as other bands' albums, and now they come out with a release that's slightly longer, but they still operate above calling it an album.

There's no way to approach this album without tackling runtimes first. Finsterforst have always been into making long songs, rarely having any under five minutes in length, but it was 2009's ...Zum Tode Hin that started a liking for really long songs, the kind that go over the twenty minutes mark. The following two album also had closers that passed that mark, and that was a record that was broken by 2019's Zerfall, whose closer, "Ecce Homo", was a whooping 39 minutes long. Album-wise, all full lengths were between 70 and 80 minutes long. Outside of these full lengths, Finsterforst have also released three EPs. 2006's Wiege Der Finsternis was their first release, and with a runtime of 26 minutes, shorter than their longest song, it's clear why that is an EP. 2016's #Yølø had a 40 minute runtime that would be more in line with a full-length but was fundamentally a detour that needed to separate itself from the mainline of albums for how goofy it was. And now we have Jenseits.

Jenseits' stance as an EP is harder to justify. At 39 minutes it doesn't have the short runtime of Wiege Der Finsternis nor the detour nature of #Yølø. It sounds exactly like you would expect a Finsterforst album to sound like and the only think that separates it is that the band has created such a rigorous standard of how long their albums are that Jenseits feels like just half a Finsterforst album. For any other band, this would be a well rounded full length, but for Finsterforst it just feels like went even bigger on the album closer but forgot the rest of the song, something that does go hand in hand with how the songs are titled and structured like chapters of a greater song. So, in a way, this is the longest Finsterforst song.

And as a result it also flows like a song, but also unlike the previous really long Finsterforst songs it doesn't feel like it closes off a grander journey but contains that entire buildup within itself. They've already showcased a mastery over long form songwriting, complete with maintaining momentum and building each section from the previous one. This is the kind of thing you'd find showered with adjectives like "epic" and "majestic" and for good reason. The album rarely lets go of its sense of grandeur, and somehow it doesn't feel like it overuses it or refuses to alternate with something more subdued, because the album still feels huge at its harshest and at its most subdued. That is what the band really shines at here.

The way that seems to happen is less because of the metal elements themselves. The guitar riffs, the drums, and even the harsh vocals to an extent do have their impact but it never really feels like they're the absolute biggest weight carriers here. Instead it feels like the band went above and beyond on the more orchestral side of the sound, from the soaring melodies, to the actual orchestration, to a more prominent use of choirs. The vocals especially are the part of this that feels most impactful and most well rounded in impact. And while the whole song is a grand one, the last chapter, a 15 minute long one, feels like the big song within a song to act like the huge closer that Finsterforst usually deliver.

While talks about whether this should really count as an EP will lead nowhere, the band's ability to both create a self-standing song of this magnitude as well as to make their usual album experience twice as compact did also end up creating some of their most majestic work.

Written on 24.09.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 34 users
27.09.2023 - 09:57

I've actually felt kinda disappointed in the Album, but reading the review, I realize it's mostly because I've considered it as 4 separate songs, rather than as a whole. The last part is definitely the strongest, and I should consider it the culmination point of 1 long song, rather than 1 song that vastly overshadows the other 3.

The way they released the 4 parts with like 1 week in between doesn't really help either.

07.10.2023 - 22:43
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I did not like much #‎YØLØ‬, but test of disco is ok.
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