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Album Review: DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT Noktvrn

8.5 Reviewer
Score

Der Weg Einer Freiheit is more than just black metal. It's black metal with pulsing, hypnotizing rhythms in a bed of reflexive tumult enveloped in existential contemplation. Noktvrn will take you to frightening places, but with a sonic landscape that can be just as profoundly beautiful as it is morbid.

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A band that has recorded in German since its inception, frontman Nikita Kamprad cuts two songs in English for this record, both of which also feature largely clean vocals – another rather unique aspect of Noktvrn. Overall, Noktvrn is a more progressive record with more open dynamics than their previous work, which becomes apparent in songs like the hauntingly disconsolate "Morgen." Though listeners looking for a more traditional, driving black metal track will also love "Morgen" for its full-on accelerated arctic-inspired black metal of the Northern European variety. Of course, as Der Weg Einer Freiheit's nature is to experiment on Noktvrn, there are time changes and various off-the-beaten-path passages in the track that add depth to the overall composition.

There are seven songs on Noktvrn, all of whom travel along a winding and unpredictably twisting path. This is most apparent in cuts like "Monument," which is sometimes thrashy, sometimes contemplative and mellow, and then a bit like a funeral dirge here and there. One of the aspects though I really love about tracks like "Monument" is the rather novel guitar tone that reminds me so much of Cave In's Jupiter record, in that guitars take on an experimental space rock sound that whisk the listener above the atmosphere into parts unknown.

"Immortal" is perhaps the signature track off Noktvrn. It's an atmospheric experience with lots of subtle texture juxtaposed with brief periods of restrained yet considerable bombast helmed largely by Nico Ziska's metallic bass and Nico Rausch's noisy, jangly guitar with just the right touch of tremolo. Playing off the "nocturnal" theme of the record, "Immortal" is a like a cold, lonely night where you fall asleep only to wake up in a panic minutes later. A haunting track for these haunting times.

"Am Rande der Dunkelheit" is a song about intense anxiety and the dawning of a morbid reality whereby life is seemingly coming to an end. Lots of traditional rapid pace riffing over a solid rhythm section with layered guitars that almost have an organ-like quality to them. Fittingly, the tumultuous Noktvrn record ends with the astral "Haven." After taking the listener on a jarring and affect-laden space coaster for the prior 40 minutes, "Haven" is the slow return to earth as the rockets cool down and the landing pod parachutes in.

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Noktvrn is not your traditional black metal record, but fans of the genre will find so much in it to satisfy them.

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