Following on from 2017’s Finisterre, Noktvrn is an album that finds Der Weg Einer Freiheit at the height of their powers. Containing 48 minutes of progressive and atmospheric post-black metal, Der Weg Einer Freiheit sound darkly vibrant and full of expressive might.
The album contains blackened aggression that’s sophisticated and well-textured. There’s a modern, post-black metal feel to much of the material, and this allows the music’s emotional core to never be too far away from the surface. Folk, avant-garde, and shoegaze elements can be heard here and there too, further enriching the band’s sound.
The well-crafted songs balance hostile aggression and immersive atmosphere with ease, emphasising one or the other depending on the needs of any given moment. The album is mood-driven, despite containing a lot of direct hostility. Feeling is very much the guiding force overall, although the songs still boast much in the way of memorability. It’s not just the striking melodies that are occasionally deployed with surgical skill, but the overall structures, dynamics, and presence of the music; this is a masterclass in how to create absorbing and engaging blackened soundscapes. Each song is its own master, but works well with the others to flow across the album’s duration.
Clean vocals have been introduced here and there, alongside the harsh blackened screams. These are well-performed and a great addition to the band’s toolbox. Guest vocals also appear on one track, (Immortal), adding another facet to the band’s sound, (and on a song that already offers a different view of Der Weg Einer Freiheit’s considerable abilities). This is also true of the incredible closer Haven, which is entirely cleanly sung and has more in common with bands like Radiohead and Anathema than your usual black metal act.
Noktvrn is an album produced by a band with an enviable talent. It’s a multifaceted journey into the night, one which gives the listener a range of different experiences, some beautiful, some terrifying, all wreathed in rich emotive darkness.