I very much appreciated Der Weg einer Freiheit’s previous release “Stellar” (2015), which had atmospheric power, intensity and fluidity, so I had high hopes for this one, the band’s fourth album.

“A human can never become an animal”, philosophises a lady in German to a sombre tune. Cue an explosion as all hell breaks loose in the form of furious black metal. Green turns to grey, warm turns to cold and Der Weg einer Freiheit deliver in “Aufbruch” a clinical and epic war-like piece. The technique is as tight and co-ordinated as ever. This majestic ten minute opener with hints of pagan black metal gets bigger and bigger. Our attention is well and truly captured. A deliberately distorted melancholic section is the response. It’s about atmosphere, I suppose, but the start of “Ein Letzter Tanz” (One Last Dance), musically interesting as it is, is a bit of an anti climax. But impressively the soundscape expands and we find ourselves in bleak and fiery territory. I commented previously on “Stellar”’s control of structure, sound and intensity. Here again we’re taken into a four cornered-room of reverberating noise. It’s downbeat and deep – the last dance, indeed. After a brief pause, walls shake and crumble once more in ruinous magnificence. Power emits from every pore.

The album is in full flow now as the instrumental first part of “Skepsis” provides a full-blooded continuation. A melancholy mood enters the scene, but the colourful guitar work and the ascending tempo are uplifting. What it doesn’t do is to lead into the dirty start of “Skepsis Part II”. The majesty soon returns. This track seems to have a mind of its own, as it stops and resumes with a more violent outburst of black metal. I didn’t get the continuity of this one. The scene is expansive but “Skepsis” didn’t hang so well together for me as the earlier tracks. “Finisterre” starts on smoother lines with a steady drum beat and appealing riff. The tempo picks up and with it the level of excitement and tension. Melodic majesty combines with rip-roaring heavy darkness. The wall of noise is gripping. There is a pause. The drum beats ominously, the bass can be heard and a deep symphonic sound appears. It wasn’t the subtlest of switches, and predictably, this passage ends with an explosion and then didn’t really go anywhere after that.

For me, the continuity wasn’t always apparent and the structure was at times more predictable than transformational, but what I did appreciate was the magnificence and majesty of many parts of this work.

(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)