06 September 2016

Review: Finsterforst – #YØLØ

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finsterforst-yoloAfter an initial glance at the covert art for #YØLØ, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was a well established folk metal band, yet it looked like something you may expect from a European hip hop act. Curiosity heightened, I dug a little deeper and found that this EP is Finsterforst having a little fun between albums; not truly indicative of their headspace or future direction. With this in mind, I set off into the bizarre world of #YØLØ.

 

Right from the off, you can tell that this isn’t an entirely serious release. It’s as if they’re playing with a knowing glance and a wink, tongue firmly planted in cheek. The entire record sounds a bit like a drunken jam session, as if the band gathered in the studio for a few beers and recorded the resulting musical mayhem. “Bottle Gods” is a simple, energetic opener to get you in the celebratory mood, with a jovial accordion melody and gang vocals adding to the party spirit. It’s a similar story for “Auf die Zwölf”, although this comes across as a tad more serious; the tremolo picked death metal riff and mighty chorus vocals giving it an empowering quality. The title track is a mess, a frenetic clusterfuck of ideas tied together by some godawful saxophone playing. Maybe they were going for an avant-garde vibe here, but whatever the intention, it falls painfully flat on its face. Fourth track “Hangover” closes this chapter of the EP, a calmer, mid paced ode to the after effects of a heavy night on the ale (in this case, the heavy night on the ale being the preceding three songs).

 

Three covers next, and things get worse. Once you get over the novelty of hearing metal covers of the likes of Miley Cyrus, you’ll find there’s very little on offer. They simply come across as amped up versions of the originals, with no invention or initiative taken to make it sound like the band has put their spin on things. This is quite disappointing, as you feel Finsterforst could’ve done something unique with their folk sound, but aside from a cinematic mid section in Michael Jackson classic “Beat It”, they’re pretty bare bones.

 

The final three tracks are probably the strongest. “Flashe leer” is a short acoustic piece with a nice whistle replacing the vocal line. It’s a delight to listen to, and it’s a shame it wasn’t a fully developed track. It does lead nicely into “Das schlimmste ist, wenn das Bier alle ist” though, another cover that sticks a little too closely to the source material. However, unlike before, this one possesses the fun factor that was sprinkled intermittently into the opening salvo of songs. “Wild Rover” closes proceedings with a take on a traditional Irish song. A folk metal band covering a traditional folk song. Surely they can’t mess it up? Thankfully not, it’s a decent end to an incredibly inconsistent release.

 

It seems Finsterforst have perfectly captured what they were going for. They’ve had a crack at a left of field EP, and it does leave you scratching your head a little. However, when you strip away the comic aesthetic, there is little quality to be found. #YØLØ could be dismissed as a throwaway release, but the reality is the band has invested time in something that isn’t good enough. One for the faithful only, but even they may not want to play along with the joke.

 

Rating: 4/10 – an inconsistent, inadequate stopgap.

Highlights: “Auf die Zwölf”, “Flasche leer”

Band links: Facebook, Official Website

 

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