We live in a world where good music has never been more accessible. Everything from the most well-known and loved supergroups all the way to bands still carving their place in the scene are available in a few mere clicks to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Such a dynamic has made finding new bands not only an incredibly easy exercise, but a particularly rewarding one as well.
Which leads me to Firtan, a German extreme Metal four-piece, and one of Europe’s brightest rising stars. So far they have devastated ten countries with their brutal display of musical prowess with no sign of slowing down, and released two full-length albums, the second of which, ‘Okeanos,’ is the subject of this review.
From its first moments ‘Okeanos’ establishes itself as a very serious record. From the exquisite album artwork to the superb quality of the recording, everything screams both professionalism and class. And it keeps getting better the further you go. They have nailed everything they aimed for across the board. The ambient, Progressive Black Metal sound is spot on from the very beginning, and there is no deviation from the highest quality Metal across its six tracks
Seegang opens up the experience with a deep ambient introduction giving way to blasting drum beats accentuated with crushing guitars. Quiet moments of acoustic guitars and violins give brief moments away from the brutal pacing of riffs cascading across the soundscape before closing with nothing but the sound of crashing waves.
Listen to ‘Seegang’ HERE!
This pattern is repeated with near perfection across the album. Every change has been meticulously planned out and expertly executed, from guitar solos and violin sections to soft background vocals filling in some quiet parts. Across all of its tracks, ‘Okeanos’ offers surprise after surprise, revelling in chaotic lines interwoven with brilliant vocal work.
The album’s fourth track, Purpur, gives a brief instrumental interlude in the middle of the album, giving a few minutes of reflection from the swirling audio tempest on either side. It felt reminiscent of some of Ne Obliviscaris‘ instrumental sections in their earlier works, stripping back distortion and chaos, letting the musicians’ skill shine through with natural tones. There are other moments in the album that are similar, but in my opinion Purpur stands out in my mind as the most moving instrumental section.
Bringing the album to a close is Siebente, letze Einsamkeit. The first few minutes are a surprising change in tone from the rest of the album. The vocals are much deeper and carry a commanding presence throughout as the guitarist hovers menacingly, as if to welcome the oncoming storm of blast-beats and shredding riffs that engulf the rest of the track.
As the final moments fade out in a cascade of organ notes I cannot help but sit back in awe of what I have just experienced. Finding a new band is always an exciting experience, but finding something with quality of this calibre is a treat.
In my opinion ‘Okeanos’ is a must-listen for anyone who’s serious about Black Metal and has an interest in finding the absolute best of the lesser-known bands on the international scene, because with music of this quality you are going to be seeing a lot more of Firtan in the near future.
GET YOUR HANDS ON FIRTAN’S ‘OKEANOS’ FROM THEIR BANDCAMP HERE!