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Firtan - Okeanos Award winner

Firtan
Okeanos
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 June 2018, 7:23 AM

Progressive Black Metal quartet FIRTAN formed in Germany in 2010. They are one of Germany’s uprising Extreme Metal acts, delivering their very own mixture of styles to fans all over Europe since 2010. “Okeanos” is the band’s second full-length offering, and contains six tracks.

“Seegang” is the opening song. Low vocal chants lead in the sound, with some spoken words. Soon, anguished screams enter and a fast Black Metal sound ensues. It pauses for a charming acoustical guitar passage, but soon heads back into the madness. There are some changes along the way that keep the intensity from becoming too much. It’s still quite harrowing overall but thoughtful and introspective at times as well. “Tag Verweil” is shorter, but opens with a galloping rage and thunderous drumming. The main riff is great—they use some melody that connects well with the fury of the Black Metal backbone. The ending passage is nothing short of memorable…a brief piano passage before a reprise of the main riff. This is some thoughtfully composed music.

“Nacht Verweil” opens in a slow haze with a demonstrative riff, leading to an absolutely frightening main sound. An acoustical interlude features string and flute; done with a soft touch. The horrifying sound returns but subtle melodies are intertwined. “Purpur” is a three-minute pensive instrumental, and something that fits perfectly with some of the delicate and doleful sounds we have heard in earlier tracks. It’s a sad dirge but very emotionally expressive. It segues nicely into “Uferlos,” which opens with melancholy acoustic guitars and thoughtful lead guitar notes. The main riff chugs in with a heavy rhythm and incensed vocals. In another wonderful instrumental passage, those ultra-low vocal chants return from the opening song.

“Siebente Letzte Einsamkeit” is a beast of a ten-minute closing song. The opening vocals are so guttural that they sound like there are being emitted from an opening that formed on Earth to the pit of Hell. Satan himself could not sound more chilling. Riffs change along the way with all of the skill and speed of a Shape-Shifter. Overall, this is an outstanding Black Metal album. Critics sometimes cite traditional Black Metal as the antithesis of musicality. I mostly disagree with this, but won’t debate this here. On “Okeanos,” FIRTAN have stretched the boundaries of this genre with intelligence, sophistication, expertly crafted riffs, and a sense for the grandiose, without sacrificing any of the intensity that comes from this sound. It’s one of the best Black Metal releases I have heard this year.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Seegang
2. Tag Verweil
3. Nacht Verweil
4. Purpur
5. Uferlos
6. Siebente Letzte Einsamkeit
Lineup:
Phillip Thienger – Guitars & Vocals
Oliver König – Bass & Backing Vocals
Marius Zeinhofer – Guitars
David Kempf – Drums
Record Label: Art of Propaganda
     


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