Virtual Night Angel's Review of:
It was as if In Extremo were way too cool for me. It was hard comprehending how cool this band was live. The lead singer, Das letzte Einhorn was gorgeous. He was very confident, fearless and very masculine. Das letzte Einhorn does all the lead vocals, plays the harp and Zyster. I loved this band and couldn't believe they really existed. The lead singer and band members had cool tattoos that were so well done.
They were promoting their fourth CD. On their current release, "Verehrt und Angespien," my favorite song is "Herr Mannelig". It is even done a second time on the CD as an acoustic bonus track. It kicks serious ass and makes me want to go straight back to Germany and be immersed in their language and talents again. I must say every track on the In Extremo CD is top of the line!
The man called Yellow Pfwith, with the goatee, plays the bagpipes, C-Pipes, shallmei, flute, and Nykelharpa. He kept me in awe during the whole performance. I really could not get my eyes off him. Thomas der Munzer plays guitar and Die Lutter plays bass guitar and the Drumscheid. Dr. Pyrmonte uses bagpipes, schallmei, flute, and harfe. Flex, der Biegsame plays bagpipes, D-pipes, schallmei, and flute.
The seven members looked as cool as they sound and look on their new CD. These dudes have a serious medieval look with leather and metal pieces made into extremely fashionable attire. Their outfits were dull shades of red, yellow, green, and black solids. The entire look of them all together on stage was classic. They are an attractive group of outstanding musicians. The song, "Miss Gordon of Gight", is played so beautifully. It's so different and pleasantly unexpected.
I like hearing instruments played like I've never heard before. The "In Extremo" theme song rules! I really enjoyed this band live and I was really impressed by how all the bands were so talented and so experienced beyond belief. Such serious musicianship, that I hope will really pay off for them. I found out sometime after buying the CD that the band is promoted by Metal Blade. I tried to write Metal Blade in Los Angeles regarding the great In Extremo performance I had seen. The e-mail bounced right back to me.
In Extremo are full of musical expression and at times use heavy metal combined with vocals, chanting, and ancient sounds. I could hear more instruments than usual. The music was beat oriented with drums, horns, vocals and guitars giving their sound a real festival feel.
Travis' Commentary on:
With German precision the stage set-changes were the fastest I have ever seen, anywhere. With but time enough to get a drink from the festivals array of tents and meander through the vendors selling an unbelievable selection of music and related goods (trust me, youve never seen anything like it if you live on this side of the Pond; booth after booth, filled with industrial/electro/darkwave/goth releases, shirts, boxed sets, even original pieces of Laibach Kunst! If I had an unlimited supply of money it would be nothing short of heaven).
Anyways, before I can take in even ONE of these booths in its entirety the next band is starting and again, a band that I have not had any experience with and no knowledge of in any fashion. (not even a CD cover I could recall this time).
I watched the stage as a group of no less than seven men dressed in kilts, armor, capes and dress of medieval times took their places. There are again the conventional bass and guitar players, the drummer and singer but also a harp/horn/keyboard player and two men carrying gigantic war-style bag-pipes (dudlesacks).
As the pipes started, you knew you were in for something special, this was no ordinary band. From the first song you could feel an energy both from the stage and from the crowd. The singer wore a massive cape with leather harnesses, looking like some Warlord who stepped out of another time period. The pipers were insane, leaping about with the massive extensions and protrusions of the bagpipes making them appear like musical spines. They wore kilts and shoulder plates of metal and mesh and at once took on the persona of fearless warriors of old. The harp/keyboard player was amazing. You forget how awesome traditional instruments can sound, especially when used in new ways and in new combinations with conventional instruments of modern times. The harpist was a big guy with tribal warrior tattoos covering his bare chest and arms. With each instrument he picked up he proved what an incredible musician he was. It was surprising how delicate he could play these pieces despite looking like he could tear another human limb from limb. At times he and the bag-pipers would switch to wood-reed type horns and lutes for some melodic pieces that mixed brilliantly with the guitar and voice of the singer. On one of the songs the guitar player and bassist put on huge horned metal helmets and started ramming heads at full speed until one of them de-helmeted the other without missing a beat.
The highlight of the entire set was a piece in which the audience would sing along to the chorus. It wasnt like most shows, where the hard core fans know the lyrics. EVERY single person knew them and sang along. I got the impression that this wasnt just a song that had made it big, this was something from the German heritage, a song perhaps they had all grown up with, but now done in a new and powerful way. That is exactly what the experience was: powerful. I went and bought the CD afterwards , finding that the songs still have that exuberance and impact. By examining the liner notes, I noticed a number of the songs are traditional lyrics with revamped music and in a couple instances, traditional music with new lyrics I cant fully relate the experience into words but it seemed to bend time and fuze two periods into one excellent hybrid.
All in all, this performance was the highlight of the day, I loved it. Incidentally they have a very unique cover-version of "This Corrosion" on the album done with bag-pipes/harps/horns that they didnt perform live but certainly added to my enjoyment of the CD. I keep walking around singing their theme-song IN EXTREMO! getting strange looks from my co-workers.