|Umbra et Imago
review by Travis Baumann
It was actually a promo photo I saw of Mozart with a red haired woman dressed up in leather - toting broadswords that first drew my attention to Umbra et Imago. A combination of Mozart's hair-style, ability to wear makeup and still look manly, and his female companion (who looks willing and able to kick ass) really caught my eye so when I found the CD "Machina Mundi" and found that image residing behind the disc cradle I bought it.
With that purchase a frenzy of buying any Umbra et Imago discs I could get my hands on began. Instantly I fell in love with the excellent mixture of hard guitar riffs, keyboard melodies, various vocals styles (ranging from death metal growl to beautiful female vocals to vampiric poetry to guest vocals from Wolfsheim's Peter Hepner!)
As I found out more about Mozart and the rest of the group I grew more and more interested in their projects. I finally got "Mea Culpa", the newest full-length and was again impressed with the diversity and excellence. "Mea Culpa" is their best work to date, coupling forces with the mighty Tanzwut (a band that has quickly climbed to my personal favorite) on the song "Weinst Du". The single of the same name was brilliant and to my delight, a CDsingle release party for their newest collaborative effort "Feuer und Licht" was taking place on the night I would get to see Umbra et Imago play live.
Truth be told it was specifically Umbra et Imago that sealed the deal that Tina and I would HAVE to make it to Leipzig this year. We were both really excited to witness the live shows we had heard so much about, viewed pictures from, and listened to on the "Hard Years, das live album" disc.
As the show neared we worked our way back up to the photo-pit area. The Werk II venue was absolutely packed by this time, Umbra et Imago bringing a huge following. We stopped at the merchandise booth and I was totally impressed with the quality and amount of stuff for sale. I bought several T-shirts as did Tina and I picked up a cool necklace with their male/female logo.
The photo-pit area was packed as well as they were not letting into the actual photo taking area at all. It was stated that "the master of satan will not allow any photos". This wasn't quite the case as in reality the pyro technics were too dangerous to allow anyone near the stage. The stage took quite a bit of time to assemble due all the cool stage-show bits that are part of Mozart's performance.
As the time arrived we saw two guitarists take the stage. It was difficult to make out the very back recesses of the stage so I couldn't tell if there were keyboardists or other support members but it seemed to be primarily two guitarists and finally Mozart stepped out.
Mozart was covered in an awesome black leather hooded robe with a giant cross on the front, his face completely obscured. He moved to his podium, an intricate arcane affair with a diabolical tome on it's support. Candles flickered giving the mood of the Schwarze Messe or black mass.
Mozart began the show with an evil intro, singing and speaking from beneath his drawn hood, his face remaining unseen. A blond woman emerged and hoisted what looked like a human size and shaped caccoon onto a metal rack. She then sliced open the material revealing another woman, this one brunette. The blond strapped the struggling brunette on the wrack by wrists and ankles.
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