"Sünder ohne Zügel (Metal Blade; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

In Extremo's "Sunder one Zugel" (which translates, I've read, to "Unbridled Sinner) is another collection of majestic heavy metal tunes adorned with non-typical heavy metal instruments from the creative German band. In this case, once again, the bagpipe is the most notable. 

What's perhaps most fascinating about these purveyors of "German folk metal" is how well they pull it off. You wouldn't think that bagpipes, glockenspiels and what sounds like a power saw (in track 6, "Vollmond") would play well next to a chunky electric guitar, but they do. In Extremo's arrangement and unique style of songwriting make every instrument not only fit, but seem necessary. It gives the band's sound a unique atmosphere and, again, majesty that makes everything bigger than life.

If I had to compare "Sunder ohne Zugel" to previous In Extremo albums I've heard, I'd have to say that "Sunder" is somewhat more consistent. The songs seem to fit together better as a whole. Whether there's a reason for that (i.e., a concept album) or not, I don't know. The lyrics, again, are all sang and printed on the CD cover in German. And, by the way, that German inflection enhances the music as well. I'm not so sure "Sunder ohne Zugel" would sound as good in English.

Also included on the CD are an electronic presskit, photos, a video for the vampire-themed "Vollmond" and more.

Bottom line: fans who enjoyed previous In Extremo CDs will like "Sunder ohne Zugel" as well. If you've never heard the band,  what are you waiting for?

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"Sünder ohne Zügel (Metal Blade; 2002)

Reviewed by Snidermann

My wife asked me why I listen to foreign language bands when I don't understand what they're singing. In this particular case, I'm talking about In Extremo and their "Sunder Ohne Zugel" (whatever the hell that means). I know R. Scott Bolton has already reviewed this release, but - after hearing it for myself (and in answer to my wife's question) - I feel compelled to pen a few lines of my own. 

Bag pipes, flutes, records playing and other non-traditional metal sounds proudly join the more traditional metal instruments and are combined into a sound that is natural but it also most strange. I have been listening to this band for about five years now and I think there is no better metal outfit anywhere. 

Every aspect of these very talented musicians - thier outstanding songwriting, musical prowess and undeniable charisma - carries through from the recording directly to the listener. What more can you ask of a band than that?

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Verehrt und Angespien" (Metal Blade; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Remember that great Mel Gibson movie, "Braveheart"? Well, if that movie had a heavy metal soundtrack rather than the standard music score, it would have sounded like this. In fact, I'm tempted to go back and watch the battle sequences with the sound turned off and In Extremo turned up to 11.

In Extremo mix instruments that one doesn't normally think of when one thinks of hard rock into a brutally hard rock delivery that can't help but bring the music of Rammstein to mind. Of course, it doesn't help that not a single word In Extremo sings is in English which is the most obvious comparison one has to make with Rammstein.

How else do Rammstein and In Extremo differ? Rammstein take more of the steamhammer approach, blasting their musical notes with near nuclear velocity. In Extremo, on the other hand, take a more artistic approach, using bagpipes, glockenspiel and other such non-metal instruments and twisting them into a hard rock sound.

It works and it works well. In Extremo are extremely talented musicians and their combination of musical genres is nothing short of stunning.

Can't tell you much about the lyrics. They're all Greek to me. But they're sung well.

Comparing this new CD with the previous In Extremo excursion, one would have to say that "Verehrt und Angespien" offers more of a progressive sound than did "Weckt Die Toten!" That isn't to say that it's not as heavy; it certainly is. It's to say that it seems to experiment even more than the earlier CD did. 

It's fascinating stuff. Metal Blade calls it "German Folk Metal" which pretty much says it all. Drive around your local shopping mall with In Extremo turned up full blast and I guarantee you'll get some interested looks. The combination of metal guitars, screaming bagpipes, amplified flute and near-Gregorian chant choruses are unique to say the very least.

In Extremo is: Das Ietzte Einhorn - alle Gesange, Harp and Zyster; Thomas der Munzer - gitarre; Die Lutter - bass, drumscheid; Der Morgenstern - schlagzeug, percussion, pauke; Dr. Pymonte - Dudelsack, Schallmei, flote, harfe; Flex der Biegsame - Dudelsack, D-Sack, Schallmei, Flote; Yellow Pfeiffer - Dudelsack, C-Sack, Schallmei, Flote, Nykelharpa.

"Weckt Die Toten!" (Metal Blade; 1999)

Reviewed by Snidermann


This band's name is In Extremo. They play instruments I can't read (at least on the CD cover) and they play songs I can't understand (the CD is entirely in German). But it doesn't matter. In Extremo rocks.

You might not think so at first. I mean, one of the main instruments on this CD is ... are you sitting down? ... bagpipes. That's right - bagpipes. and there's a flute or too as well. But don't let that turn you. The remaining members of the band deliver a traditional rock'n'roll sound that is powerful and astonishing. With that unique touch of bagpipes, etceteras, In Extremo combine to make a powerful metal connection that is nothing short of explosive.

In Extremo describe themselves as minstrels, vagabonds or outlaws. They interpret old tradition German folk tunes (some of their lyrics are 1000 years old) and add to them an extremely strong metal presence. As you listen, you can picture yourself sitting at a small German pub, drinking beer and listening to the minstrel perform his art. But then the band plugs in and, with crushing guitar and wailing bagpipes, In Extremo explode with loud, head-banging rock'n'roll music.

Metal Blade Records has a powderkeg of a band here and I am glad I got a first taste of this killer new band. This band has an awesome sound that compares to Rammstein - who gives a fuck if you can’t understand the lyrics - I understand the music and that's good enough for me.

In Extremo is Das Letzte Einhorn on vocals, zyster; Dr. Pymonte, Flex Der Biegsame, Yellow Pfeiffer on bagpipes, shawn and flute; Thomas der Munzer on guitar and Rainer Morgenstern on drums and kettledrum.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 01 Apr 2024 12:16:13 -0500 .