FEUERSCHWANZ – Memento Mori (Napalm Records)

  Van Muylem    1 januari 2022

This year I got a present under the form of a coupon that I could spent on Amazon Germany. I decided to go for the double album Memento Mori from FEUERSCHWANZ. I follow them since their album Auf’s Leben and their 10 years live album/DVD after I saw them on stage at the Trolls et Légèndes festival in Mons (Belgium). My son loved them (he was 6 back then and was with me). We still love them and they changed since then and how!

FEUERSCHWANZ is one of the biggest German bands within the Mittelalter music genre. However their sound has gotten harder and goes more into heavy metal with some medieval influences and gone away from the simple humor from the early days. The bagpipes are more in the background and they get more and more guests on their album. Another thing is that now they release each time a regular album + a cover album (all in one). Each time the covers are a blast and there is always a totally unexpected cover!

Let’s start with the first album: their own songs! Memento Mori is not only the opening track but also the album track. The violin opens together with heavy riffs, hammering drums and good vocals. Our singing duo is deadly serious and prepare for an epic battle. The backings sound like as if they are joined by an army (and a succulent guitar solo). This song should be a hit on stage and should also open the doors of many heavy metal festivals! As they say in their press release: the only thing you take with you in death is your coffin and that is clearly the spirit here as they give it all!

Untot im Drachenboot is about captain Feuerschwanz taking off with his army of the undead on his boat, ready to fight against their enemies. The chorus is very catchy and reminds me a bit of Powerwolf and co: strong, dark, catchy and very melodic! Ultima Nocte goes on with the catchy feel and the strong backings whilst keeping the music heavy but very melodic. I adore the riffs and guitarplay! This is excellent music and fit to perform on stage! I can see the crowds’ reactions! Heavenly! The ultimate live track!

Quote from the band about this song:

Ultima Nocte" represents our development from the early days until today like no other song! Based on our first album Prima Nocte this time it's about the “Ultima Nocte” (lat.: Last Night) ...before the battle! No title fits better to the turn of the year and to our album release! We gather around the fires, raise our horns, look full of confidence into the future and invoke our common fighting spirit, our friendship and the love for epic folk metal. Join the chorus of heroes, warriors and shieldmaidens, for the Last Night Before The Battle has come!”

Rausch der Barberei (feat. Hämatom) goes on a rawer path in a very violent way (but yest still very catchy). The vocals are clearly into heavy metal, but the chorus and the powerful backings gives it a more melodic touch! I can even hear a bit of medieval influences.

On Krampus, we have FEUERSCHWANZ singing in a canon of vocals and instruments about the ancient legend of the demonic companion of St. Nicholas, who is dressed in fur and a horned mask. The vocals go from clean singing to screaming and reminds me of some other bands, but hey the music is more than just great!

On the ballad Das Herz eines Drachen (The Heart of a Dragon), the medieval folk rockers show their sensible side. In a fire lit by burning guitar sounds and flute melodies, a warrior mourns his fallen father with his head held high. They here show that they have a lot of possibilities and don’t have to rock or go for a heavy metal sound. It’s a pearl and I’m sure some will dance a slow on it with their partner.

Rohirrim doesn’t get any explanation in the promo chat, but you can hear that they are not afraid to die. The battle is here and they dig it! It’s simply a melodic powerbomb!

Am Galgen takes us a bit back to the past as imagine: you are hang up by a chord (hangman) and you start telling your story looking down on the people who are watching you. At least, that’s my perception. The backings give it a catchy touch. The sound goes between mittelalter and hard rock. I can even hear the bagpipes.

Hannibal on the other hand embarks on a raging battle of powerful choirs, swirling violin and guitar solos and hard hitting drums, led by army commander Hannibal. Once again the music is filled with energy and is o so melodic and catchy (start to become a habbit of them).

The final regular track is called Skaldenmet: it’s almost a hymne. The bagpipes are more upfronted and the vocals sound clean and nice, whilst the backings give it a more catchy touch so be ready to sing together with them! Towards the end the tempo goes up and makes it almost the perfect song to end a regular set (what a guitar solo)!

Next is the cover album called Die Glorreichen Sieben:

Blinding Lights (The Weeknd Cover) is the perfect version for this song and almost sounds as if they wrote the song. I hear nothing of the original version (no electronica) and that is a good thing! This one is a total blast and fits the live test in a perfect way!

Warriors Of The World United (Manowar Cover) is one of the more to be expected covers as the lyrics fits their genre and the original was already a blast! On top they get some extra vocals from none less but Melissa Bonny (yup: again) and extra powerplay by Angus Mcfife (ex-Gloryhammer) and Saltatio Mortis. This cover is one of the reasons why I wanted this album! It’s still my favourite track and I already played it a lot and will for sure play it more!

Twilight Of The Thundergod (Amon Amarth Cover) is another to be expected cover from one of the best bands withing the viking metal bands! Whilst listening to the original it was pretty hard to understand the lyrics and I’m happy I can now finally get the version where I can actually understand what they sing! I like the violin touch.

The Bad Touch (Bloodhound Gang Cover) is a funny joke! I have the original on my playlist and this new version changes it totally into a heavy metal song mixed with some death metal grunts! This is just great; but the chorus reveals the influences of the original! I’m pretty sure you will get a large smile on your face! I can hear some Ghost influences too!

Dragostea Din Tei (O-Zone Cover) is an even bigger joke as the previous one (and yes: I know the original well enough). Can’t believe they did it and kept their own touch without bursting out in a massive laughing wave! This might be a good joke for a live set, just in between bloody serious songs! I’m wandering what O-Zone thinks about it?

Square Hammer (Ghost Cover) is a logic cover as their actual sound is swinging a bit between Manowar, Powerwolf and Ghost! Their version comes close enough to the original (minus the bagpipes, but I prefer this newer version!

Der Graf (Die Ärzte Cover): you can shoot me, but I had to look this one up on Youtube! It’s a ballad linked to Dracula (at least until halfway and suddenly changes into a mid-tempo rocker). Once again I prefer this new version (but the vocals on the original are great too).

This was a blast! I totally enjoyed it and can’t wait to see them finally back on stage! I really hope they get booked in Belgium! Why not on Graspop or Alcatraz? Thank you for the great time and I will play it over and over!