FEUERSCHWANZ - Das elfte Gebot (Napalm Records)

  Van Muylem    8 augustus 2020

Over the course of the past 15 years, FEUERSCHWANZ have not only become one of the hottest bands in Folk Rock, but also made a name for themselves as being the most entertaining in the genre. Having paved their way to the top by persistence, relentless touring as well as delivering top notch album after album, the sextet is now reaching for the stars with their newest effort, Das elfte Gebot (The eleventh commandment). Being known for tongue-in-cheek lyrics, catchy tunes and quite some hedonism, FEUERSCHWANZ have even stepped up their already flawless game on album #9 with a heavier, more in-your-face approach.

“The message of our lyrics comes from our hearts, is extremely important to us which is why they’re put quite clearly without beating around the bush. A clear message needs an adequate sound”, states singer Prinz “Hodi” Hodenherz. And a bold sound they deliver. Nods to legends like Iron Maiden, Testament or even modern bands like Ghost or Gloryhammer, mixed in with the very unique FEUERSCHWANZ trademark sound, make Das elfte Gebot a direct and intense sonic experience. Still, the band hasn’t lost their experimental touch which also comes to show on “Lords Of Powermet”.

Once again, FEUERSCHWANZ worked with Subway To Sally’s own Simon Michael Schmitt, who achieved a sound with Das elfte Gebot that sits right in between medieval rock and straight heavy metal – a message that’s also conveyed by the more aggressive artwork. “The buddy-type dragon from previous albums now became a full blown war machine. The knight is based on a crusader, bearing the FEUERSCHWANZ emblem instead of a cross though. Instead of spreading the only one “true” belief by the sword he breaks with religious and societal norms and sticks to his own ways – he lives by the eleventh commandment: If the world goes up in flames there’s no time for vanity. Do what you love and let it kill you!” explains vocalist and guitarist Hauptmann Feuerschwanz.

Meister Der Minne has a oriental touch, whilst the guitar rambles and the drums hit hard. It’s a very melodic track with a certain catchy sound during the chorus. You can hear the positive evolution in their music as they sound despite the tongue in cheeck humour more mature.

The debut of MetFest has for sure a medieval touch. When you hear the 2 singers getting it all together it almost feels as if their vocals are melted together and it sounds really good! The song is pretty catchy and will be for sure a hit on stage. This brings me to the idea that it must be really hard for them to stay at home and not conquer the hearts of many people during their many gigs. I had the pleasure of meeting them after their gig at Trolls et Légèndes fest in Mons, 5 years ago and really enjoyed it all very much and hope to see them back on stage soon.

Das Elfde gebot begins acoustic, with an Italian feel, but once the guitars wake up it turns into a great rocker with raw voices. The song has some melancholy in it, but is for the rest catchy as hell!

Kampfzwerg gives more work to their violin player. The vocals and the backings melt together during the chorus. At some point they even sound a bit like Rammstein. Im Bauch des Wals starts slow, but has some symphonic parts and a powered up chorus (backed by many singers or at least a lot of effects on the vocals). Mission Eskalation gets lead by the violin and sounds like the kind of track that might start a polka whilst rocking. Once again the chorus is deadly catchy! Schildmaid is the kind of tracks that could have been used in series like The Vikings. The backings sound like Rammstein, but luckily we also hear some real singing too. The song sounds nicely powered up by the extra vocals and muscles. Malleus Maleficarum mixes great guitar play with powerful vocals and backings (sometimes they even sound sacred). It’s a very catchy track and one of my favs of this really top nutch album!

There is always a first time and we do get it with: Lords of Powermet. The song sounds like a real metal track and the English sounds really good, just as the empowered backings! It’s for sure a new metal anthem! The band’s first song to also feature English lyrics is about a group of religious fanatics who worship the “holy horn” - an epic yet heavy ode to their own cheekiness. More rock metal mixed with some folk comes with yet another very catchy track: Totentanz! It sounds a bit like a powered up version of In Extremo / Saltatio Mortis. More passion and more love comes with yet another track with powered up backings: Unter dem Drachembanner. The story telling of the album comes to an end, but not without some pathos and finger licking guitar play!

Besides their own captivating and intense original songs, FEUERSCHWANZ took a deep breath, chuckled and stepped outside their comfort zone by also recording a covers album, entitled Die sieben Todsünden (The seven deadly sins, check out the manga series with the same name and you’ll get the joke), choosing songs by both German and other internationally acclaimed artists that you wouldn’t typically see the band interpret.

“We sat and tried to find a common denominator for those “deadly sins”. We all have different musical preferences and so there’s quite some songs that are faves to some and sins to others. We won’t tell which is which though…”, grins the Hauptmann.

So here we go with the second album, the one with the cool cover versions of tracks we would have never guessed they would cover them and for that you need big balls just to try it!

Ding (is a SEEED cover) and features the phenomenal Melissa Bonny. It’s a hot, strong and vey funny track that might actually make it into the hit charts! If you check out the original one you will notice they really turned it from hiphop into a song of their own and that alone gives them a lot of credit! Hier Kommt Alex (Die Toten Hosen) is a strong German 80’s classic hit song. They add a folky touch and rawer voices to it and kept the catchy way of the original chorus (and bagpipes). Once again the result is mind blowing!

Next is an ode to Powerwolf with their song Amen & Attack. They once again add their folky approach and make the song harder and catchier then the original. With this version they send the wolf pack back home! WOW! Next one is from Ed Sheeran, what? Ed Sheeran, yes indeed: you read it well. I See Fire gets an almost spiritual folk version and make it sound as if you need to regret that this version made it into the Lords of The Rings movie and not the cover version they are bringing. I love the way they bring the chorus and the lyrics as it seems really fitting better to the legendary trilogy! Once again a great WOW momentum!

Next is Gott Mit Uns from Sabaton. Adding a folky touch, an acoustic guitar and smooth backings makes it more a FEUERSCHWANZ song then a Sabaton song, how incredible that might sound, but that is how I feel it after listening to both tracks. This new version is simply much better than the original! Limit was originally a hip hop track from Deichkind and has completely been rebuilt to achieve (once again) a much better version (the original is really boring as hell). Gratz! Last one is an instant classic German track from none other but Rammstein: Engel. No whistling, but a folky intro instead. The music sounds as if coming from The Vikings soundtrack and it’s great! The backings are done by angels and gives it a special touch. Once again: if I compare both versions I can only conclude that this is the better version!

Mission accomplished! FEUERSCHWANZ is ready to take over the world and show with this album that they deserve their spot! Soundtracks, movies, games … Let them take the Wardruna path and have fun in the meantime on the stages all over the world (once we defeated the covid-19 and the covid-idiots)!