In Extremo - Mein Rasend Herz

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5 avr. 2006, 7h45m

For my fourth review, I chose an older album, from the first half of 2005: Mein rasend Herz. For those who don't know In Extremo, they are a band that mixes medieval and metal music, with bagpipes, harp, and several other unusual instruments. They released a live CD/DVD (Raue Spree 2005) lately and they have taken part into the Eurovision contest, which probably helped them for the charts. As a matter of fact, In Extremo has never had so high positions in charts before the live album (I think it had started at #3, then got down slowly, which is very high since In Extremo used to be pretty underground). So, they make the charts... are they more commercial or anything? Has their sound changed since their beginning? Well, I wouldn't say they are more commercial at all. They did change since their first albums, but the big change came with 2001's Sünder Ohne Zügel, which saw the addition of more metal elements, it was much less bagpipe-centered. In my opinion, it did not make them more "common"...they still had a very unique sound. So, nothing very new for the latest studio release, Mein Rasend Herz. Except maybe for the single "Nur Ihr Allein", which is pretty different, but not more commercial in my opinion. Overall, before I start the song-by-song review, I would add that my first listen of Mein Rasend Herz had left me pretty bored. I enjoyed it, but that's all. No track had surprised me, none had really catched me. But it grew on me...a lot. I would still say nothing is surprising about the album, the fans will see a logical follow-up to "7" in it.

01. Raue See 9.5/10

The opening song starts with a chord of guitar. The drum starts a basic beat, the guitar plays a little more and bang! The album starts in its full power as the bagipes get in, with a beautiful riff that makes me happy all the time! The song goes on very smoothly, just like a big boat that goes forward very fast on a calm see, in a beautiful sunny day, with a soft fresh wind. Actually, that's the thought I get when I look at the beautiful cover of Mein Rasend Herz, even though the sea doesn't look so calm on there ;). Raue See isn't a very complex song, not many guitar chords are used and the structure is nothing different from what In Extremo uses a lot. The singing isn't very catchy at first, but it's very rhythmic and helps the song to "go with the flow". Another good point is that I can't seem to get tired of this song. I've known it for about a year now, and I'm not a bit tired. How can you get tired of a song that makes you feel so happy, anyway? I think this is the best album opener In Extremo has ever made, and even though nothing surprises the fans in this song, I don't think there is much to deceive them either!

02. Horizont 10/10

Again, the track starts in a powerful way. As soon as the riff gets in, everything seems huge again. I can feel the boat going even faster, the wind gets harder in my face, but I keep smiling because it's a beautiful day. The title "Horizont" gives a good idea of the feeling you get when the songs starts: the whole Horizon is in front of you, empty, waiting for you to discover what it's made of. The song is made in collaboration with the singer of the band Die Happy, Marta Jandova. Her vocals are very relevant to the song, especially in the prechorus and chorus, it gives a lot of power to the song. Speaking of the chorus, it's pretty catchy, and even though it's pretty short, it's beautiful and intense. At the end, the beat changes for the last chorus. It gets in powerfully after a calm bridge, and gives a lot of intensity to the song. This track is my favourite song off the album. It was chosen as their second single and the video impressed me very much: it was very different and artistic, definitely relevant. I don't think the song made so well on charts - but who cares ;)

03. Wessebroner Gebet 7.5/10

With this song, I feel in the hold of the boat. It's not as grandiose as the 2 other tracks. I could easily compare it to "Merseburger Zaubersprüche II" on "Sünder Ohne Zügel". It's a slower track that starts as a more medieval song, and in the middle gets more metal, when the guitars get in. The melody is actually very nice, and pretty catchy. I like the song and never skip it when listening to the album, but the fact I feel like I'm listening to a new "Merseburger Zaubersprüche II" annoys me a little and makes me appreciate the song less.

04. Nur Ihr Allein 8.5/10

The first single from this album! The video was pretty funny, showing Japanese people visiting Germany with In Extremo. Nothing too serious, but I guess it fits with the "happy upbeat" feeling that comes out of this song. The lyrics make it an ode to their fans. Musically, this song was extremely surprising. When I first saw the video (which I did before hearing the actual album), I thought In Extremo decided to completly change their sound. The opening riff, which starts in a very straight way, with no intro, sounds a lot like Die Toten Hosen, a legendary punk band in Germany. So, how would a medieval-metal band go into something that sounds like a famous punk band? No idea...but it was only for this song, it seems. Only the main riff sounds like Die Toten Hosen though, the rest is more In Extremo-ish. The chorus, as catchy as it is, is pretty basic. The melody is nice and mostly played on bagipes, since the vocals don't add much melody to it. Also, there is a short bridge where bagipes take the whole place, I guess they wanted to calm down the fans who criticise the lack of medieval instruments in their newest work with it ;) Anyway, the song, overall, is pretty well done.

05. Fontaine La Jolie 8/10

This midtempo song starts with a small part of the chorus and the riff gets in pretty quickly, with a drum cymbals "fade in" to make the start more intense. It has a very nice vocal melody, pretty catchy. It's one of the songs that makes me think the most of In Extremo's older albums, with a more medieval feeling to it while the guitars are still very present. The song is the first one that really hooked me on Mein Rasend Herz. However, I somehow got a bit tired from it with time. I can't really explain why, but as fast as this song grows on you, it stops growing pretty soon. Maybe it's because there really is nothing too special about, it has a feeling of déjàvu. It does runs smoothly, but if you're not paying much attention to what you're listening to, you may not notice the song very well while it's playing, if you see what I mean. It's not an intense song that will make you feel much. It's "just a good song" I guess.

06. Macht und Dummheit 9/10

The intro of Macht Und Dummheit makes it very intense, I really love it. I sometimes feel like listening to the 20 first seconds of this song over and over again, cutting the rest of the track - maybe that'll give you a clue of how much I like it. The medieval instruments start their riff right away, and shortly, the whole artillery gets in, with a heavy riff that fits pretty well. The verses, which are mainly palm muting, drums and singing, transmit a "bad and suspicious" feeling. While the chorus isn't very developed, it runs pretty smoothly, and the highlights of it are probably again the instruments playing behind the singing. This basic chorus is probably the only thing that kept me from giving "10" to the song. I'm still amazed by the cool part the medieval instruments play, and how intense and fulfilled they make the song every time this part gets in. The song is pretty short and ends as roughly as started, no need for a long outro.

07. Tannhuser 8/10

A 100% medieval track - no guitars or modern drums here. While I was not a fan of the medieval-only music In Extremo had made in the past albums (I mainly think of "Davert-Tanz" from "Sünder Ohne Zügel" here), I must say this one is very well done. We can clearly see they have made a lot more work on it than on the others for the complexity. The melody is catchy and the structure and use of the different medieval instruments is perfectly done - we can see they've been working with them for years now. Of course, nothing intense or full of emotions here, only enjoyable music made by joyful tramps. It's a nice break from the metal music in the middle of the album, its place in the tracklist was perfectly chosen.

08. Liam 8.5/10

The third, newest, and probably last single from the album. From the hype this song received by most fans, I would have thought they would make it the second single, but they chose to wait a year and use it to promote the new live album. I was not as excited by this song as most other people were. True - the bagpipe melody is very nice and original. Musically, the song is very well arranged, the mixing of the different instruments is really amazing and complex, particularily in the verses, and the structure flows very well. Some intensity can actually be found in the instrumentals of this song. So why am I not THAT excited about it? The chorus. I think the singing in the chorus kills it all. While muscially, all is set for a grandiose and catchy chorus, all they sing (they, because it's a duet with the singer of Raemonn) is "Liam Liam!" and some other words in Gaelic, with not much conviction or intensity in the vocals. They actually sound bored or tired or something. That completely kills the amazing track that was built so far. But if you concentrate on the bagpipes behind the vocals in the chorus, it's ok, even though it gets a little repetitive. I am a little mad at In Extremo for not making something better off this so promising track, which remains good anyway.

09. Rasend Herz 7.5/10

Something funny I've been wondering for a while: why is this track called "Rasend Herz" and not "Mein Rasend Herz"?. As the title track, giving it the album name would have been logical...and well, in the chorus, he does say "Mein Rasend Herz" and not only "Rasend Herz". Oh well, not that it really annoys me, I just thought it was pretty curious. At first, I thought this song was very weird. Then, after a few listens, I decided it was just badly done. And later, somehow, i got to actually love it, even though I still agree with all that I thought what wrong with it. With this song, they kept the tradition of using melodies from their 2 first instrumental & medieval only albums for new tracks. They had done it for "Der Rattenfänger", "Omnia Sol Temperat", "Ich Kenne Alles" and many others. Now, they used the song "Quint Je Sui Mis Au Retour" and took its melody for "Rasend Herz"'s chorus. But don't expect to recognize it before you actually get to the chorus. The chorus and the rest of the song seem somewhat divised up. They seem to come from 2 different songs, that have been put together by cut/pastes. Also, what deceived me about the chorus is the vocal melody... it seems to have been composed very fast. It does fit the music, but in a weird way. One could think they came with the lyrics and tried to find something to make them fit with the cool chorus they had muscially made. And after many tries, with nothing that fitted too well, they took whatever seemed like the "less worse", and said "oh well, that'll do the job". But as much as I've been whining about this weird song in the last lines, it remains powerful - not very medieval actually, but I can't help but loving it now that I've got to know the song better, especially the live version. Something unexpected about it, now that I can hear it without saying "what the hell did they think while making this song?", is that I listen to it very often and actually, it's one of the few songs from this album from which I can't seem to get tired at all, no matter how often I listen to it. Don't ask me why.

10. Singapur 9/10

I first thought the intro to this song sounded a little "cliché". Well I still think the first harp notes do, but it only lasts only few seconds and the rest doesn't sound cliché at all. A rather funny anectode about this intro: the first note of it sounds a little like the sound MSN plays when someone from your friends list signs it. Now, every time someone signs in, this damn song starts playing in my head. Really! That has been going on for months, everytime I can't help but listen to the song, since it already started playing in my head anyway! I'm actually not that sure about how similar the sound is, but the fact remains that I can't help but hearing the song every time. Now don't get me wrong, I don't find this so annoying, I love this song. It's a slower songs than most others. The bagpipe melody is very nice, and just after the second chorus, some intrument I can't name gets in and I absolutely love the use they made of it. It fits very well. The chorus is pretty powerful and the song is pretty intense overall. A good job.

11. Poc Vecem 8/10

What a cool intro! The main melody is played with another instrument I can't name, and then, very smoothly, as some kind of continuity, but with a lot of intensity, the vocals and guitars get in to the first verse directly, together. This goes on for most of the song. Something I thought was pretty annoying at first about the chorus...mainly, it's "rai ai, rai ai ai, rai ai, rai ai" and so on. Pretty funny if you ask me, but it got on my nerves after a while. Again, I get this feeling that they haven't spent much time working on the vocals for the chorus, on finding something really cool. It's not bad, but it obviously could have been better. However, the structure is very well done and the main melody is simple and catchy, I like it. It's just not an highlight from the album, in my opinion.

12. Spielmann 9/10

While this song really doesn't make much place for the medieval instruments, only some bagpipes, it's a very good guitar-centered song. The chorus is very intense, when he shouts "Spieeeeeeeellllllmmmmmmmaaaaannnnnnnnnn". And well, I love intense choruses, so how can I not like this song. The verses are not really special, but they "make the job". And well they are probably the only reason I didn't give 9.5 or 10 to the track. Some people can use it as an example to complain about their more metal-orientation compared to the early albums, but that's the way things go. Bands evolve and change, and while I'm very happy they have made the first albums as they are, I'm also happy they don't just keep repeating the same stuff over and over again.

For some people with the limited edition of the CD, a German version of Liam is included as the last track. It's not different at all from the original except for the lyrics, so I don't think there is a need for me to review it.

Overall rating: 9/10

A very well built album. Probably my favourite ever by In Extremo. While it's not so different to the previous one, "7", it just is a little bit better in my opinion. There's a little something that makes the difference. But it's not a perfect album: the choruses is probably what could have been better, more worked on, they lack real vocal melodies.

Anyway, I still listen to this CD very often almost a year after it was out, I can say that's really something rare for me. So good job by In Extremo with Mein Rasend Herz, and I could just add a short note about the live CD/DVD "Raue Spree 2005": I have watched the DVD yesterday and it's very cool, MUCH better than the "Live 2002" one they had released a few years ago. Believe me, it's worth the price ;) And now, I just hope In Extremo can make me as happy with their next release!

Top tracks pick: Raue See, Horizont, Nur Ihr Allein, Macht und Dummheit, Singapur, Spielmann.

Commentaires

  • Skoeldpadda

    My favourites on this album are Poc Vecem and Liam. But the whole albums is just so fucking great I really like Liam, although I know that there has been a hype lately, but this song is so great, especially in the car... And I think the chorus is just fine...just shouting Liam! Liam! Makes it pretty plain but great...and besides.. there are a lot songs with far worse choruses.... Is it welsh they're singing? I thought it was gaelic?! but I'm not much into languages ...so..

    5 avr. 2006, 16h19m
  • das_eisenherz

    You are right, it's Gaelic! *edits* Thanks for the comment :)

    6 avr. 2006, 2h49m
  • Slaything

    ooh.. the entire album is great in the car actually or you could say the entire album is great, period. Fontaine La Jolie has become a new favourite

    17 déc. 2006, 1h43m
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