• In Extremo - Feuertaufe (2014) - For collectors only - 75% (18/09/14)

    In Extremo - Feuertaufe (2014)

    "Feuertaufe" is the first and until now only single of the diversified and yet more mature "Kunstraub" record that pretty much resumes the main strengths of German medieval rock band In Extremo. This track is the obvious single choice on the album. The energizing pipe melodies get your attention right from the start. While the verses are simpler and more plodding, the chorus is really catchy and powerful. It's somewhat simplistic as the topic of burning passion offers nothing new but it's performed with a solid dose of energy. The gang shouts in the chorus remind of the band's punk roots in a more mature and mellower way. The song includes a very short middle section that focuses on the use of diversified folk instruments and should appease the older fans that don't stop complaining about the band's departure from more traditional folk songs. Despite the medieval sounds in here, this is a commercial and modern hard rock song. Fans of the band should imagine a much softer version of the controversial fan anthem "Nur ihr allein" from the "Mein rasend Herz" record eight years earlier. If this song had received some more promotion, it would have hit the highest position of the German Media-Control-Charts last year. The band and its management somehow missed this great occasion. 

    Usually, In Extremo put a few interesting bonus songs on their single releases, mostly in form of unreleased b-sides, live tracks or special gimmicks such as the playing cards from the "Zigeunerskat" single. This isn't really the case here. The band rather decided to put together a compilation of alternative versions, demos, live tracks and unreleased material called "Bruchstücke" which was released with the 10/2013 edition of the German Metal Hammer magazine. Fans of the band should really watch out for this compilation. This single only includes an acoustic version of "Feuertaufe" itself. It's a stripped down take on the original. It has a charming campfire atmosphere with multiple vocal efforts. The relaxed use of acoustic guitars and flutes sounds like a mixture of old German songwriter pop, campfire rock and a few folk and jazz elements. The use of the medieval instruments in here works much better than in the original and feels really haunting towards the end. Even though the structure of the song is not a far call from pop music to be honest, this unplugged version is performed with more soul than the plugged rendition. While the original recalls "Nur ihr allein", the acoustic version sounds more unique. This is why I prefer this adaption over the main song and this is what makes this single release interesting for faithful fans.

    On the other side, it doesn't make much sense to spend seven bucks or more on a track that is already included in exactly this version on the album "Kunstraub" and one interesting acoustic version. If I was an occasional listener I would either skip this release or download the acoustic version for a fairer price. The physical version is really only interesting for die-hard fans and its purchase only makes sense from an emotional point of view and not from a rational one.

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