For someone who thinks that music is a little too serious nowadays, it’s always a delight to know, that there are bands like Feuerschwanz out there, whose most famous songs are about mead-shortages in far away fairylands.
The band has just released their ninth longplayer Das Elfte Gebot (the eleventh commandment) and achieved their best charting positions yet in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Rightly so? Or was it just the numerous ad-spaces they got on the internet, now that they’re on Napalm Records?
Publicity never hurt anyone, but poop with a nice ribbon around it is still poop. That certainly isn’t the case with this banger of an LP though.
The album starts off extremely strong with Meister der Minne. A song, that could have been an Iron Maiden-song, if Steve Harris was a German middle-ages geek, instead of being an English science-fiction nerd. The groove is strong with this one.
Metfest has already proven its worth to the band on their Metfest-tour back in 2019. A typical FS-song. Full of dad-puns and catchy violins. 10 out of 10 Vikings would like to hear this on their next raid.
One of their most serious tracks to date, as well as being the title track, Das e
Elfte Gebot, starts off calmly with a beautiful violin-melody, before it erupts into a mighty chorus. It’s about living life to the fullest. You could be dead tomorrow after all. Great song, but my biggest problem with Feuerschwanz shines the brightest in this one: Hauptmann Feuerschwanz’s singing often sounds really monotonous to me. It reminds me of the German band Unheilig, who are, in my opinion, a borefest for the ages. Prinz R. Hodenherz (which means Testicleheart btw) is just a way better singer. But that of course is, as mentioned earlier, just my opinion, and it doesn’t ruin the song or the album for me.
From here on, the album drops a little in quality, but Kampfzwerg, Im Bauch des Wals, and Mission Eskalation are nonetheless songs, no good medieval booze-up should lack.
Has this happen to you: You listen to a song, and all of a sudden, you totally forget it’s name.
Don’t worry! Feuerschwanz got you covered. They repeat the word Schildmaid (Shieldmaiden) 34 times in the 3min 40 seconds of this song. I’m probably not the only one, who pictures Lagertha when hearing it. A fine tune. And the “Schildmaid”-call and response-parts will no doubt echo all over the German festival grounds, once there are festivals again.
When compared with In Extremo, the top dogs of German medieval metal, the biggest difference is arguably on which instrument the focus lies (aside from FS’s obvious more comedic approach to lyrics). Where In Ex focuses on the medieval instruments in most of their songs, FS’s focus lies more on the guitar.
And the guitar especially gets its time to shine in the last third of the album. This part of the LP unfortunately also sports its lowpoint with Totentanz, but it nonetheless ends on a high note with Unter dem Drachenbanner (aka every Targaryen-fan’s new favourite tune. In case any of those still exist. It means “Under the dragonbanner”).
As a bonus for buying the special edition, you get the coverdisc Die sieben Todsünden (the seven deadly sins). When it comes to metal-covers, the “scene-police”, aka “trve-metallists”, aka “those guys most metalheads like to make fun of” almost always condemn them. But I couldn’t care less about the opinion of those people. I still was suprised of how good most of these “sins” are.
Starting it off is Ding (Thing). It tells a tale that’s as old as time: of how puking can save a marriage. Now that’s how you make a fine metal-cover! By adding an incredibly groovy guitar-riff, to an already catchy tune.
Another remarkable cover is Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire. They took, what is arguably the best ES-song, and what is definitely the best part of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit-trilogy (No arguing about that), and transformed it into a great folkmetal-powerballad for the ages. I see potential for a great encore-opener here.
The rest of the bonusdisc ranges from “great” (Powerwolf’s Amen & Attack, Sabaton’s Gott Mit Uns and Die Toten Hosen’s Hier kommt Alex) to “still very good” (Deichkind’s Limit and Rammstein’s Engel).
If you’re looking for music that makes you think and feel anything but good, then better keep on looking. Feuerschwanz’s Das Elfte Gebot only wants you to get out your “air-lute” and party. And it does a tremendous job at that.
I like music. All of it. Except for schlager… And ballermann. Oh boy do I hate ballermann.