Metal teutón con sabor medieval
Cuando llegamos a la Sala Caracol, cerca de Atocha, no pensamos que la
sala fuese a ser así. Siempre habíamos oído hablar
de ella como una de las mejores salas de aforo pequeño de la capital...
y la verdad es que no defraudó, al menos, en cuanto a sonido. Larga
y estrecha como un autobús, la gente aún estaba a la puerta,
esperando a la apertura.
Crónica y fotos por Andrés Abella / IndyRock
Más o menos a la hora indicada, se abren puertas, y comienza
a entrar la gente. Un escenario demasiado alto (para el gusto de cualquier
fotógrafo), y una iluminación a priori estándar, dejaban
claro que la parte visual no era el punto fuerte de la Sala. Aunque estábamos
El escenario, aunque bastante más alto de lo acostumbrado en
éste tipo de salas, resulta ideal si quieres ver el concierto desde
la parte de atrás, ya que la longitud de la sala es considerable.
Y en cuanto a la iluminación, en ésta ocasión, nada
Pasadas las 10 de la noche se empieza a notar ya el nerviosismo del
público, con bastante calor, y se empiezan a ver los primeros movimientos
detrás del telón que cubre el escenario, hasta que, por fin,
el telón se retira, y entran en escena los únicos protagonistas
de la noche: In Extremo.
La banda teutona tenía preparado un setlist perfecto, mezcla
de clásicos y temas de su más reciente trabajo, Sterneneisen,
que en absoluto dejó a nadie indiferente. Guiños en español
de Michael Robert Rhein (alias Das letzte Einhorn), y poco a poco van cayendo
temas como el que le da título al disco, y con el que empezaron
su directo, Frei zu sein, Erdbeermund...
Viendo el ya casi insoportable calor que el respetable tenía,
y probablemente sufriendo éste gran mal los músicos también,
deciden repartir botellas de agua entre las primeras filas, con el consiguiente
alivio para éstas, demostrando una vez más que los germanos
se preocupan por su público como otras bandas, o quizás más,
pero sin hacer alarde de ello.
Cuando le llega el turno a "En esta noche", todo el público se
pone a cantar con ellos, aprovechando la letra en castellano, y en Viva
la Vida, el frontman nos explica que es una canción, como no podía
ser de otra forma, de borracheras, mujeres y tristeza.
Ya casi en la última parte del recital (que tuvieron que acortar,
posiblemente por problemas de horarios), nos dejaron con un Küss mich
y un Spielmannsfluch que, junto con el resto de los temas de la noche,
hicieron que los fans se fuesen a casa con un agradable regusto de música
medieval mezclada con metal en el paladar.
2. Frei zu sein
7. Herr Mannelig
8. (with drum solo)
9. In diesem Licht
13. En Esta Noche
14. Ave Maria
15. Siehst du das Licht
1. Viva La Vida
2. Küss mich
29 marzo 2003 Pinos Puente, Granada
Fotos: J. E. Gomez © IndyRock
It's meanwhile 2001, and time to complete the band history somewhat...
I believe very few bands can remember the exact date of their foundation,
often the beginnings are too confused and the paths from the first idea
to the first trial and (God allowing) to the first concert often to rocky
and meandering. I reckon most projects have premature births or forceps
deliveries anyway, and therefore don't even make it to their first birthday.
It wasn't any different for us and IN EXTREMO also shows signs of
a long and confused prehistory:
The ideas - on the one hand to play medieval music and to connect at
some time with rock music - actually appears simultaneously on the plan.
Sometime in 1994 Thomas and Michael's then rock band, NOAH, gave a concert
in the former Berlin "Franzklub", to which they invited some musicians
from CORVUS CORAX as guests for a joint session. Michael was as always
on the hunt for new ideas and consorts, in addition Reiner and I had left
the band half a year before to practice uneven beats, double bass and increased
volume with TAUSEND TONNEN OBST. The combination between NOAH and CORVUS
CORAX could, in retrospect, be described as a success, however, it was
on extremely shaky legs, was also from the beginning only planned as a
session and thus not repeated. The idea itself was, however, considered
good and that, as can be heard today with the examples of TANZWUT and IN
EXTREMO, is evident from both sides.
Hopefully it is now clear for good who was there first: the chicken
or the egg!? Shortly after Teufel and Michael, who in the meantime gained
(as a result of a popular T-Shirt motif with a picture of Klaus Kinski)
the pseudonym "Das letzte Einhorn", formed a duo by the name of PULLARIUS
FORZILLO and also played the medieval markets like CORVUS CORAX. Since
Reiner and I still had good contact with Einhorn and the idea of a connection
between medieval music and rock wasn't letting him sleep, we met sometime
in 1995 in our OBST rehearsal room in the Berlin district of Lichtenberg
and made a decision on the whole thing - washed down with a few drinks.
The line-up? Einhorn, Teufel, Reiner, Thomas, Detlef Mahler and yours
truly. Somehow this action didn't give rise to anything worth considering
- at least nothing that sounded more promising than our other projects,
nothing that would have animated us to continue. Only "Ai Vis Lo Lop" survived
then in a wonderful way as a vague idea and short casette track and then
appeared later on our debut album "Weckt die Toten!" with new prestige.
Shortly after, Teufel left PULLARIUS FORZILLO for CORVUS CORAX and in
Conny, the red fox (today FILIA IRATA) and two other musicians, Einhorn
found new members for a new medieval band. After several changes to the
line-up, Flex der Biegsame and Dr. Pymonte finally joined the band. NOAH
also sometimes showed signs of life, meanwhile it was changing more and
more into a side project for all involved, but then back together with
Thomas, Reiner, Einhorn and myself - and there you have it, the IN EXTREMO
line up at that time.
In spring 1996 studio recordings of medieval music for a democasette
were taking place and Thomas, Reiner and myself were also invited for a
short time to maybe try after all again with "Ai Vis Lo Lop". And this
time the plan wasn't to stop at the recording of a rock piece, band formation
was also planned. A few days later somewhere deep in the Berlin district
of Prenzlauer Berg, the name IN EXTREMO was born and we concocted the most
adventurous plans for a rock programme. They were, however, for the time
being to develop secretly alongside the main projects of the medieval band
IN EXTREMO and the different bands of the rock musicians; Thomas (NOAH,
HEART OF STONE), Reiner (IFOR, NOAH) and myself (CHURCH OF CONFIDENCE,
NOAH). After we adventurously rented a rehearsal room in a youth centre
in the Berlin district of Wedding and had started the rehearsals, the third
bag pipe player, Senn Pusterbalg, joined IN EXTREMO. Senn was raised in
the Northern part of Germany. He had lots of plans on his mind but our
cooperation seemed to be doomed in advance due to the local distance and
thus associated time stress. Despite this, we made more progress with the
work than expected, so that in spring 1997, parallel to the recordings
of our first acoustic CD "In Extremo", we were able to record the maxi
"Der Galgen" in a Berlin studio.
Through my work at the Berlin fanzine "Undersound" a few good contacts
to record companies had meanwhile accumulated, to whom we then, in complete
euphoria, immediately sent freshly cut copies. However, as with other bands
we either received no letter at all or a letter with the following content:
" ...unfortunately we cannot use the material..." (Brainstorm); " ... are
no longer interested in mainstream ... eastwest cannot be persuaded about
this music..." (Nucleus). Why should we experience things any differently
to other bands, particularly since few record companies are known for not
taking risks? And so we tried it again by means of constant live presence.
Parallel to my rather discouraging work, Einhorn was able to get a
few rock concerts on medieval markets and in former NOAH strongholds, in
contrast to the record companies at live events our maxi was met with open
In short: the first IN EXTREMO rock concert (in our silver cosmonaut
suits and still with long hair) took place on 29 March 1997 in front of
1000 people at the Leipzig town hall market. If that isn't a good omen...
Soon after, on 4 June 97, KNORKATOR singer, Stumpen, invited us to
a performance in his series of concerts in the Berlin "Franzklub", where
he liked to presented unusual bands and projects. Since Stumpen appeared
to be extremely nice and the "Franz" had always brough us good luck, we
agreed. Shortly after the concert we signed a publisher contract (we also
we had to first of all pay the usual "apprentice money"), the contact to
the booking agency "Extratours" came about, and Wolf- Rüdiger Mühlmann
from "Rock Hard" let himself get carried away with a euphorical record
review which was extremely helpful for us.
So after the first 8 rock concerts Senn Pusterbalg left our band to
set out for the more lucrative medieval fairs. Certainly he was not the
only coeval striving the prophecy of a non successful future with this
rock project. So that's the reason why quaintly enough you see only the
six of us on our first band photos and stickers. However, our new member
Boris was in the audience of the "Franzklub", who then started with us
in September 1997 - his yellow attire caused us to immediately rename him
"Yellow Pfeiffer". On the subject of artist names: apparently it was important
in the Middle Ages to have such a name, and thus cristalised after several
clangers "Der Morgenstern" (it was appropriate), "Thomas der Münzer"
(Thomas had managed the band finances for centuries) and "Die Lutter" (I
hope due to fact that his hair was still long then).
1997 ended with a sampler contribution to "Miroque II", the first Extratours
concert (among others with a festival in Freyburg, concerts in Leipzig,
Duderstadt and other places) as well as many, many positive articles in
the press, which apparently encouraged Doro from Vielklang to take a closer
look at this band playing in the "Moritzbastei" in Leipzig, (later she
said she hadn't in fact understood a word but seen the good will!!!). That's
how our contact to the Berlin label Vielklang came about.
1998 began with the thought that the rock project and the medieval band
could be better presented together: the varient to find completely different
name for one of these bands was for us somehow never on the cards, due
to the danger of confusing the followers of one or the other with different
concerts programmes. Thus it resulted in Reiner and I suddenly finding
ourselves armed with acoustic instruments back on the medieval stages of
the country. Thomas der Münzer left to take up to his former teacher
existence and thus the premiere of the "six vagrants, who found their happiness
in hell" began on 11 April 1998 in the Rabenstein Castle in Brandenburg.
Here at Easter our second acoustic CD, "Hameln", arrived for the first
time on the medieval record stall counters. However, Vielklang also demanded
their right and wanted to to finally put an end to the rock band. Thus
in spring 1998 - shortly before the beginning of the medieval market season
- we found ourselves back in the studio, to record our debut album "Weckt
die Toten!" in almost 14 days.
I don't think anyone knows anymore exactly how we managed to organise
all the appointments: 1998 was definitely the year with our largest amount
of most medieval markets and rock concerts, "Hameln" was produced, days
later the studio work began on "Weckt die Toten!", in summer the live cut
for "Die Verrückten sind in der Stadt" took place in Runneburg in
Thüringen (this album was already supposed to be in the shops in October
of the same year), a promo tour for the rock CD was started, there were
unrelentless press appointments and photo appointments in Tagebaurestlöchern
in the Lausitz, our first appointments abroad in Denmark were pending and
then we started our first (and apparently longest) tour at all.
The management, producers and booking agency were at this time at the
end of their nerves and in view of the crammed tour plans the band was
almost on its last legs. Saying "no" also has to be learnt. Of course "trivialities"
were also inserted into our crammed appointment plan such as the long overdue
move to a larger rehearsal room (and its conversion), the draft and the
building of a set, endless negotiations with record companies (after all
for new output new songs had to be created) ...and finally not to forget:
attention to the now non existent private life. Last of all, for reasons
of space and age we had to send our loved orange Ford Transit to a home
1999 was then supposed to be very different, this time we weren't so
pushed for time, and so we allowed ourselves three months to work on the
in the meantime accumulated song ideas and to write new songs and to finally
cut them on CD. Parallel to the recordings for the new CD, there were diverse
conversations with various record companies, nothing was actually clear
about with which company the record was going to be released. Many companies
showed interest in Vielklang and this of course included some who had ignored
us 1 1Z2 years ago.
However time was running out again, but - probably it is only a rumour
- there are supposedly bands who leave themselves time with all these things.
Unfortunately, Einhorn, with his famous fire accident on 28 March 99 in
Mannheim, put himself out of the running. At this point it looked as if
our tent was going to fall down completely and - if at all - we would have
to release the album later. Not only the idea to leave time for the recordings
in order to have a relaxed approach resulted in nothing, now there was
also the fear of stopping altogether!
At least we had learnt not to underestimate the power of fire and to
adopt a more professional approach to pyrotechnics, the use of which had
so far only got us into trouble! However Einhorn's will, diverse magic
creams and the many good wishes seemed to help somewhat and even after
a few weeks he was able to leave the hospital and we could continue to
produce the CD with him.
Shortly later Mercury got the acceptance of the bid and Doro Peters,
meanwhile our manager, friend, tour escort etc. (doesn't that means "dogsbody"?)
also formed her sublabel Megalux. After that we were also able to sign
with Metalblade as a record company for abroad and also IBD from Munich
for international booking, because we of course had the plan to gain a
The first large festival at which we were first able to play abroad
came along. On 23 May 99 we were off to the famous "Dynamo" festival in
Mierlo/ Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Despite the fact that MONSTERMAGNET
were performing on the main stage at the same time, we played to almost
10,000 people - the success there was almost too incredible to name, and
it intensified the anticipation of the imminent open air season. Alongside
all the hall concerts, club gigs and one or two medieval markets in summer
1999 we played, among others, in Oberwart/ Österreich at the "Mind
Over Matter" festival, at "With Full Force" and at "Highfield", at Biesenthal
for the "9th Harley Davidson Motorcycle Jamboree", at the "Festival auf
die Burg Wandersleben", at the "Altonaer Burgrock", at the "Wacken Open
Air" and at the "Zillo Open Air" in Hildesheim, before then at the end
of August it was onto Holland, Denmark and the Czech Republic for a few
That wasn't all for 99 by a long shot of course, at the end of September
we started the first part of the 99 autumn tour. Shortly before the beginning
of our tour, we found out about the sensational chart entry with "Verehrt
und Angespien" and let the champagnge flow in Doro's "Cafe Swing" to celebrate.
It didn't really sink in until later however!
Nonetheless, this tour was to change everything... Was it because everything
had been upward for far for IN EXTREMO? Was it because of our mammoth tours
and the connected personal stress? - we still don't know the answer. Thomas
der Münzer fell ill and as later transpired even very ill. We were
at first still hoping to be able to play the second part of our autumn
tour and the concluding "Dark Storm Tour" with THEATRE OF TRAGEDY and GOETHES
ERBEN with him, however, Thomas had to cancel. We didn't realize until
later that this was a final farewell.
So we searched for a "replacement ", at least until everything sorted
itself out. We found this after several attempts in vain, finally in Sebastian
(DIE VISION, 3 MINUTES HATE), who only had 3 weeks to acquaint himself
with our complete concert programme (and the accompanying stage wardrobe).
Respect! Since Sebastian had already had something to do with all IN EXTREMO
musicians in one way or another, the big "getting to know each other" phase
didn't apply and we were able to start immediately with the music - which
was necessary for he didn't evenknow what type of music we would be doing.
But perhaps it was exactly that which in the end made everything so exciting.
2000 started immediately with a lot of work. After a short period of
time off we began the preproduction for the single "Vollmond", which was
released in summer. At the beginning of February we were already back on
tour, this time over almost 6000 kilometres in a nightliner across northern
Europe (Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Denmark, Norway,
For the benefit concert for Christoph Zimmermann, which we played on
8 March in the Berliner Casino among others with INCHTABOKATABLES, DREADFUL
SHADOWS and the BLIND PASSENGERS, Thomas der Münzer visited us after
a long illness and informed us of his final farewell. For health reasons
for the time being he is retiring from music making to return to his former
On 11 March we were off again, this time by plane to the USA and finally
to Mexico. Just prior to that Sebastian was made an "extremist" and ceremoniously
received his new code name "St. Sebastian" (all in the same boat!). Before
it was on to play in warm Los Angeles, however, we played at a very extreme
festival in north USA - the March Metal Meltdown in Pennsauken/ New Jersey.
I only want to say this much: For the European concert visitor the organisation
of this event was very unusual. But perhaps that was why we managed to
get the audience's support so quickly.
If someone had predicted a few years ago that we would play in L.A.'s
famous Whisky a GoGo then we would probably have declared him/her of unsound
mind. The rock fraction of IN EXTREMO, at least, entered the sacred concert
halls with great reverence (although " concert hall" sounds very exaggerated,
the memory of the past makes everything bigger than it actually was in
reality). However, the feeling of being on the stage upon which JIM MORRISON
stood somehow doesn't leave you with cold shivers. The SXSW fair in Austin/
Texas, at which we were guests a few days later couldn't compare. The following
brief five days in Mexico eclipsed all events up to then. You can read
more about that in the tour reports.
Only just landed and unpacked our bags and we were back on the road
to Paris (directly into the sink of iniquity), where we gave our France
premiere in front of 600 concert visitors. 14 days later - short break
for air - IN EXTREMO then started the spring tour through Austria and Germany.
In June the long-awaited festival summer began. 2000 was really an excessively
good year and we able to play at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, at the
Southside Festival, Woodstage in Glauchau, Rock For People in Cesky Brod,
the Dour Festival in Belgium, the Taubertalfestival and Doomsday in Dresden,
among others. And at this point I would like to say that it's still very
exciting to see your favourites from the stage at their concerts. This
really action-packed summer we played with TITO & TARANTULA, FIELDS
OF THE NEPHILIM, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, HENRY ROLLINS,
SKUNK ANANSIE, NEBULA, NINA HAGEN, OOMPH, CLAWFINGER, THERAPY?, SISTERS
OF MERCY and the list goes on ...
The absolute highlight, however, was our performance at the largest
European Festival, the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. How often have we
been there in past years as visitors (and have jokingly talked of even
doing our own concert!) Unfortunately Roskilde 2000 also attracted attention
this year because of the tragic accident at the PEARL JAM concert, we had
the ungrateful task of having to appear two hours later. Those who have
been to Roskilde know that precisely this festival is actually one of the
best organised rock festivals around... Let's hope for the organisers that
it continues nonetheless and that, above all, nothing like that is ever
repeated anywhere else ever again.
We ended the summer with two medieval markets in Hamburg and Stadthagen
as well as a festival on the Kufstein fortress, together with SCHANDMAUL,
DER LETZTEN INSTANZ and HAGGARD.
2000 was to end with lots of real work, however, because the last three
months were used to prepare IN EXTREMO's 3rd rock CD. After our obligatory
Christmas tour (this year with SUBSTYLE again) we planned to block the
Vielklang Studio for a long time again at the beginning of 2001. And this
time we would take the time that we needed ...
After the first 3 studio months in 2001 the focus was on already on
clearing our heads a bit and taking some distance, on a short tour this
time with SCHOCK as support. Afterwards we could continue work on the CD
with a good conscience.
At the end of April 2001 we were invited by the INCHTABOKATABLES as
guests to their Berlin concert in the Columbiahalle, at the end of May
we did an usually short spring tour - because time started to run out again!
So we had to keep a low profile concert wise this summer, but of course
"relaxation" was not the right word. On the contrary, in the end we had
the feeling we were rather burnt out but we were also certain to be at
the start of a good CD.
Among the few concert high points of summer 01, the WGT in Leipzig,
the Mind Over Matter festival in Wiesen/ Austria (with MOONSPELL, BIOHAZARD
and SOULFLY), the Ulm Zeltfestival as well as Woodstage in Glauchau above
all remain fond memories. And not to forget our meanwhile traditional acoustic
concert at the Wäscherschloss and the medieval market at the Runneburg
in Weißensee. This year for the first time we have electrified the
acoustic variant somewhat. It looks as if we are having a lot of fun again
and are also planning to give the acoustic part some more attention again
in the future. You'll have to wait and see.
On 3.9.01 our new CD "Sünder ohne Zügel" was finally out in
record shops. It is like a birth every time: you don't really want to be
there, but the curiosity to know if all the work was really worth it wins
in the end. Number 10 in the charts exceeded our expectations! Thank you
to you all!