Review: In Extremo

In Extremo
“Sunder Ohne Zugel”
(Metal Blade)

Do I like In Extremo?  You bet.  Is it because I might have a little thing for big German men in skirts?  You bet your skirt-clad bottom!  In Extremo play folk metal, and by folk metal I mean it’s heavy plodding, sometimes fast paced, rock music incorporating the bagpipe, the lute and other instruments associated with the music of the old country.  Their closest living musical brethren include their fellow Germans, Subway to Sally and their British mates, Skyclad.  Unlike Skyclad, but like Subway to Sally, In Extremo’s lyrics are all sung in their native German tongue.  This is sometimes the kiss of abysmal album sales in the grand festive capitalist market of the United States of America, but the language barrier isn’t unbreakable as was proven several years back by that one industrial German band who had a radio hit in America by repeating the phrase “Du, du habst mich” ad infinitum over a slightly rearranged Ministry riff thereby proving cultural memory is short-sighted and unjust.  So it isn’t necessarily the language barrier that’ll keep In Extremo off KROQ of shit stations in the U.S.A. but their ability to write better songs than most other radio tripe, for to put this metal band on the air would make a mockery of the sadness passing for music on the airwaves.  The solid male vocals are sung, countering the trend of shouting in feigned anger, and a diversity of instruments creates an aural tapestry far superior to the standard monoculture of bass, drums and guitar dominating the current metal sound.  And they wear skirts.