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Feuerschwanz – Memento Mori Award winner

Feuerschwanz
Memento Mori
by Gary Hernandez at 14 February 2022, 10:29 AM

I have an off and on-again love affair with Folk/Viking Metal. Right now, it’s on—which is perfect timing because FEUERSCHWANZ just dropped their tenth full-length album, “Memento Mori” (trans: remember you must die). The album comes in several formats, but I recommend the three-disc version which includes 11 original tracks, seven magnificent covers, and instrumental versions of the 11 disc-one tracks—you know for background music for your next cosplay gathering or DnD game. Total run time for all three discs is about 107 minutes. I’ll say right now that I love this album . . . and not because of any incredible innovations (this is Folk Metal after all) or because of what the albums says to my soul on some cosmic level—this is just a fun album by a highly proficient band. The entire album sounds like they had a total blast recording it. I hate to be cliché or trite, but it sounds like a celebration. (I did warn you about love affair).

My biggest criticism of FEUERSCHWANZ (which translates to firetail, btw) is the fact that it is impossible to pronounce correctly if you try to read it. My eyes see the collision of all those e’s with the u and then the frickin’ r right in the middle and my mind just says “no.” On the other hand, there is only one FEUERSCHWANZ in Metal Archives. Standalone, unique . . . but unpronounceable—at least for Americans.

FEUERSCHWANZ includes six current members, which is actually less than the number of past members, so, yeah, high turnover—but then again we’re talking a 20-year run, so understood. Two members play non-traditional instruments (from a Metal perspective) including the violin, flute, and hurdy gurdy. I know this isn’t shocking for a Folk Metal band, but can you imagine the conversation:

“What do you do?”

“I’m a musician in metal band.”

“Cool, what do you play.”

“The hurdy gurdy.”

Love it.

Anyway, back to the album. Tracks on disc one all stay within the Epic Folk range. There is something about the tempo or cadence that makes you want to drink a lot of beer from really large steins and shout, “hell yeah.” (There is a reason that Viking Metal resonates so well with metalheads in Texas.) One of things I appreciate about FEUERSCHWANZ is they never veer into that pirate, sing-song inflection which seems to have afflicted a large swarth of Folk Metal bands as of late. All eleven tracks on disk one are excellent. Disc two comprises seven covers—some are expected (e.g., “Twilight of the Thunder God”Amon Amarth); some are totally unexpected (e.g., “The Bad Touch”THE BLOODHOUND GANG); some are like ‘why not?’ (“Square Hammer”GHOST). Personally, I enjoyed them all. Disc three, the instrumentals, is kind of like a freebie. I mean, I don’t think it takes a lot to strip out the vocals from an engineering standpoint and if you liked the original versions, you’ll also appreciate the instrumentals. I don’t think they surface any hidden performances, but I’ll still take them.

I guess by now you know my verdict for this album. This is a straight up 10/10. I mean how can you not love FEUERSCHWANZ? And their tenth album, and 20 years, and 29 tracks? Okay, 11 are instrumentals, but still. Buy “Memento Mori” today, splurge for the deluxe version, and have yourself a good time. It’s been a tough couple of years. You deserve it.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc 1
1.         Memento Mori
2.         Untot im Drachenboot
3.         Ultima Nocte
4.         Rausch der Barbarei
5.         Krampus
6.         Feuer & Schwert
7.         Das Herz eines Drachen
8.         Rohirrim
9.         Am Galgen
10.       Hannibal
11.       Skaldenmet

Disc 2
1.         Blinding Lights (The Weeknd cover)
2.         Warriors of the World United (Manowar cover)
3.         Twilight of the Thunder God (Amon Amarth cover)
4.         The Bad Touch (Bloodhound Gang cover)
5.         Dragostea Din Tei (O-Zone cover)
6.         Square Hammer (Ghost cover)
7.         Der Graf (Die Ärzte cover)

Disc 3
1.         Memento Mori (instrumental)
2.         Untot im Drachenboot (instrumental)
3.         Ultima Nocte (instrumental)
4.         Rausch der Barbarei (instrumental)
5.         Krampus (instrumental)
6.         Feuer & Schwert (instrumental)
7.         Das Herz eines Drachen (instrumental)
8.         Rohirrim (instrumental)
9.         Am Galgen (instrumental)
10.       Hannibal (instrumental)
11.       Skaldenmet (instrumental)
Lineup:
Hauptmann Feuerschwanz – Vocals, guitars (acoustic)
Johanna von der Vögelweide – Violin, hurdy gurdy
Prinz R. Hodenherz III – Flute, bagpipes, vocals
Hans der Aufrechte – Guitars
Jarne Hodinsson – Bass
Rollo H. Schönhaar – Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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Edited 27 November 2022
 

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