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Saltatio Mortis - Das Schwarze Einmaleins Award winner

Saltatio Mortis
Das Schwarze Einmaleins
by Stephanie Hensley at 22 August 2013, 4:34 PM

Fans of Metal with a medieval flair, are you ever in for something special. Have you ever listened to a CD by an artist you are unfamiliar with and been totally blown away by what you heard? That’s exactly what happened to me when listening to this jewel by SALTATIO MORTIS. There are so many striking aspects to this album; it’s actually difficult to know where to begin. One of many things I was impressed by was how multi-faceted each and every member of this band seems to be. There are 13 tracks on “Das Schwarze Einmaleins” and each of them showcases how these eight individuals are immensely talented, and not only willing to expand their limits but to do it with such skill. From the guitars, drums, and all the other various instruments changing from track to track, to even the vocals reaching new heights and emotions, this really is a wonderfully varied album. Each track is so different than the others, yet it still holds their core sound, what makes them unique.

Medieval metal band SALTATIO MORTIS formed just after the turn of the new millennium. Their debut album, “Tavernakel” was released in 2001 and was well received, perhaps due to the band’s not being too tied to a historical sound, yet wanting to add a more modern sound as well to form a different style. Not letting the grass grow under their feet, a second full length album titled “Das Zweite Gesicht” was released the following year on Napalm Records. This album would grant SALTATIO MORTIS their first hit with “Dunkler Engel”.

With a growing base of fans, they began releasing new albums in rapid succession. 2003 saw the emergence of “Heptessenz”, a more acoustic album. “Erwachen” was released in 2004, showing an evolving band leaning more toward the Rock aspects in their music. In 2005 an even heavier metalized sound would be heard on “Des Konings Henker”. Fans would have a long wait, well it might have seemed like it, as it wasn’t for two more years new music would be heard, on an album titled “Aus Der Asche”. After some lineup changes, in 2009 a renewed SALTATIO MORTIS offered “Wer Wind Sat” which included guest appearances by Michael Popp (QNTAL, ESTAMPIE) and Doro Pesch. Continuing to rise, and to grow as a band, their 2011 “Strum Aufs Paradies” was well received and loved by their ever growing fan base.

As 2013 passed the mid mark, once again they have come together to forge their names in the world of medieval Metal, this time with “Das Schwarze Einmaleins”. Having never heard of the band, or any of their prior releases, I had no idea what to expect. Was I ever in for a pleasant surprise. Perhaps it should be noted that the majority of the songs on this CD are sung in German, save for “My Bonnie Mary”, which is in English. Don’t let that deter you though, or you will be missing out on something spectacular. Also, this is not RAMMSTEIN, really the only similarity I can think of the two bands is the lyrics in mostly German. Their music dances a line between catchy and completely addictive. The usage of old medieval instruments combined with newer metal instruments and vocals by Alea Der Bescheidene, truly is something to behold.

Considering each track on this was so amazing, I found it impossible to pick favorites. The trip back in time begins with “Früher War Alles Besser”, which after a short intro really takes off. Next up is the completely addictive “Wachstum Uber Alles” with its catchy melody. The pipes, the drums, the guitars, and the charismatic vocals make this one a definite stand out. Another side of SALTATIO MORTIS is heard in the tune “Krieg Kennt Keine Sieger”. It’s beautiful guitar work and vocals kick in to pack a punch. Picking up the pace once more, “Der Kuss” is another catchy track to get you headbanging and singing along.

“My Bonnie Mary” follows, the only track in English, and filled with beautiful emotion and tempo changes. Sounding almost like a lullaby from the dark ages, “Der Sandmann” is really spectacular with its usage of woeful bagpipes and the vocal changes here are an unexpected treat. Picking the pace back up, the metal returns with “Satans Fall”, which includes an excellent guitar solo. Another upbeat, metalized track, “Idol” is next, with perhaps my favorite tune where the bagpipes are concerned. Containing some surprising effects, the anthem “IX” was another stand out track for me as was the next one, “Galgenballade” Somewhat reminiscent of ELUVEITIE lurking somewhere beneath that great melody, “Galgenballade” had some unexpected vocal and all around music changes in comparison to the other tracks. Expanding their horizons even more with “Abrakadabra”, adds even more surprising touches to their sound before it blazes off at a feverish pace. Rounding off this masterpiece are “Nur Ein Traum” and finally “Randnotiz”, which with its excellent addition of piano and a vocal duet that only dreams are made of, it will leave you wanting for more.

Fans of IN EXTREMO, SUBWAY TO SALLY, and maybe even ELEVEITIE and ALESTORM might want to give SALTATIO MORTIS a listen. Current fans are in for the best work of SALTATIO MORTIS to date, and will not be disappointed.  As I sat and really listened to “Das Schwarze Einmaleins”, I posed the question to myself, what if anything is missing from this? Should anything be added or changed? The answer; I wouldn’t change a thing. These guys have really outdone themselves with “Das Schwarze Einmaleins”.

5 Star Rating

1. Früher War Alles Besser
2. Wachstum Uber Alles
3. Krieg Kennt Keine Sieger
4. Der Kuss
5. My Bonnie Mary
6. Der Sandmann
7. Satans Fall
8. Idol
9. IX
10. Galgenballade
11. Abrakadabra
12. Nur Ein Traum
13. Randnotiz
Alea Der Bescheidene – Vocals / Bagpipes / Didgeridoo / Guitar  / Shawms
Falk Irmenfried Von Hasen-Mümmelstein – Bagpipes / Vocals / Shawms / Hurdy Gurdy
Luzi Das L – Bagpipes
Bruder Frank  – Bass / Electric Upright Chapman Stick / Guitar
El Silbador – Bagpipes / Shawms / Smallpipes / Uillean pipes / Other Pipes
Till Promill  – Guitar
Jean Méchant, Genannt Der Tambour  – Drums / Piano / Guitar / Vocals
Lasterbalk Der Lästerliche  – Drums / Davul / Other Percussion
Record Label: Napalm Records


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