In Extremo

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In Extremo
In extremo das letzte einhorn.jpg
Das letzte Einhorn (singer)
Background information
OriginBerlin, Germany
GenresMittelalter-Rock
Metal
Years active1995 — present
LabelsVielklang Musikproduktion
Metal Blade Records
Universal Music
WebsiteOfficial website
MembersDas letzte Einhorn (Michael Robert Rhein)
Der Lange (Sebastian Oliver Lange)
Die Lutter (Kay Lutter)
Der Morgenstern (Reiner Morgenstern)
Dr. Pymonte (André Strugala)
Flex der Biegsame (Marco Ernst-Felix Zorzytzky)
Yellow Pfeiffer (Boris Pfeiffer)
Past membersDie rote Füchsin (Conny Fuchs; 1995-1996)
Thomas der Münzer (Thomas Mund; 1995-1999)
Sen Pusterbalg (1995-1997)

"In Extremo" (Latin:"at the end" or "in the extreme") is a German folk metal band originating from Berlin. The band's musical style combines metal with medieval traditional songs, blending the sound of the standard rock/metal instruments with historical instruments (such as the bagpipes, harp, hurdy-gurdy and shawm). Versions of well-known traditional/medieval ballads make up the main part of their repertoire, but increasingly over the years, the band also writes their own material. Their own material is written in German, whilst the traditional songs are in a variety of languages, including (but not limited to) Spanish, English, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, French, Hebrew, Latin and Middle German.

Band History

In Extremo (abbreviated InEx, or just IX) got its beginning as two projects: a nameless purely medieval band, and a rock band. They became known at that time through frequent appearances at medieval market meetings, at which they performed their acoustic pieces. During the recording for the 1995 season, Michael Rhein (alias Das Letzte Einhorn, engl. "The Last Unicorn") found the project name "In Extremo", Latin for "In The End".

The initial members of the medieval band were Das letzte Einhorn, Flex Der Biegsame (engl. "Flex The Flexable"), Conny Fuchs (who left the band before the official release date, due to her pregnancy by Dr. Pymonte) and Sen Pusterbalg (replaced shortly after the official release by Yellow Pfeiffer, engl. "Yellow Piper"). The rock band originally consisted of Thomas Der Münzer, Der Morgenstern (engl. "The Morning Star"), and Die Lutter.

The climbing number of visitors, printing of the disk labels at the time, and the popular interest brought In Extremo in 1995 to attempt to start a band combining bagpipes with rock guitars. Therefore it became a rock group with modern instruments like the drum set, electric bass and guitar integrated with the acoustic elements.

In August 1996, they began work on the first In Extremo album, which already contained two tracks of the new rock project. Because the album had no official name, it became known as "In Extremo Gold" because of the golden covers. In February 1997, like the single "Der Galgen", it quickly sold out in Medieval markets.

In Extremo played separately as a medieval and a rock band, until on March 29 1997, when they played their first live rock concert. Since that time, they have given this date as their date of establishment. The two projects were officially merged on January 11, 1998. April 1998 saw the first "high occupancy" In Extremo concert in the Rabenstein castle in Brandenburg.

Over the years, their music became increasingly heavier, while at the same time becoming increasingly commercially successful. The classical instruments, however - the bagpipes, shawms, and lutes - still play a large role. The band is likewise known for using pyrotechnics in their concerts.

Style

The lyrics come from church writings (Merseburger Zaubersprüche, Wessebronner Gebet), Benedictine writings (Raue See), or from unknown people taken over (Tannhuser, Poc Vecem). Thus, the fact that they use not only old instruments, but also languages, strengthened their reputation as a medieval rock band. An equally important source of text is the medieval collection of texts, the Carmina Burana. The most frequently used text, however, from the French poet François Villon.

Instruments

Besides the electric guitar, bass, and drum set, In Extremo defines itself by unconventional (for a rock band) instruments mainly of medieval origin. They include the hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, shawm, nyckelharpa, harp, cittern, tromba marina, hammered dulcimer, and Klangbaum.

The bagpipes were partially made by Dr. Pymonte, but are also partially built by a well-known pipe builder. Also built is a frame drum completely covered in zebra skin, called "Das Pferd". Most of the other instruments are only made by a few other instrument builders.

Lyrics

Some lyrics are not written by the band, but come - like the instruments - from medieval and early modern Europe (8-15th century). Thus the lyrics are written in completely different languages, that are understandably not fully mastered by the band members. The languages include Icelandic, Old Swedish, Old French, Middle High German, Old High German, and Latin and many more. The most well-known author of their texts is the French poet François Villon (Rotes Haar, engl. Red Hair, and Erdbeermund, engl. Strawberry Mouth, translated into German by Paul Zech). However, poems from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Der Rattenfänger, engl. The Ratcatcher) and Ludwig Uhland (Des Sängers Fluch, engl. The Singer's Curse - which In Extremo changed to be called Spielmannsfluch, engl. Minstrel's Curse). On the album Mein Rasend Herz, In Extremo wrote lyrics to the song Liam first in German, which were then translated into Gaelic by Rea Garvey, also the guest singer on the song.

Appearances

Their first large appearance was in the first part of the computer game Gothic. The digger in the old storehouse would give the acoustic version of the song "Herr Mannelig" from the album Verehrt Und Angespien to the one who amused him best.

With their success, the music programs also began to pay attention to In Extremo. They were invited on the television program Viva Interactive, where they gave a fifteen minute call-and-response and played two songs. They rejected at that time an invitation to Top of the Pops to play "Küss Mich" (Engl. "Kiss Me"), because it was, according to Das Letzte Einhorn, not their environment. Nevertheless, they did accept a further invitation to TotP in 2005 and played "Nur Ihr Allein".

At the same time, their audience grew with live appearances, from marketplaces to festivals like Rock Am Ring, the Taubertal Festival, and the Nova Rock in Austria. Their largest public appearance however, had In Extremo opening for the farewell tour of Böhse Onkelz in June 2005, with about 150,000 spectators.

In Extremo last participated on February 9, 2006 in the Bundesvision Song Contest of Stefan Raab for the Free State of Thuringia; "Das Letzte Einhorn" was born in Dingelstädt (Eichsfeld), and grew up in Leinefelde. Both cities lie in North Thuringia. The group occupied the third spot with "Liam (German)". Before, they had introduced themselves on February 2 on the TV show TV Total.

In Extremo played further in 2006 at the Wacken Open Air, as well as on the M'era Luna Festival in Hildesheim. At the end of 2006 they played in the framework their "10 Year Anniversary Tour" in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Success

The first In Extremo album that excited attention was "Verehrt Und Angespien". It achieved a sensational at the time 11th place in the German album charts. The subsequent album, "Sünder Ohne Zügel", achieved 10th place.

The band had much success with the album "7"; it came in the German charts in 3rd place. The video of the single "Küss Mich" was frequently shown on German music television. The singles could achieve high chart placement.

The eighth album "Mein Rasend Herz" achieved third place on the album charts in 2005. Three singles were published from this album: "Nur Ihr Allein" on May 17, 2005, "Horizont" on September 12, 2005, and "Liam (German)" on February 3, 2006. On February 10, 2006, the second live CD/DVD, "Raue Spree", was published, coming in at 4th place on the German charts. In addition, the CD "7" and the DVD "Raue Spree" achieved gold status at the beginning of 2007.

Discography

Albums

  • 1997 In Extremo Gold
  • 1998 Hameln (engl.: "Hamelin")
  • 1998 Weckt die Toten! (engl.: "Wake the Dead")
  • 1998 Die Verrückten sind in der Stadt (engl.: "The Madmen are in the Town")
  • 1999 Verehrt und Angespien (engl.: "Worshiped and Spat At")
  • 2001 Sünder ohne Zügel (engl.: "Sinners Without Restraint")
  • 2002 In Extremo - Live
  • 2003 Sieben (engl.: "seven")
  • 2005 Mein Rasend Herz (engl.: "My Racing Heart")
  • 2006 Raue Spree (engl.: "rough Spree", play on "raue See" engl. "rough sea")
  • 2006 Die Goldene 2006 (engl.: "the golden one") (Reedition)
  • 2006 Hameln 2006 (Reedition)
  • 2006 Kein Blick Zurück (engl.: "No Looking Back")

Singles

  • 1996: Ai vis lo lop (Cassette)
  • 1997: In Extremo (Der Galgen)
  • 1998: Ai Vis Lo Lop Vocal-Remix
  • 1999: This Corrosion (Promo Maxi CD)
  • 1999: Merseburger Zaubersprüche (engl: Merseburg Incantations) (Promo Maxi CD)
  • 2000: Vollmond (engl: Full Moon)
  • 2001: Unter dem Meer (engl: Below the Sea) (Promo Maxi CD)
  • 2001: Wind (Promo Maxi CD)
  • 2003: Küss Mich (engl: Kiss Me)
  • 2003: Erdbeermund (engl: Strawberry Mouth)
  • 2005: Nur Ihr Allein (engl: Only You Alone) - released in three versions
  • 2005: Horizont (engl: Horizon)
  • 2006: Liam (German version)

DVD

  • 2002 In Extremo - Live
  • 2006 Raue Spree 2005

External links