Kind of a side project of members of Corvus Corax (I think), these German ‘medieval rock’ guys whose name translates as summat like ‘dancing feet’ and the album as ‘Donkey Fair’ (but I could be making an ass of myself with that) begin with the most deranged intro since the last Trollfest album. All other similarities halt right there, though. There is no chaos to the sounds here; this is actually very serious sounding stuff that varies between slower songs with solemn vocals and mid-tempo stuff that I guess is supposed to inspire those dancing feet.
The sound itself is based heavily on those shrill metallic (not in a \m/ way) tones which I associate with medieval wind instruments, pipe drone, fiddle and the percussive sound that often comes from hand held drums though I guess at a full modern kit here. Vocals are clean of course, male and female as required and entirely in German. It all slots together neatly and there is a pretty good, sharp production here. Plus they must be doing something popular at least in Germany judging by a) the number of similar bands eminating from that region and b) by the popularity of their Facebook page. And..?
The first time I really sat down and listened to things like this was when Dead Can Dance released the wonderful Aion. With the best will in the world I just get no similar buzz from this at all. Everything is here and performed with a deft precision and as I said the production picks out the instruments nicely but beyond admiration for the musicians I am left unmoved. It’s as though I have wandered into a carnival and found a couple of thousand people swaying gently in unison to a sound I never quite hear. Even taking into account the mild variation in tempo up and down the album, there is such a uniformity of the sound described above here that it generally all drifts into one long piece and like being trapped at the back of the crowd it all passes me by. It’s nice. It’s OK. But I find this bereft of too much character and that spark of life. As I always do I have tried, I have listened repeatedly but it drains me more than it gives.
Sorry but no, not for me. No jesters, no peddlers, no melancholy men in their cups, no hell and damnation priests and saucy wenches. Just sadly the distant parade passing me by and 35,000 facebooks in the crowd in front disagree.