Tanzwut are an interesting bunch. Originally formed as a side project of the grandiose medieval metal themed Corvus Corax, the “Dancing Rage” (direct translation) they have gone through a few shifts in musical style before reaching this point – pounding rhythms, solid riffs and bagpipes. Sounds fun enough right? Oh yeah, they sing everything in German too, which will make this interesting as my knowledge of the German language is world war II film dialogue and the two essential phrases: “Where is the bar?” and “Two pints please!”.
“Brot und Spiele” opens the album with a very dramatic, epic sounding Roman feel to it – symphonic horns, marching noises and some moody words before it all changes. The pounding guitar riff accompanied by the odd drone of the bagpipes gets you right away and once the vocals come in, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was Rammstein playing polka music. It’s got a very odd and upbeat feel to it, but I could be totally wrong as the lyrics might be depressing and dark… But it all sounds so fun! It keeps on with the simple and effective riff structure and the bagpipes adding some colour to the choruses and it works well enough. “Brüder im Geiste” has a power metal feel to it. Its mid-tempo guitars, bagpipes and synths providing melody and solid rhythm section work which locks it all down is a great foundation for the song. The vocal melody is handled well, low and moody in the verse and more uplifting in the big moment choruses and it works really well! “Frietag der 13” is the title track. It opens up with a moody Rammstein-like feel which remains for the song – effects laden guitars and dark pounding bass, whispered and low registered vocals in the verse which add a sense of unease to the song and the faint drone of the bagpipes in the verses just tops it off. It kicks up for the chorus and you would be forgiven for thinking this was actually Rammstein if you couldn’t tell the difference.
“Spielzeugland” has that creepy kids music-box melody to introduce it before the vocals which sound rather jovial come in over what seems to be an upbeat sounding feel. When the rest of the band kicks in, it sounds a little darker but as it rolls on, it’s still got that fun feel to it. By the time the second verse comes in, it’s more fun sounding and extremely hard to resist smiling at as you listen. “Die Zeit heilt alle Wunden” has a more sombre feel to it with the bagpipes and military styled drums in the intro. The vocals come across as emotional and reflective and the slow and steady pace of the song helps re-enforce this. In all, it’s a nice change compared to the fun side of the band, and the lead section from the bagpipes before the final part of the song works great. “Ohne Sunde” has a very folky feel to it. The bouncy intro with the upbeat drums and bright sounding bagpipes over the steady rhythm work with the humorous sounding vocals brings back the fun factor of the album and even though it’s similar to previous tracks in terms of delivery, it works well. “Der Zeitdieb” has a good headbanging groove to it. The slightly fuzzed guitars go to work over a pulsing feel drumbeat in the verses, whilst in the chorus it speeds up a little without getting too fast or disrupting the feel of the song and the bagpipes provide the melody where needed to give it the extra kick it needs. “Niemals mehr” starts off rather dark with a haunting clean section and female choir styled backing vocals. The main vocals keep this moody feeling and when it all kicks in, it keeps the slow feel. The droning bagpipes could easily be replaced by a lead guitar line, but it’d lose a little of the haunting edge it has. The song stays at this slow pace and gets a little louder and more intense as it goes on and it does come off good, but it has a familiar feeling to it in terms of the sound and style.
“Des Teufels Braut” is a more upbeat sounding track with a real metal styled groove behind it. The bass is really heavy in this track and it drives the song on whilst the chugging guitars and subtle lead fills build up the atmosphere for the chorus sections where the big vocals and bagpipes really give it that big moment feel. This could be a fantastic track in the live setting! “Vorbei Ist Vorbei” comes out in a different manner. The folky feel intro courtesy of the bagpipes and drums gives way to more pounding bass and generic but classic metal riffing which follows the alternating ‘stabbed chord, mutted chord’ chug feel (you’ll know it when you hear it). Its slightly slower than the previous track, but by now in the album its getting easy to predict the way the songs will be structured so it does sound very familiar. “Spiegelkabinett” has a more moody intro to it which is heavy on the samples and synths. It starts to build up to something as the drums and bagpipes lead the song in, followed by the bass and then a chugging guitar which rises in volume before it kicks into an up-tempo, solid sounding metal song. It’s got a great groove to it and in the choruses it really comes to life and sounds more upbeat.
“Bis der morgen growt” is fast paced from the start. The twisting sounding bagpipes could easily be a lead guitar line and the pounding rhythm and heavy chugging works well. The song continues in this fast, pushing groove before it has a ‘break’ where it comes back into the chorus like sound with real venom to give it a big ending. Closing the album is “Wenn wir untergehen”. Going back to the haunting sound style intro courtesy of the bagpipes, it’s a slow paced track which has a crushing groove behind it when it picks up. Its dramatic sounding in parts with real powerful and dynamic vocal delivery and in all its a good way to close the album.
“Frietag der 13” on the whole is a fun but predictable album. It’s definitely a niche sound, so it won’t appeal to most, but it is worth a listen. There are some real fun moments on this one but the similarity of so many songs does mean you will lose track of where you are up to at times.