I know that some of my readers do enjoy the non-mainstream variety of metal music that all those virtually unknown European bands fortunately still offer in spades. Most of those musicians are “normal” people, they have day jobs, families to feed and whatever, and yet they manage to find time to write, record and release albums that could’ve become classics, if only there were more justice in the world.
I have mentioned Doro and Blind Guardian on this blog, and if you had never heard of them before, imagine that: those are, like, HUGE, legendary names in the world of European metal.
Today I will tell you about a band which is not so well-known even by these standards. But it’s a band I have long loved to pieces.
They are from Austria, and here is their page on the Encyclopaedia Metallum which should hopefully guide you towards places to get their music, if you find you like it enough.
Their style is hard to describe – it’s symphonic in the sense of harmonies being very important to their compositions, layered keyboards being omnipresent in the arrangements; guitar-wise and rhythm-section-wise, it’s at the same time rather dry and severe, combining elements of black, death and power metal; and their abundant vocal melodies and harmonies are influenced by a lot of genres, classical music in particular.
Here is a track off their latest offering “Niebelung” (which was released in 2009 – yeah that was quite a few years ago, but as I already said, these are real people with real lives, not some corporation-sponsored celebrities).
Check the music out and read on!
I have mentioned Amaranthe before – they are a dance/MDM band from Scandinavia (yeah that’s dance music and melodic death metal they mix) and they’re getting somewhat big, so if you took the time to google, you may have figured out that Amaranthe’s selling point is that they have three singers: two “clean” ones – a guy and a lady – and a growler/screamer. Tell you what, Siegfried did that long before Amaranthe was even conceived.
And while Amaranthe’s male singer, Jake, is definitely the band’s weakest link (and it makes me feel sorry that the one who left was Andy and not him), the same cannot be said about Siegfried whose “clean” male vocalist, Werner Bialek, is one of those amazing voices not that many people ever get to hear.
Werner has been in two other bands, one of which, Ictus Mortis, still has a few songs up on Myspace (unfortunately it’s a demo and apparently not for sale anywhere). He’s got that beautiful and powerful voice that can handle both operatic parts and impressive growls. Until someone forces Hansi Kürsch to sing in German, this is as close as we get.
And – yes. Werner’s Ictus Mortis band, same as Siegfried, is fairly unique in the sense that the lyrics are all in German. Which is a language that suits metal best, in my not-so-humble opinion.
Siegfried’s two remaining singers are damn capable as well, to put it mildly. Bruder Cle, the mastermind behind the band’s clever and poetic lyrics, does those harsch vocals quite well (and in quite a unique style). And when it comes to Sandra Schleret… She has to be heard to be believed. Let me just say that she’s been a hero of mine for over fifteen years. She’s also a cancer survivor, like Chuck Billy of Testament.
Because the band is so low under the radar, not every song will be on youtube. What I did find, though, was that you can stream their full second album off Grooveshark.
Eisenwinter – all songs have something to offer, but if you want something I find particularly mindblowing, try ‘Am Isenstein’ for a taste of Sandra Schleret’s abilities, or ‘Du und Ich‘ for a mesmerising interplay between her and Werner.