Exactly a year on from the release of Memento Mori (Napalm Records), German medieval folk metallers Feuerschwanz return with a collection of previously recorded cover versions. Releasing material lifted from bonus discs might seem a little superfluous to anyone without a tendency towards rampant completism but Todsünden is filled with surprising choices and no lack of creativity.
That said, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ by Swedish pop icons ABBA is a fairly underwhelming start to proceedings. Not due to the band’s own unique (and obviously excellent) interpretation but because it’s a song which has been more than well covered by a significant number of other acts already. This is followed by a classy take on Amon Amarth‘s ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’, although the distinctly non-death metal vocals are likely to discourage some fans of the original.
Bloodhound Gang‘s 1999 hit ‘The Bad Touch’ doesn’t really translate but electropunk outfit Deichkind‘s ‘Limit’, and ‘Der Graf’ by Die Ärzte are nothing less than superb. Based on Anthony Burgess‘s Dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, ‘Hier kommt Alex’ by German punk act Die Toten Hosen is another great choice and one of the record’s obvious highlights.
Before everyone reaches for the skip button, Ed Sheeran‘s ‘I See Fire’ was originally written for Peter Jackson‘s second Hobbit movie The Desolation of Smaug. A simple folk song based on characters written by JRR Tolkien lends itself perfectly to a band like Feuerschwanz and the Germans (unlike their national football team of late) don’t disappoint.
It’s unusual to hear a cover of a song by Ghost when it’s usually the Satanic Swedish retro-rockers doing the covering themselves, but by keeping things simple this version of ‘Square Hammer’ bangs hard. Featuring guest appearances from Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum), Angus McSix (aka former Gloryhammer frontman Thomas Winkler) and German Medieval metallers Saltatio Mortis, the impressive blast of ‘Warriors of the World United’ by Manowar sounds exactly as you’d expect it to, despite a noticeable lack of baby oil and plastic swords.
‘Dragostea Din Tei’ by O-Zone is as much fun as the Moldovan Eurodance track it’s copying while ‘Amen & Attack’ by Powerwolf and ‘Gott Mit Uns’ by Sabaton just sound like a band having a good time. Transforming the precise industrial battery of Rammstein into folk metal is more of a challenge but an evocative interpretation of ‘Engel’ proves to be another winner. ‘Ding’ by German hip-hop reggae act Seeed improves on the original in every way, ‘Blinding Lights’ by The Weeknd probably shouldn’t work but absolutely does and the album finishes with a slightly melancholic take on Europe‘s 1986 pop rock classic ‘The Final Countdown’.
The odd swing and a miss is always as expected with releases like this but thankfully they are few and far between here, making for a fun little stopgap release.
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7 / 10