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inex2011In Extremo - Sissikingkong Dortmund - 24th January 2011

It's always nice to be able to have a sneak preview of new work from an excellent band. So it was a pleasure to be able to attend one of four exclusive listening sessions held by top Medieval rock band IN EXTREMO to introduce their new work 'Sterneneisen' to the music press. The venue was the cellar bar in a small and intimate restaurant in Dortmund which rejoices in the name of Sissikingkong. It was the perfect venue for something like this, being vaguely reminiscent of Liverpool's famous Cavern, birthplace of the Beatles and very rock 'n roll. With a free bar and buffet the band had pulled out all the stops to make us all feel welcome and by the time lead singer Micha Rhein introduced the presentation we were all full of anticipation.

There was a large screen displaying the DVD excerpts which will be available with the deluxe edition of the CD, which consisted of highlights from their fabulous 15 year jubilee concerts which were held earlier this year in Erfurt (we reported…). I was present there and it's fair to say that the DVD work really captures the energy, enthusiasm and sheer pleasure that the band took in those performances, so it's great that those inex_tourplakat2011will be available with the new CD. With regard to the CD itself, whilst it's very clearly got the traditional IN EXTREMO sound to it, this CD demonstrates great growth as a band and a real stretching of the creative envelope. No two tracks even vaguely resemble each other, and this diversity is a great strength in what is truly a fantastic new work. Highlights for me undoubtedly are 'Viva la Vida' and the title song 'Sterneneisen' (I dare you not to be humming that for weeks after you first hear it) as well as a return to the more traditional with the utterly beautiful 'Zaubersprüche no 7'.

As a maiden outing for their new drummer Specky D, it really gives him the chance to shine in his own right and add his own particular slightly heavier stamp to the rhythm section of the band without ever once overwhelming the rest of the music. It's a perfectly balanced and beautifully mastered album showing great thought and sophistication in it's arrangement. With the CD hearing completed the band wasted no time in chatting with us and I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to Marco “Flex” Zorzytsky and also interviewed bass maestro Kay Lutter.

Keep watching this space for both, the full album review and interview with Kay, and don't forget to pre-order your copy of what promises to be without doubt the jewel in the crown of this very talented and accomplished group. 'Sterneneisen' is out February 24th on universal records.

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