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Festung Mark, Magdeburg, Germany
5th September 2009
InExtremo, MacBeth

The Festung Mark, Magdeburg is an unusual venue. It's shaped like a Gladiator Pit and consists of a half moon shaped courtyard dug into the ground so that you are in effect open air but below street level. It gives, however, for a really atmospheric music venue as you feel totally cut off from the surrounding town. The weather was great (no rain) and doors opened promptly, with security being polite and friendly. There was an array of stalls as well as the usual band merchandising, selling medieval items and so forth, and a variety of food and bars so it felt more like a mini festival and less like a straightforward gig.


I've heard MACBETH's work before but have never had the pleasure of seeing them live and it really was a pleasure to see the support band so good in their own right and exhibiting such definite integrity and energy in their performance. Originally formed in 1985 in Erfurt, this group from the former GDR is steeped in tragic history and great music. Their previous story is one of struggle against the East German state with several forced disbanding and tragedies but their present incarnation began in 2002 and draws on both old and new music alike and has given them deserved success.

Music & Performance
Tonight they gave a very solid and polished performance, oozing personality and rocking Magdeburg hard in preparation for INEX. The front man's vocals were harsh and demanding and their musicianship tight and thorough. They played with great passion and great integrity and I can heartily recommend them to anyone liking solid, earnest 'proper' metal. Well received and appreciated by the crowd, these are a band well worth catching if you possibly can.

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 9 / 10

In Extremo

“At the edge” is the meaning of their name and as this was the end of their tour this summer barring for a couple of dates in Russia I thought it might be a very edgy show. Lighting was good in the beginning, as the daylight was still struggling to keep a hold, but spectacular once it grew dark with the use of large screens with programmed images coupled with pyros and smoke machines really making for a great atmosphere, which was at times sinister and other times pure fun (the “dancing” skulls in ‘Spielmannsfluch’ being a point in case). 'Requiem' struck up to introduce them and they came on stage one by one starting with their very solid drummer 'Der Morgenstern' and ending with lead vocalist Das Letzte Einhorn.

The setlist was much as would be expected with a great mix of old and new stuff and the newer songs are clearly firm favourites now with the crowd, plus of course their 'Saengerkrieg' Album has just gone gold selling more than 100,000 copies. After a friendly bit of banter with the crowd they launched into the very singable 'Sieben Köche', followed straight off by 'Frei zu Sein' which was incredibly popular with the crowd and very well known since they released it as a single last year. With the audience well and truly warmed up and the band in happy and relaxed form, we had a couple of old favourites next in the form of the medieval 'Himale Tempore' and the ever popular 'Vollmond'.

A guy wearing a Viking hat with only one horn (a play on the stage name of the lead singer Micha Rhein, “Das Letzte Einhorn” which means “The Last Unicorn”) threw his hat onto the stage only to have it stamped on and then worn by a laughing Micha and there was a fair bit of joking between he and the audience before they moved on to ' Saengerkrieg', again from their latest album. By now we had lost daylight and the light show and pyros could really come into their own. IN EXTREMO are renowned for good light shows but the huge screens which now serve as something of a backdrop really add to the whole thing. “Flex”, multi instrumentalist and acrobat, moved forward to begin the mournful and haunting intro to 'Liam' on Uilean pipes and the audience went wild, proving that these were not just people there on the strength of their latest number one album but rather those familiar with all their work, both recent and older.

Keeping in the vein of old favourites 'Spielmann' came next followed by the fantastic 'Poc Vecem'. Then 'Ave Maria' saw Micha waving his arms and conducting the audience to do the same which they obediently did as everyone sang it with him before the next track 'Ai vis lo Lop'. This song saw Basti Lange and Kay Lutter (guitar and bass respectively) take centre stage as they played and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves through a great solo. Then Micha announced that there were people all the way from Spain in the audience and taught us all how to clap Spanish style before dedicating 'En Este Noche' to them and having most of the audience clapping like Flamenco dancers in what is a really fun high energy song. It all calmed down next and the gorgeous intro to 'Merseberger Zaubersprüche' began. Although you'd expect such a slow and tranquil piece not to be a highlight of proceedings it was, as it was sung simply and powerfully and contrasted beautifully with the previous frantic song giving lead singer Micha Rhein a chance to show his voice to great effect. It was a really lovely reflective interlude.

'Im Diesem Licht', a great lyrical song, came next along with one of my favourites of the newer songs 'Die Flaschenpost' which is a great sing along song celebrating everything masculine and certainly had everyone joining in with huge enthusiasm. 'Mein Rasend Herz' came next and then, proving that their new stuff is far from commercial and more mainstream, they triumphed with 'Mein Sehnen', which for me was the best song of the night, being impassioned and thoughtful lyrically, brilliantly performed and utterly beautiful musically. Those die hard fans who have been with them years who were in the audience were happy with their choice of 'Wind' and 'Omnia Sol Temporat' and they followed those up with a song 'Aufs Leben' which is a brave and experimental step in a slightly different direction for them, as it doesn't have a definite INEXTREMO stamp on it, but is rather a voyage in new directions which always pleases me, because it's nice to see a very successful band constantly evolving and not just sticking to a winning formula.

That was it for the main show and a happy but exhausted band quite the stage only to return moments later to rapturous applause and calling from the fans to launch into 'Küss Mich' a very catchy song about a stalker desperate for the kiss of his prey, the sinister lyrics being at total odds with the fabulous singability of it (it's always been one of my favourite tracks for singing full blast in the car). Far from winding the audience down they pumped them up for a grand finale with the ever fresh 'Spielmannsfluch' complete with little dancing skulls on the big screens, which amused the audience to no end and then finally out came the flaming drumsticks of Der Morgenstern for the song that they always finish with 'Villeman Og Manghild'. It was a fabulous performance of it. I've seen them a few times now and this song is always fresh, but tonight they had been on particularly good form, being I think, the best I'd ever seen them and it showed in the last song with tremendous fun and energy being put into by all the band and pyros' rocketing off to give a truly spectacular end to a really great gig, so good in fact I'm hard pressed to fault it.

01. Requiem
02. Sieben Köche
03. Frei zu Sein
04. Himale Tempore
05. Vollmond
06. Saengerkrieg
07. Liam
08. Spielmann
09. Poc Vecem
10. Ave Maria
11. Ai vis lo Lop
12. En Este Noche
13. Meresberger Zaubersprüche
14. In Diesem Licht
15. Die Flaschenpost
16. Mein Rasend Herz
17. Mein Sehnen
18. Wind
19. Omnia Sol Temporat
20. Aufs Leben
21. Küss Mich
22. Spielmannsfluch
23. Villeman Og Manghild

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9 / 10

All pictures by Maddi Isaacs

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