IN EXTREMO - LIVE 2002 (DVD) (ISLAND/MERCURY)
Possibly my most significant 'discovery' of 2002 was In Extremo's latest, "Sünder Ohne Zügel". Apart from the fact that it's an excellent CD, it also grew to be the prime CD that my wife-to-be and myself have discovered together, and both really dig. And this in itself is very weird, because for some reason none of the band's earlier CDs have managed to enchant me before.
Around Christmas last year I read about the live DVD to be released. I read mixed reviews (including some pretty critical ones by fans), but nonetheless I simply wanted to have it. I'd seen In Extremo in concert during their summer 2002 festival tour, and a week or two before Christmas during their headlining club tour. The former gig was cool, the latter was superb. I hoped the DVD would allow me to re-capture some of the atmosphere.
The CD consists of several parts. The lion share consists of tracks recorded at their Kyffhäuser show, including most of the tracks I fondly remembered from their club show. Unfortunately, The Last Unicorn (their singer) sings off key on two songs, most notably on "Pavane". But the other renditions are spot-on, and in fact add something to the somewhat less energetic and also less heavy versions on their studio albums (where their earlier work is concerned). The show includes the fun choreography, some pyro effects, and all the atmosphere I recalled.
But there's more. As bonus material there's four further classics recorded at Taubertal, and 3 further tracks from Mera Luna. All the songs I knew and loved are there - "Krummavisur", "Mersebucher Zauberspruche I & II", "Omnia Sol Temperat", "Unter Dem Meer", "Pavane", "Herr Mannelig", "Rotes Haar", "Stetit Puella", "Die Gier", "Ai Vis Lo Lop", "Wind" and "Palästinalied". And more. The Mera Luna visuals are a little chaotic, but the bonus bits also include some of Flex Der Biegsame's athletics...
But there's even more. There's a short "Making Of Kyffhäuser" and a more extended "Backstage" section that is really quite entertaining. A special made about their Mexican tour is cool as well, though I can't help but think that it's very weird that Mexicans sing along German language lyrics and such... To top it off, there are three videos clips ("Wind", "This Corrosion" and "Vollmond") and 3 multi-angle live songs.
I was not disappointed with this release, though I had sortof expected there to be a live CD with the package as well. I should have read the fine print at amazon.de. The back of the DVD does contain the track listing of the CD, though...?!
In Extremo is a pretty unique band, or at least they are pretty unique in my world of music. The DVD captures pretty faithfully what it's like to see them in concert. Every fan should get it, and definitely all those who witnessed them live in 2002. For fans of 'different' music in general (some world music, some rock, some folk), however, this would also be a nice DVD to check out.
Written January 2003
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