Saltatio Mortis

Rockharz - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The Rockharz festival gave me several new musical acquaintances. Ok, so I have seen the name of Saltatio Mortis around several times, and I have heard a (very) limited amount of their music, but I would be lying if I said I knew them.
Still, my interest was picked, and I thought I’d give them a chance.

Saltatio Mortis (transl. Dance of Death) is a German metal band with strong influences of medieval music somewhat in the same direction of In Extremo or Subway To Sally, but with a more basic, historic sound to them, or at least that was the feeling I got from the show. Much in line with these other bands, all of their lyrics are in the German tongue, so I must admit that the theme of these were a bit lost on me; however, it would seem that the German medieval theme was something which was really hitting home with the native audience!
To be honest, Saltatio Mortis had pulled what I perceived to be the largest crowd I had seen gathered at this festival so far, certainly so for this day at the very least.
And why wouldn’t people gather round? This seven man strong orchestra was really entertaining to see perform, they knew full well what they doing with their music, and their show and visuals were well thought through. The costumes looked authentic, yet festive, and they made use of a host of antique instruments with bag-pipes having the leading role. Man it looked like fun when the three men playing them stood on line and started twirling around, dancing merrily to the music!

The result of this could easily be seen in the crowd, which was quick to pick up on the atmosphere and soon began dancing, singing and moshing along as well to their hearts delight. No one was to be left out, and I myself was caught around the shoulders by some burly Germans standing close to me, and led off to jumping and headbanging merriment.
One especially loud sing along could be heard in the song Prometheus, where every voice shouted “Ich bringe euch feuer!” There is something about screaming fire at the top of your lungs at a metal show which just feels right (as the translation is: I bring you fire)!
Vocalist Alea der Bescheidene was definitely also one to engage the audience; while on stage he was constantly asking for our participation, and when we were reaching the end, he would start the final song of by grabbing a large flag and then march down through the audience all the way to the back, thus creating a corridor through the people for himself which he then used to rush up to the stage, flag held high, as the music began! Later on, he would also throw himself for a turn of crowd-surfing, whilst still singing.

Since all speaking and singing was done in German, and since I don’t really know this band very well, I can’t really tell you which songs they played, apart from Prometheus, but I can tell you that Saltatio Mortis played a new song during their set, at least that’s what they told us.
My guess is that it is one from their upcoming album Sturm Aufs Paradies, and I can tell you that it was one where Alea played an acoustic guitar, his only instrumentation during the concert, and the song itself was a bit slower than the general feel of the rest of the songs, and it was quite pleasing to the ear.
Then again, I had quite a good time during the entire concert, so all in all this was a pretty good introduction to the band.

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