From street music to the tops of the German charts – Saltatio Mortis have taken the very tough route to the top of the German music. Thereby, their genre, Medieval Rock, has a certain popularity in their home country, but is definitely not mainstream. I felt that their new album Für Immer Frei (“Forever Free”) is a good opportunity to share their music with you. The album has been released on 9th October 2020.
Saltatio Mortis – About The Artists
Saltatio Mortis (Latin for “Death Dance”) is a German Medieval Rock band, originally from Karlsruhe. They started as a street music band. The current lineup is Jörg Roth, Gunter Kopf, Timo Gleichmann, Christian Sparfeldt, Frank Helm, Jan S. Mischon, Robin Bisenbach and TIll Grohe. The first three ones are founding members of the band. On stage, however, they use stage names. Roth, for example is named Ales der Bescheidene (“Alea The Modest”). Their debut album Tavernakel was in practice sold at festivals.
However, the follow-up Das Zweite Gesicht (“Second Face”) released in 2002 already lead to some publicity and popularity of the band. In 2009, they already published their sixth album Wer Wind saet (“Who sows wind”), which has been their first one to place in the Top 10 in the album charts. In contrast to most bands of the genre, their songs often cover nowadays topics. Salto Mortis’ last three albums, including the previous one Brot und Spiele (“Bread and Games”, 2018) all topped the German album charts.
Saltatio Mortis – Für Immer Frei – Track by Track
The fourteen songs of the album last 46 minutes
1. Ein Traum von Freiheit
The album starts with a ninety seconds instrumental intro. Atmospheric. Full stop.
2. Bring mich zurück
Bring mich zurück zu dieser Nacht, zu diesem Abend
Bring mich zurück, zurück, zurück, zurück zu dir
Bring mir nur diesen Augenblick für eine Ewigkeit zurück
Zurück, zurück, zurück, zurück zu dir
(“Bring me back to this night, to this evening
Bring me back, back, back, back to you
Bring back this moment for a moment of eternity
Back, back, back to you”)
The second track of the album is already a perfect example how the band mixes ancient sounds with quite modern topics. Good one!
Loki has a lot of power – I would even say it feels like a punk rock track to me. Very present track, which is catchy from the very first minute.
4. Linien im Sand
Linien im Sand (“Lines in the sand”) is a song against borders and patriotism and these invisible lines in the sand, which should not separate us. Amazing to have a bagpipe having a leading rock in a track which is close to hard rock.
5. Für immer jung
The fifth song on the album is track Für immer jung (“Forever young”), which feels as the title track as it was used to tease the album sale. The track is not as rocking as Linien im Sand and is rather compatible for radio airplay. Amazing track on stage, I truly believe. That one is just fun.
6. Palmen aus Stahl
Palmen aus Stahl (“Palms of Steel”) is dark, powerful. You have to bang your head and listen to Saltatio Mortis – who again added some elements to this song about the ecological destruction, which will make it great to interact with the audience once they can be back on stage. Best song of the album so far – unfortunately, I cannot translate the verses in a way that it fully keeps the message, but the chorus is already powerful:
Im schwarzen Regen, der wie Asche fällt
Steh’n nur noch Palmen aus Stahl
Im schwarzen Regen, der wie Asche fällt
Unter Palmen aus Stahl verdreckt um uns die Welt
(“In the black rain, which falls like ash
there are just palms of steel.
In the black rain, which falls like ash
Unter palms of steel the world is getting dirty”)
This song is indeed dealing with a historic topic, King Lionheart (Prinz Löwenherz). Though this is a 12th century story, the song feels modern and like a nowadays one. Well done.
8. Mittelfinger Richtung Zukunft (feat. Swiss & Die Anderen, Henning Wehland)
The digitus medius – also called middle finger / long finger – or Mittelfinger in German. Saltatio Mortis raise this one towards the future (Mittelfinger Richtung Zukunft – Middle Finger towards future) and even uses rap elements to this song. Medieval rock has rarely been that powerful – and that powerful. And the repetitive song structure simply makes it an easy catch.
9. Rose im Winter
After all that rock and power, it is time to relax: Rose im Winter (“Rose in winter”) is a lovely ballad and love track. A beauty!
10. Factus de materia
Saltatio Mortis are great in moving their style from modern to traditional. Factus de materia (“Made out of matter”) is definitely the most traditional one on the album so far. The bagpipe is the leading instrument, the vocals are Latin. Frui Canticum – enjoy the song!
11. Seitdem du weg bist
Much more rock, much more modern – and if you imagine that Seitdem Du weg bist (“Since you’ve been gone”) is a sad track – the chorus simply continues with geht’s mir geil (“I feel great” – not a precise translation). The track travels from Mordor to Star Wars and Planet Earth hoping that the human who destroy the planet are gone soon. Politics meets breakup song – fantastic one!
12. Keiner von Millionen
A very powerful and rocking track about being individual and having your own thoughts and ideas. In the current times, where you just need to have some sort of collective thinking, this track feels to me threatening. Good song, maybe released with a bad timing.
13. Neustart für den Sommer
In this track, the band claims to have a Neustart für den Sommer – a restart of the summer. They complain that social distancing lead to too few parties. Let’s hope for 2021.
14. Geboren um frei zu sein
Freedom is the key topic of this final track of the album. Very melodic, less rocking. Nice finish.
Saltatio Mortis – Für Immer Frei- Spotify
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Saltatio Mortis – Für Immer Frei – My View
No doubt, Saltatio Mortis do their own music, their own style. I like that fusion of historic sounds and instruments, rock and clear modern messages. In some points, however, I just hope that misleading or bad timing – the preparation of Für Immer Frei is likely much longer than the Covid-19 restrictions. If you skip that thing, The album is amazing and offers great German rock music in a unique style. Love it!
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