Napalm Records/ Universal Music, Release: 21.07.2023
19 years and now already album number 11 – if that´s not quite a number that speaks for Feuerschwanz, then I am clueless what could do so. A look onto their performance in the charts with their last albums shows: the curve rises, it´s going up and up, so you can expect quite something from this new album called “Fegefeuer”. Once rather looked at as if they were just a bad for the fun times, sound and lyrics have changed with the years and more and more came closer with the heavy tunes. No, we´re not talking about the classical metal, but we get to talk about an entertaining kind of powermetal.
The opener “SGFRD Dragonslayer” is for me personally the weakest song of the album – not exactly a promising dive into the album, but you can feel even happier then when commencing to the coming tracks. The sound get´s heavier, you get what you´re used in terms of vocals and melody, pushing you forward and yet carrying you nicely through the song. “Berzerkermode” is one of those tracks, that have the potential to forever remain stuck in your head – it just has the perfect melody for it, the perfect easy lyrics and whatever comes after, it´s still flowing around in the back of your mind. Once again different is how “Knochenkarussell” is presenting itself to the listener – whilst the start of te track gives you happy feelings thanks to the guitar riffs, the rest of the song feels rather disappointing as it can´t keep up with the expectation. Too many repetitions when it comes to sound and especially lyrics, something is missing for it to be a proper album track. Played at a live show, this surely will be doing perfectly fine: it´s terribly easy to sing along also after a couple of beers, imagine a circle pit here and there, it all fits. But for an album track, I expect more depth.
Giving the album its name, “Fegefeuer” could also be a track of the band dArtagnan – the partial similarities regarding the pesonnel you cannot hide. It´s nicely rocking you through the song, the melodie just makes you flow through the song, and the lyrics just match well so you get a perfectly harmonious overall sound and picture. Another song that´s more one to sing along and incorporating some nice solos is “Die Horde” – a bit of depth in the lyrics might´ve not hurt anyone, but it is going to work really well in a live show setting once again. But for a top notch album, it doesn´t fit right in. Oh yes, this album is like a ride on a rollercoaster – “Uruk-Hai” as the next one in line then has evertyhing that an entertaining and great song needs to be having: a sweet melody, heavy riffs and that urge to just press the “repeat” button.
Bagpipe tunes is what you´re finding in the intro of “Highlander” – how could you not do that, looking at this song title? This clechee nevertheless has not exactly been used a lot, there is not as much of bagpipes to be found as expected – nevertheless, it´s a harmonious track and has its highlight, but cannot compete with the really strong tracks off this album. Even if the coming song, “Morrigan” is covering the queen of seduction, the only thing that could be slightly seducing is the violin melody. Vocal wise, everything is just fine once again, but something that makes the fire burn with is not to be found in this track. “Eis & Feuer” is next, and this one really does include the clichee powermetal sound here and there – and that´s not even meant in a negative way, because if you combine it (like here) with not so typical sounds and instruments, it´s becoming an interesting song that really pushes you forward, and you´ll happy tag along. Last but not least – and probably besides “Fegefeuer” the for me most convincing song of the album: “Valkyren” is a song, that has this touch of craving and melancholy within, and thus us just the perfect ending for an album.
Conclusion? Compared to the previous albums, it´s simply just lacking that special something that draws me to the album, something that makes the album stand out for me. A lot of catchy tunes, things that you can happily sing along when you´re attending their show, accompanied by partially really good but also really simple lyrics – yes, there´d potential for improvement. Having said all this, let´s go and check out the live shows to have a listen to all of the new music when it´s being played live – it wouldn´t be the first time, that by this taste changes.