In Extremo – Der Wind
Can you name one successful rock band that started their career as a medieval troupe at middle age revival fairs? That is just as adept at playing electric guitars and bagpipes, fusing together past and present sounds? Meet In Extremo, or In Ex, as their fans call them. This group from East Berlin which formed in 1996 is one of Germany’s most acclaimed crossover bands attracting gothic and metal fans as well as a medieval rock and even mainstream audience.
Tourists visiting Germany are always amazed at the number of medieval festivals where minstrels entertain people in the streets with acrobatics, fire tricks and music. This is where In Extremo started out, acoustic and without much vocals, but with all the necessary paraphernalia of a medieval show.
Leaving the streets for the rock stage In Ex have remained true to their folk roots. Much of the music is inspired by songs of the Middle Ages and the lyrics are from medieval texts in languages such as Latin or Icelandic as well as German. Many of the instruments they play such as bagpipes and harps are handmade by the members of the band. A staple at In Ex concerts is their use of pyrotechnics. But watch out! Some of the tricks can be quite dangerous as band member Das letzte Einhorn had to experience when a serious pyro accident forced him to spend several weeks in the hospital.
In Extremo’s style of music and their stage shows have a huge following even after their music became more heavy metal based. In 2001 In Extremo won the German Alternative Music Award for best live show beating out no other than Rammstein. Their ninth album “Sängerkrieg” (Singers’ War) was ranked first on the German album charts in 2008. The band seems to have found the right balance between the present and the past, the Age of Rock and the Middle Ages.