Like a mixture of In Extremo and Rammstein, or more closely related to Subway To Sally, German folk rockers Tanzwut have returned with their tenth studio album, Schreib Es Mit Blut (Write It With Blood.) These guys are classified as something called Neue Deusch Härte, which aparently goes all of the way back to Rammstein's debut record, Herzeleid (1995) and seems quite fitting here. As I've stated, Tanzwut sound more closely related to an act like Subway To Sally then they do Rammstein and I'll add that both bands nearly sound identical except for the vocal end of things, where Mike “Teufel” Paulenz commands a rougher style of vocal edge than Michael “Bodenski” Boden, who has a decidedly different approach. Regardless of that, both bands seem to incorporate a great deal of down-tuned riffing and folk-influence (“Bruder Leichtsinn” sounds like Rammstein with bagpipes) which works for me, as I've been a fan of this style since first discovering Rammstein around the Mutter era. I find myself enjoying the choruses just as much as I would have from Subway, Mergaherz, Eisbrecher or Rammstein and that's a great thing in my book. The bagpipes also work extremely well in the background and give a very unique layer of depth to the music. It's on the same level as Subway To Sally, but has a bit more punch and bite than I've heard from them in recent years. This being my second listen of the record, I feel that things really start to take off around the aforementioned “Bruder Leichtsinn” and will add that the first two cuts (yes, even the title track that opens the record) kind of fell a bit flat for me. It's not that these were bad pieces, but I suppose I was expecting the record to take off with a little bit more of a bang than this.
By the time we get to “Stille Wasser” which seems to take off in the direction of straight-forward folk, we are soon greeted to another cut in the same vein as the disc's second track “Steig Ein” called “Reicher Als En Konig.” It's admittedly less thump and more straight-forward rock, but I wouldn't say that it's terrible. “Hahnenkampf” does however mix a bit more of that Rammstein formula into it's folk-fueled nature, as “Wenn Ich Tot Bin” seems to continue that folk-rock feel in what almost seems like an anthem to sailing the seven seas. With the Celtic influence in the bagpipes, I'm almost feeling like this record would delight as many fans of German hard rock as it would fans of Scottish bagpipe players. It may even delight the Scottish bagpipers themselves, but who knows? Moving on, we soon get to “Bleib Bei Mir” in which the traditional Rammstein influence reasserts itself, but not for long as the triumphant anthem “Wer Wir Sind” soon erupts forth from my speakers and has me looking out my window to see if there is indeed some sort of vessel about to leave port. The rain is pouring so thickly right now that such an occurrence would not surprise me. The disc ends with a very light-hearted rocker by the name of “Neue Ufer” which seems like a good place to say “Auf Wiedersehen.”
Yet there's one more cut on the disc, which features the album's only ballad of sorts “Stille Wasser” reimagined with Liv Kristine, who needs no introduction. Though Kristine's vocals are pushed to the back a little, (it is a duet, after all) I feel that is a rather strong rendition of the piece and seems a worthy enough bonus release for the digipack. At the end of it all, I can say that while the disc did feature a lot of what makes this kind of music memorable to me, it clearly features more folk-influences than I had anticipated. That isn't a bad thing though, as it brings a more light-hearted and different tone to the music than other bands might have offered. If you're going to begin a voyage out to sea, then I feel that this may be the kind of record you'll want to play in order to prepare yourself for the trip. The only things that I feel are missing from a performance like Screib Es Mit Blut are the whooshing of the ocean waves and the hearty sounds of seagulls.
(15 Tracks, 55:00)