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Siegfried - "Nibelung" (CD)

Siegfried - "Nibelung" CD cover image

"Nibelung" track listing:

1. Der Ring der Nibelungen (5:58)
2. Fafnir (4:44)
3. Die Eisenfaust (Alberich) (3:54)
4. Die Prophezeihung (4:07)
5. Brunhild (4:41)
6. Sachsensturm (4:04)
7. Totenwacht (5:02)
8. Der Todesmarsch (4:52)
9. Die Götterdämmerung (5:55)

Reviewed by on March 29, 2010

"The storytelling aspect gives the album a specific flow and makes it more of a whole experience instead of a collection of tracks, but it also means the disc has less of an emphasis on the actual metal itself."

Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala, has been the source of countless melodic and symphonic death metal bands, but that’s just one of many tales tied to the traditional legends of Europe. Siegfried gives the German “Nibelung” story a metal twist in their latest album of the same name. Unlike many other musical takes on myth and legend, the entire album is told from the point of view of the characters from beginning to end. The result is slightly uneven for a metal album, but the mythological aspects are interesting enough to snag the gothic and symphonic crowd for a few listens through.

Siegfried utilizes three separate vocalists to get the most of the source material and each vocalist focuses on a different character or situation. Sandra Schleret from Elis handles the clean female vocals, which are easily the most prevalent style found on the album. Her singing occasionally dips dangerously close to pop, but there is always another element ready to hoist the album back up into metal, whether it be sinister whispers, pounding drums, or heavy guitar parts.

The remaining vocal lines are split between Werner Bialek, who provides the clean male singing, and Bruder Cle, who belts out a solid black metal rasp for the heavier parts. All of the vocals, regardless of style, stick entirely with German language for authenticity. The language barrier can either create a mystique to the music for non-German speakers or possibly just annoy them because they have no idea what’s being sung about.

Out of all the tracks, “Fafnir” is the one to hear as it has all of the elements that most typify Siegfried’s specific style. The keyboard opening has a deep and heavy symphonic string sound, bringing to mind a video game soundtrack. Cle’s black metal vocals throughout the song are something that needs to be experienced by any extreme metal fan, as he tries to keep up the bombastic and operatic nature of the music while attempting to sound cold and demonic. It’s an exceedingly odd combination that somehow works without being silly.

Aside from the concept and more epic take “Nibelung” is overall a pretty standard gothic/symphonic metal experience. The storytelling aspect gives the album a specific flow and makes it more of a whole experience instead of a collection of tracks, but it also means the disc has less of an emphasis on the actual metal itself. Anyone with a serious interest in the Nibelung tale or German language bands will likely get a lot more out of the album than the average fan of symphonic metal. Fans of Leaves’ Eyes will probably find the disc overall enjoyable, even if it does occasionally drag, and the constant instrumentation gives it some interest for Therion enthusiasts.

Highs: An epic concept and lots of vocal variation.

Lows: Some of the female vocals get close to pop, the overall album doesn't offer much different than any other gothic/symphonic metal act.

Bottom line: "Nibelung" is an epic foray into German language gothic/symphonic metal, but it isn't particularly groundbreaking

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)