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Coronatus - Recreatio Carminus

Coronatus - CD Review
Recreatio Carminus


CD Info:
Massacre Records
German, English, Latin lyrics
13 tracks


I usually like to work with the newer bands, first releases and such. There’s a certain excitement to it. But, some established bands tend to reinvent themselves on such a regular basis that they almost seem to be new. This German band is one of them. This is the band’s 5th release, and we get a little of the old and a little of the new. And we get solid music, these guys have a formula that seems to work, and they’ve figured out a way to keep it fresh and relevant. The principle focus is the female vocal. Well, that kinda works on this site, ain’a. The band originated with a double female vocal back in 2004. There were some changes in that vocal over the years, but they always did two femme vocals; one doing the classical soprano, the other doing a more traditional metal vocal. Guess that wasn’t enough. So, in order to bring something new and different to the sound, they brought back the original front lady Carmen Loch to join the two current vocalists, Ada Flechtner and Mareike Makosch. I’m thinking that should pretty much address your needs in the area of female front women.

The band’s had some pretty good touring experience. They’ve worked with the best, covering Western Europe like Napoleon at his best. Yea, that one’s probably not appropriate for a German band but you get the picture. They get around. And now they get around with an even bigger vocal sound. You figure that with three women, they probably let one take one track, the next takes the second and so on. . . women being what they are. Not here. On most tracks we get all three, fact, I can’t find one that doesn’t include all three Frauliens. And, before I go any further with this female oriented love fest, let me point out that there is some solid metal here, and it’s put together with some solid mixing and production. These are Germans remember, they leave nothing to chance. And the result is we get some solid material, killer music put together by the best in the business.

Now one of the things I’ve always liked most about Coronatus is that they work in multiple languages. And, they do that here. If you want a girl to tell you what’s going on in her soul, don’t ask her to do it in a language she doesn’t understand. These girls perform in a number of languages. Again, German, English and Latin appear to be the options of choice. But this release is much heavier on the German, I only saw a little Latin. And you do get a solid vocal, often with all three doing what is, I guess, choral work. If it’s two, that’s a duet, right, so three must be choral.

The band is now listed as 6 people, with the three female lead vocals, couple axe men and a drummer. But, Coronatus has always had a solid symphonic to it. And on this release there is a full time orchestration specialty, Ralf Pinu‘i Binder. There’s also a regular contribution by a well-known violinist, just something to enhance that classical Gothic sound the band was looking for. The production, as I mentioned before, is outstanding; well mixed, providing spot on vocal without the guitars or drums rolling over them. I guess there may be two variants of the release because the band advertises a digipak where we are provided with two additional tracks. These tracks feature vocalist Carmen Loch who recreates several tracks from previous releases.

Recreatio Carminus, which, by the way, means “recreation of the song” more or less in German, is intended to be a slightly different direction from previous releases. In some respects, it’s more Gothic, the music featuring the melodic and a more hook oriented catchiness, assuming that’s even a word. And, I suspect that increased influence on the German lyric has meaning as well, a lot of that German lyric is done by Carmen, with a solid soprano. The other two vocals tend to stick with a more traditional rock approach, although, especially when all three perform together, they can get pretty classical sounding.

Lyrically, it’s a little difficult to get into the tracks as most are in German and my skill set there is limited to things like “Ein Bier, zwei Bier, drei Bier”. But, you can do some quick translations and get a picture pretty quickly of what’s being addressed. The release begins with the typical Gothic classical structure, in this case, entitled Ouvertuere. Less than 2 minutes but almost entirely instrumental, strings, a fully orchestrated track sans guitars and not getting to the vocals until the end, and even those are only operatic soprano oriented and last about 5 seconds. But, the real deal begins with the second track Towards Horizon. In an effort to keep that classical thing going, the track begins with a Latin touch:

Odi et amo, quare id faciam, nescio
Sed fieri sentio et excrucior

Check your Latin dictionaries, I’m only working in the German.

However, the English on this one reveals that Gothic direction:

No, not longer I'll try to escape / Love and hate are reflections of pain
No, nobody might force me to hope / And no, I don’t want to stand this cold
No, whatever will come my way / I will welcome it as a releave

The sound is relatively massive; crushing orchestrations, vocals in all combinations, solid drums to maintain a metal oriented beat.

The vast majority of the remaining tracks are in German. They begin with In meinem Reich. Come-on, even I know what that means. The language is short poetic phrasing, again, not entirely requiring a dictionary to get through:

Doch wir empfingen diesen Gast / Wie ein Gestirn aus nächster Nähe
So zerschunden von der Last / Das Firmament zu heben
Einer ungewissen Heimat / Trieb sein Schiff enttäuscht entgegen
Mit den Seinen und den Sommern / Die so der Nacht entgehen

There is another English track, The Monk and this one is interesting in the sense that it seems to tell a story. Now, some of those other German tracks might do that too but I’m pretty sure about this one. And this one’s a rocker, more of the metal oriented femme vox here, less opera. Lyrically, we get:

A long time ago lived a monk / In dark middle ages he lived
He prayed to father and son / For the grace of an innocent life line
One day he went out to the woods / To ease all this heaviness
He fled from the monastery walls / To the silence and peace of the forest

Kinda like Hansel and Gretel with a crucifix.

Most of the rest of the tracks are more oriented towards that trilateral vocal mix with a solid dose of the classical soprano. Tracks like Schwester which are more representative of the release as a whole. There is, however, one that is a little different, Elisa (Eleven Swans) is a purely instrumental track, mainly strings. You get cher string quartet here, a very nice little interlude.

All in all, pretty much what you’d expect from Coronatus, with the addition of one extra femme vox. And, given the excellence of any vocal you get with this bunch, that’s certainly not a bad thing. If you’re into this kind of music, and I suspect most people reading this are, you can’t go wrong with this release. Coronatus is a solid bunch of musicians, they have strong production folks working with them, the writing and thinking behind the music is top notch. Just keep a dictionary handy and you’re ready to go.