Mau, Melanie & Schnella, Martin - Through The Decades,
Melanie and Martin are well-known for Flaming Row and other bands, but over the years they have also been releasing albums under their own name, some of which were of original material and others which contain acoustic cover versions. I enjoy pretty much everything they release, as they have a wonderful way with arrangements, Martin is a superb multi-instrumentalist while Melanie is an incredible singer, and somehow, they always make these covers sound like their own, so when I realised there was a new one, I was bound to be excited. Drummer Simon Schröder and bassist Lars Lehmann are involved, as they were on the excellent ‘Pieces To Remember’, but this time they have also brought in additional singer Mathias Ruck to provide harmonies, plus a few guests.
While “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” and “Running Up That Hill” may be fairly obvious choices, I was somewhat surprised to hear “Creeping Death”! Somehow, they have taken one of Metallica’s most iconic songs, always guaranteed to get a mosh going, and have turned it into a folk duet with picked guitars which is majestic and somehow even more powerful than the original. That relies on volume, energy and angry, but here the band have shown that when the song is good enough then it can be deconstructed and performed in a totally different manner while somehow also staying true to the original. It is not the only heavy number to get this treatment, as “I Am Above” (In Flames) and “Harvest Of Sorrow” (Blind Guardian) are also transformed, but the guys do have history in that bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden have also been targets in the past. This is what makes their albums so interesting, in that they arrange songs from bands which others would not dare approach, as well as heading for songs which one would like to have undertaken in this manner, but rarely are, such as “Miracles Out of Nowhere” (Kansas) where the twin lead vocals work incredibly well. “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Queen) is beautiful, with Mathias again given a lead role in the duets, and overall, this is an album where the listener plays it with a smile. It is one which just keeps getting better the more it is played and is definitely one worth seeking out.