Subway to Sally

Engelskrieger

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The eighth album by this German septet signals a significant stylistic change for this erstwhile progressive folk/Baroque/metal/rock band. While virtually all of their previous albums were defined by their generous use of folk and acoustic instruments like lute, bagpipes, oboe, and hurdy-gurdy, Engelskrieger (Angel Warriors) is noticeably deficient in the use of those instruments. While the album credits do denote the inclusion of said instruments, they are used so sparingly and inconspicuously in the mix that they aren't essential to the overall mood or essence of the album. This is a heavy metal album -- nothing more, nothing less. Although the members of Subway to Sally boastfully trumpeted their transmutation as a matter of growth, they were actually reduced to a very ordinary sounding metal band. Ingo Hampf's electric guitar was once a key piece in the intricate Subway to Sally puzzle; now it's the entire picture. Even Frau Schmitt's violin has been rendered impotent. No longer does she accentuate their melodies with her classically and folk-derived adornments. She simply contributes, without notice, to the loud, dark vibe that has now engulfed this band. A highly successful act in Germany, Subway to Sally took a huge gamble with this album. It's unfathomable, however, that their net gains (from a fan perspective) will outnumber their losses.

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