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An intense live act with an elaborate stage show, Saltatio Mortis led Germany's Middle Ages band -- or "Mittelalterband" -- movement by being one of the first groups to combine epic-scale rock songs with Middle Ages instruments like lutes and bagpipes. The band was formed in 2000 near the German city of Mannheim, and played a handful of shows that year dressed in Middle Ages attire. They made their debut on record a year later with their self-released debut, Tavernakel. In 2002 they joined the international metal label Napalm, which reissued their debut along with their new album, Das Zweite Gesicht. They went on to become one of the most prolific bands on the Mittelalterband scene, releasing six studio albums and three live sets between 2003 and 2012. During 2013 -- an especially successful year for Saltatio Mortis -- they released the live recording Manufactum III in April, while in August the band issued a fresh studio effort, Das Schwarze Einmaleins. ~ David Jeffries