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Album Review

Kreuzfeuer confirms Subway to Sally to be Germany's best hidden hard rock secret, although it also reminds that the reasons for the "hidden" thing are not limited to language barrier. The record isn't radically different from the band's previous output, but Subway to Sally get better at their game with each new release, and so when they're on, they're ripping. The group is billed as folk-metal, but this label is largely irrelevant, as the best songs on Kreuzfeuer are not ethnic experiments but devastatingly powerful rock numbers that straddle the fence between alternative metal and classic metal like it's the easiest thing in the world, and perhaps lean to the alternative side — not because the band really cares, but because this is what you get when you go down the shortest route to heavy rock in the 2000s. Dark, speedy riffs in "Judaskuss" or "Die Jagd Beginnt" have a strong Rammstein/Filter feel; the songs still sport a fiddle, too, but its lines could as easily have been handled by keys or another guitar — although the traditional vibe really enhances the songs, mixing with modern guitars to produce an almost timeless sound. Of course, the immense, mammoth hooks help too — you don't need to know German to sing along the second time Eric Fish barks the chorus of "Besser du Rennst." However, not all songs are up to par: after a while the band delves into dark melodramatic semi-ballads like "So Fern So Nah" or "Versteckt," which don't quite have the same impact — there's no denying the value of a good breather, but slowing down makes Subway to Sally less impressive, because the intensity level and the amount of hooks both drop. Although some stuff on Kreuzfeuer could be trimmed (or simply sped up), it's still chock-full of killer rock tunes.


Formed: 1990 in Potsdam, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Subway to Sally is a true musical hybrid. Based on a heavy metal foundation, Subway to Sally is far from your average metal headbangers as they combine progressive and folk anthems with early music and liturgical references. They contribute equal parts acoustic and electric from the guitar trio of Ingo Hampf, Bodenski, and Simon. Violinist Frau Schmidt can lay down a classic Robbie Steinhardt-like roll with as much conviction as with the gentler, more traditionally based passages. Perhaps the most...
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Kreuzfeuer, Subway to Sally
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