Monday, May 20, 2019

Video Review: MELANIE MAU & MARTIN SCHNELLA "A Touch Of Evil" (Progressive Promotion Records) by Dave Wolff

Location: Osterode am Harz, Niedersachsen
Country: Germany
Genre: Acoustic/folk rock
Video: A Touch Of Evil (Judas Priest cover)
Label: Progressive Promotion Records
Release date: March 1, 2017
While surfing Youtube for another Judas Priest cover I had listened to previously, I came across this one, became curious and decided to give it a chance. Just to see how it sounded. As it turned out this was smart, as I was unprepared for a well-executed treatment of Judas Priest’s “A Touch Of Evil”. If you know the version from Painkiller, you should know the cover is far removed from it, almost to the point where it’s a different song. If you like metal and Celtic music in the vein of Loreena McKenniitt, this is essential listening from musicians who deserve a lot of recognition. Martin Schnella, one of the artists who arranged the cover, runs a Youtube channel where he and his cohorts cover songs by Iron Maiden, In Flames, Nightwish, Blind Guardian and others. His other projects Flaming Row and Moon Safari have videos there, but they are years old so I am not sure if those projects are still active. In 2002 Zwan did an acoustic cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast” for the 2002 movie Spun. I mention this because both covers are acoustic pieces that completely reinterpret the originals and both gave me a similar feeling. But while Zwan’s Iron Maiden cover is a straightforward acoustic piece, Schnella’s Priest cover is deep and multi layered. It’s done not just with acoustic guitar and vocals but a full ensemble. The re-arrangement of the song with percussion, violin and traditional instruments is a testament to how seriously everyone involved took infusing the cover with their vision and the respect they showed for the original. Melanie Mau lends vocals with an insinuating feel that radically alters the mood, often singing with different notes than Rob Halford’s. The depth added by the variety in instruments is breathtaking. Acoustic guitars handle the synthesizer sections of the original song; bass lines are added for harmony; energy builds, wanes and builds again; vocals overlap; there’s interplay between the guitars, vocals and the other instruments. It’s simply a brilliant reimagining of a JP song that you can’t help becoming immersed in. Listening to this made me want to hear some of the other songs at Schnella’s Youtube profile. -Dave Wolff

Melanie Mau: lead vocals
Martin Schnella: Acoustic guitars, vocals & percussion
Niklas Kahl: Cajon & percussion
Lars Lehmann: Bass guitar
Jens Kommnick: Cello, uilleann pipes & whistle
Eric Brenton: Violin

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