When it comes to bagpipe music, my sense is that most people either love it or hate it. I don’t know anyone who falls in the middle ground. I happen to love it.
I know of a handful of folk metal bands — including Arkona, Suidakra, Skyforger, Cruachan, and Eluveitie — who feature the bagpipes in some or all of their music. But until yesterday, I only knew of one metal band who used the bagpipes as their lead instrument: South Africa’s Haggis and Bong (still one of the best band names ever created). We’ve featured them at NCS more than once, and most recently here.
Yesterday, thanks to groverXIII (The Number of the Blog), I discovered another band who use bagpipes as their lead instruments: Germany’s Schelmish. Now, based on a little reading about Schelmish, it appears that they’re commonly referred to as a “medieval rock band” — a style of music that seems to have originated in Germany — but they sure as hell seem metal as fuck to me (with punk in the mix, too).
Between 2000 and 2010, they’ve released 10 albums, including a live performance CD. But I’m writing this post based on only one song — “Chaos”. It happened to be the first Schelmish YouTube video I watched after groverXIII recommended the band, and man does it sell.
Reasons why the “Chaos” video is the shit:
First, this band appears to have not one but five pipers. Second, the ends of the drones on their bagpipes look like the flared mouths of ancient muskets. Third, Schelmish also have some gargantuan drums to accompany the bagpipes. Fourth, the band members themselves are gargantuan (with the exception of one whippet-like piper who looks like Johnny Rotten). Fifth, they can really jam. Sixth, the song is called “Chaos”, and the music lives up to the name.