The German chamber metal band COPPELIUS returned in 2010 with their 3rd studio album entitled “Zinnober”. If you are not yet acquainted with the likes of kammercore innovators COPPELIUS, you should run out and buy their first albums and listen to this mysterious blend of chamber music and metal as soon as possible. What “Zinnober” brings to the table is a more commercial sound than its predecessors which is not a negative trait as in this particular case, it makes their music easier to listen to thus easier to hold close to your heart.
One can find a generous attribute of COPPELIUS in the way they decide to market their music. Everything is neatly thought out to the very last careful detail: cases, artwork and message. This 3rd full length studio album also comes in a digipack as the ones before it and once again we are not talking about just any digipack, but one vigorously dusted, shined and ready to grab some sights. Although the band has gracefully showered us with elegance in their work so far, this particular release seems to be the most tasteful one yet. We draw this conclusion primarily from their choice of color, a typical one for the virtuosi composers of COPPELIUS: black, red and neutral tones ideally quantified to ensure an elegant finished to an outstanding work of art.
The front cover features an attention-grabbing illustration of a 19th century sickly-looking butler; the back cover has a clear modern font introducing the track list – much opposed to their previous album which had some “Old English” type font. The most fascinating part of the artwork is to be found in the lyrics booklet: it features fine-looking portraits of the band members and period paintings much appropriate for this band’s nature.
The album starts out with “Intro”, an interesting take on the butler’s purpose of cleaning the mansion he’s assigned to. In contrast to this, comes the second track “Diener 5er Herren” talks about the servant’s free time after finishing the household chores while also there’s a jocular theme by the missing objects in the house, theme also encouraged by the jocular tempo of the song. “Der Handschuh” jumps right into its high tempo danceable feeling and by danceable we feel it would be better to imagine it under period chamber dances rather than any sort of modern disco dancing. The 4th track off the album and also the first English song on it “I Told You So” has a bit of a nu metal feeling to it probably due to its mid tempo and slightly similar drum patterns. For those of you who have read E.T.A. Hoffman’s “Der Sandmann”, there is an interesting parallel between the lyrics and artwork on the page of this song i.e. a woman on a cliff and the protagonist of Hoffman’s story who falls in love with a doll.
The nu metal feeling to the songs continues into “Risiko” but it also stops with this track that features the most jocular nature of COPPELIUS’ music, flooding kammermetal with a sort of kammer acoustic 8bit minimal music combined with harsh drums. The lyrics join in the jovial pattern of this song as well, everything is fast paced and risk taking (N.B. risiko=risk). We might go out on a limb, but we’re going to say the biggest and best thought out surprise off this album is “Risiko”.
Unfortunately with a more commercial sound, there come some bad songs as well. One of the weakest songs on this album “Der Feuerwehrmann” actually does no justice to this release. One could hear the cello trying to save this song and there is some polyphonic singing as well, but overall the track didn’t come together as neatly as others.
We have to hand it to COPPELIUS for continuity as even this album features an Iron Maiden cover, this time of the song “Genghis Kahn”. We hope we’re not insulting any Iron Maiden fans by saying that we actually find the cover version fresher and better executed which we owe customarily to what the clarinet has to offer.
Compared to its predecessors, Zinnober seems better structured; it shows a confident evolution in the band’s creative process and road to “fame and fortune”. This album shows more façades than a Rubik’s cube and these façades are well blended together outside one progressing musical line. Each instrument is pampered with a lot of room to shine on this release. Overall in COPPELIUS’ history as a band, this album serves as a milestone of improvement.
Label: F.A.M.E. Recording
Release date: January 29th 2010
01. Intro – 0:33
02. Diener 5er Herren – 3:23
03. Der Handschuh – 3:48
04. I Told You so – 4:27
05. Risiko – 3:18
6. Gumbagubanga – 3:17
07. Damen – 3:22
08. Der Feuerwehrmann – 4:34
09. Nachtwache – 3:17
10. Stetig Fromm – 3:46
11. Klein Zaches – 4:24
12. Ein Automat – 3:54
13. Vergessen – 1:05
14. Genghis Khan – 3:05
15. Coppelius Hilft! – 3:42
16. Ade Mein Lieb – 4:05
Max Coppella – Vocals, Clarinet
Nobusama – Drums
Graf Lindorf – Vocals, Cello
Comte Caspar – Clarinet, Vocals
Sissy Voss – Double Bass
Bastille – Vocals, Drums