Rebellion Review Special Part 1: A Tragedy in Steel – Shakespeare’s MacBeth

Hello everybody and a hearty welcome to the first part of the „Rebellion Review“-specials. In the following weeks you will be able to gain insight into the hitherto existing work of one of the best German metal bands: REBELLION. The Rebellion Reviews will be issued regularly every 14 days.

In the past decade, the group around bass player Tomi Göttlich and singer Michael Seifert has published six EP’s on a high musical level and with remarkable lyrics. At this point, everyone who has not become aware of the band has the possibility to get to know the previous releases. To top things off, no one lesser than Tomi Göttlich and Michael Seifert will reveal a few personal impressions, hilarious anecdotes and inside information to every EP.

Rebellion published their first album, “Shakespeare´s Macbeth – A Tragedy in Steel“ in 2002 and admittedly, I was rather skeptical at the beginning. Two former Grave Digger musicians(Uwe Lulis, guit. und Tomi Göttlich, b.), now performing under the name of Grave Digger’s most popular song name, Rebellion, after they had parted with Grave Digger. Did this work out? It did. The band was complemented by Björn Eilen (guit. ex-Warhead), Randy Black (dr. ex-Annihilator) and singer Michael Seifert (Xiron, Black Destiny) who was relatively unknown at that time. A quintet that promised to deliver Metal on the level, at least on paper. My scepticism was gone as soon as I heard the Rebellion song “The Prophecy”, which was on a sampler of a big German Metal magazine a friend of mine gave me. I was really stoked, and shortly thereafter I went to a concert of Running Wild with this friend. Running Wild were supported by Rebellion. Having been infected irrevocably with the Rebellion virus, I bought their EP and listened to it night and day. Here a roundup of what burst forth from my speakers.

At that time, the famous story of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth“ was the topic of the album, as one could tell by the title. It was a topic that bass player Tomi Göttlich planned on carrying out for several years. This was, regarding the matter, surely not easy, but Rebellion started their career with a sensational bang. Not only is the listener coddled with finest Metal in German manner, the EP also features copious audio drama parts (Tomi Göttlich as MacBeth with a rolling Rrrrr, just wonderful). But let us proceed chronically.

After a short intro in which a narrator (who has appearances after almost every song and thereby furthers the story) gives a short introduction and the witches appear for a first time, („When shall we three meet again? “), the listener is blasted away by „Disdaining Fortune“. A tune that sets high expectations for the next songs. With an incredible heavy and hymnal ambience, the Rebels present a highlight right away. Followed by the brilliant „The Prophecy“ one is tempted to think that things cannot get any better, but then it is the turn of the almost 14- minutes-long „Husbandry in Heaven“, in which the narrator of Lady Macbeth (Francesca Schmidt) sings for the first time. At the latest by now, fans of classical Teutonic Metal will be left stunned. The guitars are shifting from melodic to devastatingly heavy, the bass is grooving decently, the song is pressed ahead by the drums and Seifert’s voice was great, also back then, (here quite often in much higher tessituras than today). At this point one has to note how Seifert progressed from album to album. But this is another story; wait for the next Rebellion special.

With „The Dead Arise“, Rebellion slows down the pace a bit, just to present the next banger, the groovy „Evil Speaks“. In „Revenge“, guitar player Björn Eilen debuts as singer and Seifert and him deliver a veritable voice duel. The two sinister songs „Claws Of Madness“ and „Demon`s Rising“ display the variety in the song -writing skills of the gentlemen Lulis/Göttlich and are further highlights on this EP. This masterpiece is completed with „Die with Harness on Your Back“, which is the only song that is not a hundred per cent convincing. This EP and the following ones are personal productions by Tomi Göttlich und Uwe Lulis. It has been produced in the Black Solaris Studio. The sound of their firstborn is neat and sappy, yet it could be excelled by future releases. All in all it has been a brilliant starter.

Tomi Göttlich: “I remember the first years very well. Uwe and I had to look back on our time at Grave Digger and reappraise things. We met a few times at Frankfurt and gabbed, but we were facing some troubles back then. To a certain extent, this was the fault of Chris (Boltendahl, singer of Grave Digger, editorial). He tried to play us off against each other. But I do not want to air my dirty laundry here. We found out some very interesting things and during the process of working up on our past we became really good friends. One evening we had been drinking and stumbled in the studio. We recorded two songs and I reckon to remember to have sung some awkward guide vocals. One week later we had a business meeting with Boggie (Boss of Drakkar). Surprisingly, Uwe brought the records with him and played them aloud… and bam …we had a record contract but no band.

I had the idea for the concept “Macbeth” with 18 years when I read the book in school. I had already started to write some lyrics. I found these notes when I was working on our concept. I could not use anything but it was interesting to see how long it could take to realise an idea. Actually, I wanted to start with Macbeth after “Tunes of War” and I wanted to do it together with Grave Digger. This would have been great with the possibilities we had and it would have fit to Scotland. But it did not go as I had expected it to go. In retrospect, I am happy that things went how they went. One after another, the members of the “reaper” cast were kicked out of the band. This might sound a little bourgeois but I do not want to make a living out of music these days, so I am pretty happy that I left the band early enough to start a career as a teacher. I have a solid job and can make music how I want.

The recording took a long time. Later I learned that this is the way how Uwe works (it was the same with Arminius…maybe it is my fault…no, I must be wrong). We had planned a huge promo event and journalists from all over Europe had been invited. Back then we had enough money as CDs were still sold. The journalists were waiting for the presentation to begin. Uwe was still mixing the last song while the first one started playing. One has to imagine if something went wrong… Finally, the last song was ready when the penultimate one started to play… I almost died.” Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.