Corvus Corax to play Klub Nova Chmelnice

The neo-medieval music band was almost in the pilot for Game of Thrones

German neo-medieval folk band Corvus Corax is promoting its latest compilation album, Ars Mystica – selectio 1989-2016, which features 15 titles of enchanting melodies interwoven with choirs, percussion and orchestration. The band will play at Prague's Klub Nová Chmelnice on May 21. They will also be at the historical festival Valdštejnské Slavnosti in Frýdlant in the Liberec region on May 20.

Although Corvus Corax was shaken with the departure of two of its members early this year, it welcomed a new musician in February and it's ready to tackle the Ars Mystica tour, which will begin in March 17 in Hannover, Germany, and will wrap up in Belmonte's Avalon Summer Faerie Fest, Spain, in June 24.

The band tends to use first names and the current line-up features Castus Rabensang, Harmann der Drescher, Jordon, Vit, Hatz and Frick, the newest member. The band name is the Latin term for the common raven.

Although i Ars Mystica is a compilation of the band's classics, much of the attention in the new album goes to the fourth track called Trioculi, also known as the Game of Thrones' main theme. Corvus Corax was live on the set for the pilot of the acclaimed show as minstrels but their scenes were eventually cut when the show's concept shifted, and the pilot was almost completely reshot. Ars Mystica also includes Is Nomine Vacans from the soundtrack to the video game Gothic 3.

Corvus Corax give an edgy performance combining authentic medieval instruments like bagpipes, monochords and rope-tuned drums with period costumes and choreography. However, described as “probably the loudest unplugged band in the world” on their Facebook page, the group stands closer to the metal scene than to academic reenactments.

“I am not sure about these music style boxes,” percussionist and co-songwriter Harmann der Drescher told PeekABoo Magazine. “I think our music is really different. We are playing medieval music with old instruments … but if anyone wants to call us Neo-Medieval, yeah, whatever.”

Formed in East Germany in 1989 by Castus Rabensang and Wim Venustus, Corvus Corax grew quickly to be a quintet and released its first album called Ante Casu Peccati that same year. They followed with a release every two years until 1995 with Congregatio (1991), Inter Deum Et Diabolum Semper Musica Est (1993) and Tritonus (1995).

In 1996 the band members created a side project called Tanzwut, an industrial folk metal band, and released a successful eponymous album. Tanzwut has released 10 studio albums so far.

“We started to combine our style with the sound of modern music, like industrial or hard techno, but noticed that it would be better to found a new project for that,” der Drescher told music site Metal Kings, “because otherwise we would destroy the basic idea of Corvus Corax.”

From 1996 until now, Corvus Corax has released more than 20 albums, including compilations, live performances and other projects such as Cantus Buranus, which uses the medieval text Carmina Burana but not the Carl Orff music.

The band will tour Germany March and April and will continue with seven European dates in Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, France and Spain.

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