In Extremo (Latin: At the Edge) is a German medieval metal band originating from Berlin. The band's musical style combines metal with medieval traditional songs, blending the sound of the standard rock/metal instruments with historical instruments (such as bagpipes, harp, hurdy-gurdy and shawm). Versions of well-known traditional/medieval ballads make up the main part of their repertoire, but the band has written an increasing share of original material in recent years. Their own material is written in German, whilst the traditional songs are in a variety of languages, including Gaelic, Spanish, English, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, French, Estonian, Galician, Hebrew, Latin, Occitan and Old High German.
In Extremo (abbreviated InEx, or just IE) began as two projects: a nameless, purely medieval band, and a rock band. They became known at that time through frequent appearances at medieval market meetings, at which they performed their acoustic pieces and sold CDs of their renditions of traditional songs. During the recording for the 1995 season, Michael Rhein (alias Das letzte Einhorn, engl. "The Last Unicorn") found the project name "In Extremo," Latin for "At The Edge."
Most of the band members perform under stage names. The initial members of the medieval band were Das letzte Einhorn (engl. "The Last Unicorn," vocals), Flex der Biegsame (engl. "Flex the Flexible," bagpipes), Dr. Pymonte (bagpipes), Conny Fuchs (who left the band before the official release date, due to her pregnancy by Dr. Pymonte) and Sen Pusterbalg (replaced shortly after the official release by Yellow Pfeiffer, engl. "Yellow Piper," bagpipes). The rock band originally consisted of Thomas der Münzer (engl. "Thomas the Coiner," guitar), Der Morgenstern (engl. "The Morning Star," drums), and Die Lutter (engl. "The Lutter," bass guitar). Der Münzer subsequently left the band and, as of 2007, the band's guitarist is Van Lange (engl. "The Long One"). As noted below, almost all of the band members play multiple instruments.
The increasing number of visitors, success of their CDs, and the popular interest, as well as cross-pollination from groups such as Corvus Corax and Bathory, encouraged In Extremo in 1995 to attempt to start a band combining bagpipes and other traditional instruments with rock guitars. The result was the current incarnation of In Extremo, a rock group that integrates modern instruments like the drum set, electric bass and guitar with the acoustic elements previously used for the medieval songs, and which plays both types of music as well as a hybrid of the two.
In August 1996, they began work on the first In Extremo album, which already contained two tracks of the new rock project. Because the album had no official name, it became known as In Extremo Gold because of the golden covers. In February 1997, like the single Der Galgen (engl. "The Gallows"), it quickly sold out in Medieval markets.
In Extremo played separately as a medieval and a rock band, until on March 29, 1997, when they played their first live rock concert. Since that time, they have given this date as their date of establishment. The two projects were officially merged on January 11, 1998. April 1998 saw the first "high occupancy" In Extremo concert in the Rabenstein castle in Brandenburg.
Over the years, their music became more heavy metal based, while at the same time becoming increasingly commercially successful. The classical instruments, however – bagpipes, shawms, and lutes – still play a large role. The band is likewise noted for their conspicuous stage costumes and known for using pyrotechnics in their concerts, including Der Morgenstern playing cymbals which have been set on fire.
On 26 February 2010 In Extremo announced that Der Morgenstern left the band because of musical differences via their homepage. On June 11, Florian "Specki T.D." Speckardt was announced as his replacement on drums. Fanart Banner