Neo-folk artist ROME hails from Luxembourg, and is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Jérôme Reuter. Rome started out back in 2005, and have been a productive project ever since, with a dozen studio albums out in addition to live albums and EP’s. The single “Hinter den Mauern der Stadt” was released towards the tail end of 2019 through German label Trisol Music Group.

The A side of this single is perhaps the most interesting one, a cover version of a song first recorded and released by German punk band Die Skeptiker back in 1991. Reuter decided to have his own take on this song, and accompanying him on this is the original vocalist from Die Skeptiker, Eugen Balanskat.

There isn’t all that much punk to be found on this version of the song. Instead it has been developed into a vocals driven affair using melodic, powerful and at times melodramatic vocals to drive the song, with Reuter and Balanskat alternating on having the lead role and joining together in duet sections when appropriate. Delicate instrument details and sound effects are used as the initial backing, slowly developing into something of a blend between Neo-classical music and rock music with orchestral surges being a key backing element. A solid performance, and one I surmise is rather different from the original.

The B side track here is one of Reuter’s own, and a song written with German lyrics, which makes it a good fit for this single release. Musically this is more in line with what fans of Rome might expect I guess, using Neo folk idioms and dark ambient textures to create an ominous core arrangement, and switching over to more of an accessible and captivating momentum with a pop/rock flair for the chorus section. A solid and captivating tune of the kind that should have a rather broad appeal.

For those who know, love and treasure rock music blended with Neo-classical music and Neo-folk music respectively, this is a fine and solid single that should please those with an affection for these types of music. As both songs feature German lyrics, I surmise that the key market for this single will be the small handful of European nations where German is an official language.

My rating: 80/100


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