Vera : We are more than ever truly impressed by Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. It is true, their gigs have always been a hilarious happening and earlier albums like ‘Riders On The Storm’, when they still were heavier with black/death and folk elements, surely impressed us. On the other hand their latest album ’Moral & Wahnsinn’ included top notch songs with a smoother approach. But now the five-piece hailing from Weimar (south of Berlin, former DDR) has really surpassed themselves. They have worked two years on different locations (see interview) to give carte blanche to inspiration. And the band itself announces: “Stagnation is boring, we want the freedom to express ourselves without boundaries or genres”. And they really do, on two albums. ‘Tief’ is an electrical driven manifest and ‘Tiefer’ happens to be a mainly acoustic statement with some new songs and sophisticated interpretations of older work. It resulted in a comprehensive adventure that was engendered in the south of Berlin, in Czech Republic and along the coastline of the USA.
A title like ‘Freiheit, Geleichheit, Brüderlichkeit’ is common knowledge, since it also appears on French coins. However, in this case it is a song with a fetching chorus, while heavy riffs and rough vocals prevail. This song has the nearest approach to the familiar DAR sound, with social criticism in its rebellious lyrics (watch the video). Mark the charming rhythm tandem of drummer Sir G. and bassist Volk-Man, musicians we want to put in the spotlight as well. Nobody can ignore the playful performances of keyboardist Dr. Pest. He put his mark on compositions such as ‘Wir’ (sung with low-pitched voice and heavy rocking) and the tight-as-hell ‘Wo Es Dich Gibt’. Fuchs on the other side shows his versatile vocal skills in the partly emotive, partly rough sung ‘Was Bleibt Bin Ich’ which brims with tightness. A perfect example of emotions and rigorous tactics might be found in ‘Ein Leichtes Mädchen’. Initially the vocals are sensitive, while the instrumental background appears to be quite smooth, but it goes powerful in crescendo towards a mighty outburst with a fervent guitar solo. The fragility of our existence is nicely illustrated in the piano ballad ‘Ein Vöglein’ with captivating spoken passage. How can we blend My Dying Bride guitar riffs with crooner chants? The Reiters do it in ‘Es Wird Nacht’, while the heavy background explodes with momentum. This is crafted with ultimate precision, an amalgamation of all kinds of influences from metal and lighter rock. Next comes ‘Die Wahrheit’: wild rocking with powerful vocals and jumping riffs that always stop for a second before cut loose again. Mark the eccentric wah-wah solo and vigorous drums of Sir G. He also introduces the gothic tinged ‘2 Teufel’ that has fetching rhythms and smoothness. ‘Die Welt Ist Tief’ goes for inciting rock/metal with a mandolin as additional charm, while the deep vocals create any menacing atmosphere, yet the swinging rhythm accentuates the catchiness of the chorus. Storytelling chants with gracious guitar ornaments are the beginning of ‘So Fern’, a song with howling guitars and brutal eruptions, one more time melodic yet powerful.
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter have recently done some acoustic gigs. This resulted in the initiative to dive deeper into that side of the band. Nevertheless they are not planning to turn the compositions into simple campfire songs. That’s what we learn when listening to ‘Tiefer’, a collection of three new songs plus revisited versions of earlier material. They have a proper mutual diversity. On one side they are stripped down to the essence, but on the other hand they are enriched with new, completely different arrangements. In brief… how a band manages to rewrite their history in the shadow of its long time existence… ‘Die Zeit’ is a new song, perfect to introduce us to this side of the musical spectrum. A familiar sounding melody and acoustic guitars embrace this kind of sound we expected in this respect. But we did not expect things like the seventies percussion (Santana) in ‘Der Weg’ or fusion elements in the guitar skills. What about the horns that leaps to the eye in the playful intro and bass intermezzo of ‘Friede Seit Mit Dir’? Again adventurous, ‘Flieg, Mein Herz’ is transformed into a sensitive song, including flirts with other genres without boundaries. True goose-bumps pop up while listening to the intense and sublimely sung ‘Das Paradies’ and next in the by strings graced ‘Die Leidenschaft’. Eternal glory for this! On the other hand an occasional party moment takes place. ‘Auf Die Liebe’ is a cheerful song that will lead to grandiose bacchanalia during live shows. Nothing more or less, yet we prefer the devilish, minatory elocution in ‘Der Wahnsinn’ which we praise for its dramatic value and the occluding track ‘Terra Nola’ in which semi spoken voices lead us towards a manifest of melancholy while looking back at the wealthy history of Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. Soaring violins are the epilogue from this diverse work that goes far beyond our expectations, but once more it will stand the test of time as manifest from a band that does everything to surpass the limitations of rudimentary metal. We can only sincerely praise them for this!