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Die Apokalyptischen Reiter - The Divine Horsemen review




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Reviewer:
8.5

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6.71
Band: Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Album: The Divine Horsemen
Release date: July 2021


Disc I
01. Tiki
02. Salus
03. Amma Guru
04. Inka
05. Nachtblume
06. Aletheia
07. Duir
08. Children Of Mother Night

Disc II
01. Uelewa
02. Haka
03. Siimbi Mayka
04. Wa He Gu Ru
05. Akhi
06. Ymir
07. Eg On Kar


Where? A cabin in Germany. Who? A highly unpredictable metal outfit. What? Jamming from scratch. When? Two days before a double album was recorded. How? Beats me.

Due to permanent allocation for literally any lyrics, useless Pokémon trivia, and increasingly surreal physics, my memory is getting spottier. However, I think it was 15 years since a double album I truly enjoyed was released (yes, Therion's Gothic Kabbalah is still a banger). On account of the notorious production details and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter being a notably zany and versatile band, I was certain only that The Divine Horsemen would make for an interesting review.

Sure, I have known this band for long enough to expect the unexpected. Many of their works are exercises in suspension of disbelief. Blackened death metal sits secondary to piano driven neo-classica, Scandinavian tones and psychedelic drones on All You Need Is Love, hooky hard rock snuggle with brutal death on Samurai, and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter generally have been giving Faith No More a run for their genre-bending money The Divine Horsemen's first six minutes of increasingly tribalistic grooves and growls might not win over any new worshippers, but a few minutes into the first of the album's longer cuts, "Inka", I realised I was in for something special, and after the hackneyed death metal mantra of "Nachtblume", the drums went all ritualistic, the vocals went from serene to paroxysmal, the bass and guitars went from fuzzy flourishes to something of a Tool jam turned up to eleven, the keyboards went from lounge jazz to buzzing drones and classy symphonics... Yeah, halfway through "Aletheia", it all went from softly folky, atmospheric jazz to tectonic post-death metal, and I went all giddy.

The short, violent interlude tracks are a confusing touch, but at least they are not entirely forgettable, and while seemingly haphazardly sprinkled through the tracklist, they add a certain something. I don't know, really. They might be forgettable, after all. Whatever, the longer songs on here are what's really up. Ominous didgeridoos give way to a sort of Rotting Christ war groove on "Aletheia". "Duir" alternates between soothing and scary for 13 minutes while somehow seeming not even half that long. "Children Of Mother Night" comes off as a well-planned gothic ballad. "Ymir" is a menacing outburst of ice-cold black metal that makes me wonder if there is any limit to this band's range of emotions. I will die with the sublime guitar hook carrying the latter half of "Uelewa" still gored deep into my brains. If you feel like whetting your appetite, just listen to "Uelewa", because that shit's simply the shit.

An improvised double album couldn't ever be flawless, but that's not the point here. I can only imagine the atmosphere going on in that cabin for two days. It must have been something spiritual, and it rubs off. Yeah, you'll need some patience, and an open mind. I have little of the former, but more of the latter, and against all odds, I replay this double album over and over again. I don't have the patience for most albums that will not fit on one vinyl disc, but the stars must be aligned or some such, because The Divine Horsemen simply slays. Twenty turns and thirty hours later, it still slays. Credit where credit is due, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter are, in hindsight, unhinged enough to have been able to make this insane idea work in their favour. I am glad they did.

Oh, and that's some real smooth cover art. It actually describes the music on display here better than I just did: silky smooth, yet jarringly jagged. Turn off the lights, turn off your phone notifications, turn on, tune in, and drop out to this confusing, beautiful mess of an album, and Have A Nice Trip.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Production: 9





Written on 11.07.2021 by Slam an axe into your boat, then row for your life.


Comments

Comments: 10   Visited by: 106 users
11.07.2021 - 21:23
nikarg
Mod
Nice review, man, made me check this out today. Interesting album and also quite engaging despite the length, due to the different styles and the variety in songwriting. Warrants repeated listens because there is an awful lot going on here.
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11.07.2021 - 23:49
Uxküll

Their best album in a while, 8/10 for me.
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"Nullum unquam exstitit magnum igenium sine aliqua dementia [there was never great genius without some madness]."

Best of Metal A-Z: http://metalstorm.net/users/lists.php?user_id=158339
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12.07.2021 - 05:06
Lifdrasir

Oh, I totally forgot these guys just released a new album. Thanks for reviewing it, since I like how varied and entertaining their work is, and it seems it's still that way
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17.07.2021 - 02:11
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by nikarg on 11.07.2021 at 21:23

Nice review, man, made me check this out today. Interesting album and also quite engaging despite the length, due to the different styles and the variety in songwriting. Warrants repeated listens because there is an awful lot going on here.

Glad you liked it! Length is usually a big issue for me, but it doesn't feel like such a long one, somehow. Maybe those death interludes serve some purpose after all. Be sure to check out some of their earlier albums (spot that namedrop), if you haven't. Their discography is... colourful, heh.

Written by Uxküll on 11.07.2021 at 23:49

Their best album in a while, 8/10 for me.

Agreed, it's the best one in at least , incidentally, the 15 years since Riders On The Storm. Think I'll revisit that one right about... now.

Written by Lifdrasir on 12.07.2021 at 05:06

Oh, I totally forgot these guys just released a new album. Thanks for reviewing it, since I like how varied and entertaining their work is, and it seems it's still that way

You're welcome! I've been keeping a lazy eye on the band for many years since the latest albums have been... well, not as varied as they used to. I'm happy they're back in weird action, heh.
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24.07.2021 - 10:19
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Just when I think I know what this album is on, it sweeps the rug from under my feet.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


2021 goodies
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24.07.2021 - 11:21
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by RaduP on 24.07.2021 at 10:19

Just when I think I know what this album is on, it sweeps the rug from under my feet.

That's pretty much on par for many DAR albums. I'll pester you with some Ye Good Olde DAR in an arbitrary future, but All You Need Is Love and Riders On The Storm would be their best ones. This one is up there too.
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24.07.2021 - 11:57
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Netzach on 24.07.2021 at 11:21

That's pretty much on par for many DAR albums. I'll pester you with some Ye Good Olde DAR in an arbitrary future, but All You Need Is Love and Riders On The Storm would be their best ones. This one is up there too.

I got both of the in a queue I'm listening to today, along with Licht.
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


2021 goodies
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24.07.2021 - 12:06
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by RaduP on 24.07.2021 at 11:57

Written by Netzach on 24.07.2021 at 11:21

That's pretty much on par for many DAR albums. I'll pester you with some Ye Good Olde DAR in an arbitrary future, but All You Need Is Love and Riders On The Storm would be their best ones. This one is up there too.

I got both of the in a queue I'm listening to today, along with Licht.

Switch the rather forgettable Licht for Have A Nice Trip and you got a pretty good plan there.
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24.07.2021 - 19:31
winne007

Wow ! Its really good and not to smooth...
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<-winne007->
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25.07.2021 - 01:12
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by winne007 on 24.07.2021 at 19:31

Wow ! Its really good and not to smooth...

And made in only two days, some real "fly on the wall" shit.
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