I mention COVID almost in every review and I fully understand that it bothers the readers, not to mention that I also tired from this but what can I do if this topic still vital, the world still fighting with the disease and further we will deal with the consequences for a long time? With this, I more and more respect musicians that used lockdowns to create and record some new music. Die Apokalyptischen Reiter also released their new album, The Divine Horsemen, which was recorded in the second half of 2020.
Actually, the new record reminds experiment more than an album. In September 2020 the band locked themselves in the rehearsal room with sound engineers and technicians to record about 500 minutes of improvisation without some preparing or rehearsals. 80 minutes of this music became The Divine Horsemen.
“Five friends making music together, letting themselves go, reveling in the past and experimenting without limitations. Without rehearsal, composition or reflection: music in its most primordial form, only intended for the moment, – comments the band on a new album, – Are we still able to be the small, wild boys of the past, who have become men with a history by now? Can we destroy and resurrect ourselves within just a few hours? Just like old times when we didn’t know anything about music, and there wasn’t any right or wrong, no good nor evil. “
You never know what to expect from Die Apokalyptischen Reiter: music changed rapidly from album to album and sometimes in one longplay. It is only exacerbated on a new release and you can’t guess what will be the next song. Starting with the Groove Metal and a sort of shamanic motives alternating with screams (“Tiki”), which remind Sepultura‘s Roots a lot, the album continues with short and furious bursts of Death Metal (“Salus”, “Amma Guru”) and suddenly turns to a nine-minutes improvisation “Inka” with lots of synths and weird sounds. However, the Groove with Tribal instruments and a lot of improvisation take 80% of the album but there are some exceptions, of course.
Some distinct nods to Black Metal can be heard in “Nachtblume” and “Ymir”. If there is only a dark wrath in “Nachtblume”, emphasized with brutal riffs and blast beats, “Ymir” is more Symphonic Black, adding some sublimity to the darkness.
The longest song in the album, “Duir” (more than 12 minutes), just like “Inka” sounds as a very atmospheric jam session in the beginning, with lots of weird sounds, piano and something else. In the second half it finally takes a form of a song (in a way), pretty simple ballad, but soon jaw harp joins other instruments and it turns into improvisation one more time.
“Simbi Makya” is also interesting in its own way: atmospheric sounds change with some weird guitars and organs from 60s, some kind of Psychedelic like The Doors, which was entirely unexpected even from Die Apokalyptischen Reiter.
“Akhi” is also worth to mention, with its shimmering synth, oriental melodies and vocals, which alternates shamanic chants with oriental singing. At the same time “Wa He Gu Ru” suddenly too melodic and too rhythmical for this album, reminding more Goth or even Post Metal.
As I said earlier, The Divine Horsemen is an experiment or an 80-minutes long jam session if you want and it is interesting in its capacity of experiment. There is no hit song at all and even more: you will hardly remember something when the last song will end – there is too much of everything here and it all changes too rapidly and too unpredictable. However, if we look on this album as a manifestation of boundless freedom of art, in the moment “here and now” it can be captivating enough. I think, the band strived to make exactly that (however, I can’t be sure at all).
The Divine Horsemen was released on July, 2 via Nuclear Blast.
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