Die Apokalyptischen Reiter - Have A Nice Trip
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death/Folk Metal
14 songs (55:46)
Release year: 2003
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Crims
Album of the month

The worldwide distributors of Reitermania are back, this time on a new label. Perhaps combining even more influences this time around, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter have once again given us a very unique offering that can only be described as the essence of Reitermania.

Those of you unfamiliar with the band might be wondering what the hell I’m talking about. So let me introduce the band to you. Die Apokalyptischen Reiter are of course from Germany, and their name translates to The Apocalypse Riders, which should be rather obvious. They’ve been around since the mid 90’s, with their last CD being released on Hammerheart, entitled All You Need Is Love. All You Need Is Love introduced them to a wider fan base and is much more readily available than their older work. The group is comprised of Eumel, vocals and guitars; Volk-Man, vocals and bass; Dr. Pest, keys; and Sir. G, drums. Even though the band plays aggressive music, the whole concept is very tongue-in-cheek. One look at their album titles and the whole Reitermania thing (just go to their website to learn about that) insures that these guys aren’t really meant to be a serious band as far as image goes, but rather a talented group of musicians who incorporate many influences into their music, while keeping a sense of humor throughout the whole process.

I would say that the actual music on Have A Nice Trip is even better arranged and even more catchy than their previous offering. At its the core, the style can be described as Melodic Death. But the band is much, much more then that. The first rather unique aspect is the keyboard work. While some songs provide somewhat commonplace string synth, the majority of songs feature full time piano in the background. Sure, it’s not Beethoven quality, but the piano adds not only a contrast to the aggressive music, but also melodic textures that stick in your head and they make the atmospheric sections work. Another highlight are the vocals. There are about 4 styles used, the most common being a very well done Melodic Death harsh style; however, clean vocals are also used on a regular basis. The lyrics are almost entirely in German and it sounds great (recall that I love the German language in Metal). The clean singer performs with a lot of emotion and feeling in both a laid back style and a semi-operatic style; the same kind of thing that Till Lindemann from Rammstein does sometimes. Also implemented throughout are folkish passages and themes. For example, we have a track called Baila ConmĂ­go; this song can be best described as a mixing of Metal and traditional Mexican music. Likewise, Fatima has a middle-eastern sound while other tracks have a folk vibe due the percussion style, vocal phrasing, and piano/synth work which at times brings to memory a much heavier and aggressive version of country-mates, Morgenstern. Of course, none of this would mean a thing if it was all jumbled together; instead, the exact opposite effect is created. Every tempo change, atmospheric break, brutal break, and influence usage is well planned and well executed, they really couldn’t have done it much better. Following similar principles of their last release, the Reiter boys also have aggressive and more brutal tracks (though the piano is still present)- in particular the first two songs and tracks 11 and 12. These songs are also very successful as the vocal performances are excellent and the pounding double bass and harsh guitars give us plenty of head banging moments. Sure, some of the melodic leads are present in these 4 songs, as well as some breaks, but overall they have more of an edge than the folkish songs. Also, as an added bonus, one of only two English songs, We Will Never Die, is totally different than the rest and can best be described as a tribute or a mock Power Metal song (depending on your point of view). The lyrics make it very obvious, but the drumming and riffs are pure speedy Power Metal. And you know what, the band pulled it off admirably as it’s not only the most energetic song on the CD, but one of the catchiest.

When all is said and done, I did have a nice trip, that is not in doubt. There is not one other band that sounds like this throughout an entire CD and it’s no surprise, because Die Apokalyptischen Reiter do not sound like themselves throughout the entire CD either thanks to songs like We Will Never Die and Das Paradies, which is perhaps the most atmospheric song on the CD and incorporates surreal synth and vocal melodies. I don’t have any major complaints, but two songs, while not being filler in my mind, are unfortunately a slight drop in quality, but with 14 songs (the bonus track is a cover of the Manowar ballad, Master Of The Wind), the high quality found throughout is commendable. I can see this release not appealing to some people as they may not like the non-metal influences incorporated with the Metal aspects, but if you enjoy Melodic Death Metal and are looking for something unique and varied, look no further than Have A Nice Trip.

Killing Songs :
Every song has highlights, but my favorites are: Vier Reiter Stehen Bereit, Warum?, We Will Never Die, Ride On, Wo Die Geister Ganz Still Ster
Crims quoted 94 / 100
Danny quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Die Apokalyptischen Reiter that we have reviewed:
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter - Samurai reviewed by Jay and quoted 87 / 100
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter - All You Need Is Love reviewed by Marc and quoted 94 / 100
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