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Kriegsmaschine > Apocalypticists > Reviews
Kriegsmaschine - Apocalypticists

No solace indeed - 95%

Verifiedhuman, December 28th, 2021

Not having fully recovered mentally after daring a 46-minute nihilistic journey listening to the band's past LP, I decided I'd write an informal review of their arguably best-to-date release that the guys have had so far. Similarly with the previous album, Apocalypticists took me a while to digest. While having received this record way better at the first try as opposed to its predecessor, I still found myself stumbling 3/4 of the path, as the album started to slowly bog down in excessive ambiance. I will touch on that matter later in this review. Apart from the minor nuisances, the album's abundant with substantial, comprehensible vocals, the thrilling in terms of melody and sound guitar work and the DRUMS. Binding it is the inconspicuous bass guitar rumble, tightly locking the rhythm section and laying the foundation for the guitar riffs to rest on. It definitely deserves its own spotlight although obviously not being the most prominent of the instruments on the record.

The drums have been tweaked up a tad and are the crown jewel of the record this time around, both in terms of sound and rhythmic variety. The guitars on the other hand might've lost their higher ground and have somewhat stepped back both in terms of variety and audity - all without the damage to the album's atmosphere. In fact, the album might've actually gained a point or two in terms of ambiance by providing an individual character to each song set by the rhythm work as opposed to the rope abuse that the "shreddy Freddies" like to exploit.

Did I already mention how awesome the drums are on the album? The Prodigy's Liam Howlett would've been proud of the work put in by Darkside. Some parts of the songs truly have a drum'n'bass feel to them which definitely delivers. The album reaches it's peak intensity at around the mid part of the song The Other Death, boggs down and starts subsiding towards the resolution. However great the record's dynamism might've been up to this point, it has to stagnate and turn into this ambient, torpid bridge which concurrently serves as a bridge for the entire album. The rather protracted outro of the song is a thing of subjectivity, it nevertheless flows perfectly to form the intro of the last song of the record which, in turn, regains the tempo and takes the listener for his last ride. It's kind of hard for me to judge this album, for I have listened to it way too many times to simply omit the atmosphere and focus solely on the characteristics of its parts, forget picking at the song structure.

I dare say that everyone should make conclusions for themselves best they can. It's perhaps crystal clear that the aftertaste of this truly dark and ambient piece of musical art will be there to stay for anyone caring to give the record a spin, and the enchanting melodies will urge the casual listener to return to the journey he had once undertaken. Combine that with a moody, drizzly Autumn afternoon and get a perfect match for a thrilling experience of the dark metal art that will leave no one released.

Drumming masterclass - 93%

MikeyC, January 19th, 2019

This band has come a long way in their career. After the well-received debut album Altered States of Divinity, the band took a 9 year break before releasing the second album Enemy of Man. In that period the band members’ other band Mgła had taken off and recorded two albums in that time, both of which have received pretty positive reception. Once Kriegsmaschine came back, it seemed clear that they wanted to differentiate the two bands, and Enemy of Man saw the band move into a more rhythm-centric style of black metal. Now, on their third album Apocalypticists, that style has been upped yet again and I reckon this band is going from strength to strength because of it.

Of course, comparisons to the sister band Mgła are inevitable. The two members here are also in that band, and play a similar style of dissonant black metal. There is a distinct difference between the two bands, though. Mgła’s style is a lot more hard-hitting with crazy blasting permeating the dissonant riffing. Here, the emphasis on groove is ratcheted up, mostly by way of the drumming. Instead of feeling like you’re getting hypnotised by repeated riffs, a trait that Mgła uses and makes them sound good, Kriegsmaschine opts for the intricacies of the music, the subtler side of this style of black metal. You don’t feel like you’re getting rigorously pounded. More like…rigorously massaged. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me?

Like a good massage, the flow of this album is something to behold. Each song has its own identity, but the album as a whole is interconnected and well organised. The 50 minutes fly by, which is a testament to how appealing each track is, and how it all comes together. It has extensive replayability and listening to the album twice back-to-back wouldn’t be exhausting.

I mentioned the drumming being the main instigator of the groovy, rhythmic feeling of the music, but it can’t be emphasised enough. The percussion here has an almost blackened jazz feel to it throughout a lot of the album. With not a blast beat in sight over the album’s 50 minute run-time, drummer Darkside fills that void with amazing cymbal patterns (see “The Pallid Scourge” for wonderful jazz flair on the ride) and lots of tom fills that don’t just accentuate the beat, because they are the beat (“Lost in Liminal”). He also has no problem switching to something straighter, such as “Apocalypticists” and mostly seen in the song “The Other Death,” which is about as close to a blast beat as the album gets, but even then the drumming still has flair to it with its subtle hits and ghost notes in between the snare hits. This shows a great songwriting skill to make each song interesting, versatile, and coherent all in one breath, and the drumming brings this all together in one awesome package. It also shows the chops of Darkside, cultivating his creativity and shows he’s not just a one-trick-blasting-pony.

With the brilliant performance from the drumming, and the fact that Apocalypticists has decided to bring more emphasis on the percussive groove element, it’s obvious that the drumming takes centre stage and the dissonant riffs are relegated to a secondary instrument. That’s not to say the riffs here are sub-standard, or unimportant in the progression of the album. They keep things rolling along with their droning patterns. The opening riff to “Apocalypticists” is quite nice and sets a great mood for the rest of the song. The vocals are the same as what’s presented in Mgła – throaty yells that give the album a harsh quality to it, but still works well in tandem with the music. Lyrically, the band talk about cryptic subjects that appear to have their bases rooted in Nietzscheism, although if anyone can get a better grasp on what the hell they’re talking about, I’m willing to hear it out. What I do know is that it does give the album an extra dimension on its bleakness, which fits the musical motif.

Again, though, the drumming is the main drawcard to this album, and I implore anyone that enjoys intricate and flowing drums in their music to check this out. Kriegsmaschine have evolved quite nicely since their early days and this is a wonderful direction for them to be heading in. One of the best albums of 2018 and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the future.