Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Reaper, happy birthday to you-hoo!
This year is the band's 30th anniversary and to celebrate such a milestone the German Metallic quartet have unleashed their fourth studio album. The only mystery is, why have they only released four studio albums in 30 years?!
Apparently the band is shy of lyrics portraying dungeons and dragons, and also detests the idea of producing lyrics in praise of a deity or religion. Instead they are purveyors of words that state in no uncertain terms their aversion to organised religions. Therefore we receive an album title like 'An Atheist Monument' and complete with testosterone-fused attitudes and performances they don't compromise in their delivery.
Article continues below...
The gruff vocal performance of Daniel Zimmermann sits comfortably on the blunt Heavy Metal music backdrop they seem so at ease showcasing. The sound conjures images of eating a tasty burger coated in breadcrumbs which has been burnt on the outside. In other words you get a tasty-ish burger that you're familiar with but the taste is tarnished a little by that burnt flavour.
For some reason, (and I'm still wrestling with what it is that makes me feel this way) I really like this album and the band's full-on delivery. They sound pissed off, and most certainly they crawled out of the wrong side of the bed. The top quality salvo of 'Of Sheep And Shepherds', 'Horse Brigade' and 'Hail The New Age' all provide moments to please. Whether it is the edgy riffs of Benjamin 'Benni' Lodewig or the surprise of a chorus here and there amongst their maelstrom of brutish Metal, they know how to put on a show.
Incidentally, I went searching for the meaning of 'Hetoimasia' and discovered it translates as 'empty throne', and is associated with Roman and Greek times more than other eras from what I could determine.
Highlights including the marching '1943' and the foreboding 'Well Of Poison' are both dirty beasts of Metal and enchant with their dark imagery. 'Fields Of Joy' has been re-recorded for this release and sounds frantic and rapid like it's seeking out a bucket of water because its arse is on fire! Not exactly a top moment concealed within the fabric of the album, but it's no disgrace either.
Final track 'La Tristesse' looms heavily at a little short under eight minutes, lumbering with intent like a slobbering drunk brick-house of a giant. Listen out for the haunting whimsical choral vocal that subtly replies to cries of "The world is dark!" Surprises like this really add kudos to 'An Atheist Monument'.
The album isn't a classic, but it certainly adds some vinegar to your fish and chips. 'An Atheist Monument' is the Heavy Metal equivalent of slug pellets – in other words it is good for the garden and does the job effectively, yet is seen by some as cruel and aggressive.
Whatever your point of view, I wouldn't recommend standing in the way of a Metallic juggernaut that sounds like these guys; they don't know how to stop for pedestrians.
Realms Of Chaos
Of Sheep And Shepherds
Hail The New Age
Well Of Poison
Taste My Revenge
Ship Of Fools
Fields Of Joy [Re-Recorded Version]