REAPER – An Atheist Monument
The fifth studio album from veteran German traditional metal quartet Reaper is an interesting 12 song, 64 minute foray back in time. Remember the days of guitar riffs sending chills down your spine because of the right evil chord combinations? Or a steady back beat rhythmically that wasn’t fancy, adding the appropriate rolls and fills for emphasis on the arrangement at hand? "An Atheist Monument" certainly does – including a vocalist in guitarist Daniel Zimmermann that is a mirror twin to Chris Boltdendahl of Grave Digger , if only a touch clearer.
Sure there are bursts of speed in "Realms of Chaos", cultural marching passages for "Horse Brigade", and even doom elements that recall early Mercyful Fate on "Voice Within" – but overall this has a boatload of classic 1980’s European heritage at the heart of it all, the kind of heads down guitar work and spirited singing that should elicit cheers, fist pumping, and metal signs. Favorites vary depending upon the mood I’m in – the mid-tempo anthem "Taste My Revenge" has a sinister edge, Daniel’s unique throaty warble and occasional screams appropriately aggressive to balance out the thick, raw chord choices and slow, steady double bass action and the almost 8 minute closer "La Tristesse" has some nice classical touches in the instrumental sections.
I would say Reaper works best for those who love Grave Digger’s discography through the decades – along with a pinch of doom. Their first album in five years, "An Atheist Monument" assuredly fits in the heavy metal category.