Title: Der Schnitter
Release Date: 26th June 2015
Label: Infacted Recordings
“Now you'll get serious topics again: Satan, sex and darkness”. No, that's not a quote from a film or a short, self-chosen description of the new REAPER single ‘Der Schnitter’ but a line from precisely that song. This might be incomprehensible for many but when one looks at the band creation as a kind of fun project by Vasi Vallis with which he wants to run riot creatively and play with the usual clichés in the industrial-harsh-electro-scene or however you want to call that child it's definitely a reason to chuckle.
I have to admit when I listened to the song for the first time I was a bit surprised because I actually expected an electronic version of the ‘Schnitterlied’ which is a few centuries old. This would have been too easy since so many dark bands have already referred to the ‘Schnitter’ or the ‘Schnitterlied’. I will help those who don't know by now what a Schnitter is: The Schnitter is death. In combination with the band name REAPER which means quite the same it's a second reason for me to chuckle. ‘Der Schnitter’ builds on what one is used to from Vallis. A catchy melody to hum along turns a part into an earworm because it reminds a bit of a children's song or music box and is repeated by synths. Even if one won't like the single one will definitely keep this part in one's head and hum it.
The beginning of the first mix, ‘Der Schnitter (mit der Sense)’ reminds a bit of techno music in the early 2000s. The repetition of fragments reinforces all of that until the song becomes a kind of “REAPER meets SKRILLEX”. Not my taste and not danceable for me until 3.10 minutess. Then, the catchy children-song-like melody comes back and so does my motivation to dance. The following mix is embellished by Henrik Iversen's vocals and is not called ‘beim Trinken mit Henrik Iversen’ (Eng.: ‘while drinking with Henrik Iversen’) without reason because it does not only contain the extraordinary voice of the NAMNAMBULU singer but also a completely new text. One wouldn't have expected neither Henrik Iversen nor a new text so this way, Vasi Vallis and Gregor Beyerle catered for a second surprise. I am still uncertain whether I find Henrik's voice fitting or whether I like him better in less aggressive music. He certainly diversifies the single and the edited and very technically sounding vocals of the “original” track are replaced by his wonderful vocals.
I find the SKYLA VERTEX mix very, very danceable and I think that it may not only be played in scene clubs. Everything sounds less “scene”. This probably fits to the band's description on their Facebook page where they define their music as “electronic music which is not fixed to a specific genre”. The ‘Vasi Break the Rules’ mix catered for the greatest surprise and a huge laugh. Some will find this mix particularly terrible, some others will shake their heads and some, perhaps partygoers who are completely alien to the scene will celebrate the song. Those who don't like rap should perhaps skip the mix because that which will blast through your ears reminds of a mix of Boomfunk MC's and THE PRODIGY. It hasn't been revealed who the rapper is. Top secret. But this song has an incredibly high value of entertainment and good fun. I found the last mix on the single with the title ‘Der Schnitter im Club mit der Sense’ audible but not particularly exciting – but the minutes before offered enough surprises for the ears.
I think that one always has a pre-shaped imagination of how a band must and should always sound like. REAPER do what they want and I like that. I approached the new single with a certain expectation and expected more “Hell Starts with an H”. More clichés, more blood, more film quotes – like in the previous years. REAPER have regarded the scene with a wink already back then and portrayed everything in an exaggerated way – while conforming to the scene. Vasi Vallis and Gregor Beyerle take what they can in 2015 and mix it with stuff they love. Gregor Beyerle said in an interview a few months ago that the scene music will not develop unless one is open to new styles. REAPER have proven that they can do that. To interpret one and the same song in different directions has a very high value of entertainment and fun, whether one likes this development or not is a different question.
Those who expect hell, horror film quotes and the pure evil are completely misled by ‘Der Schnitter’, those who can admit to themselves and their friends that they secretly listen to Dubstep from time to time and to the Dreamdance CDs from 2002 to 2008 in their car and who approach the new work with “I expect entertainment, fun and electronic sounds” will definitely enjoy themselves. In the end, REAPER will certainly have a lot of fun while reading the reactions to ‘Der Schnitter’, they had fun during the production, mixing styles and overcoming genre borders. While the band was considered industrial in 2008 they can be found under “miscellaneous pop” nowadays or to my greatest delight under “experimental hip hop from California” at www.grooves-inc.de. Vasi Vallis, Gregor Beyerle: You have to explain quite a bit in the near future and until then, please work on a record which is at least as unpredictable and borderless as ‘Der Schnitter’. The CD is limited to 500 copies.
01. Der Schnitter (im Club)
02. Der Schnitter (mit der Sense)
03. Der Schnitter (beim Trinken mit Henrik Iversen)
04. Der Schnitter (by Skyla Vertex)
05. Der Schnitter (Vasi breaks the rules)
06. Der Schnitter (im Club mit der Sense)
Total: 8.5 / 10
Written by Josie Leopold, translation by Alex UltraRiot