If modern metal was a theme park, Sweden’s Reaper would be a breakneck roller coaster known for lopping off careless riders’ hands. The duo make harsh, charging thrash that feels duly reverent to old gods like Bathory, Nifelheim, and Absu; at the same time, their sound’s reeling evil keeps them from being a total tribute act, putting them alongside scene outliers like Rebel Wizard and Bonehunter. The end product is fearless, no-holds-barred extreme speed metal that’ll have fans of all things grody and deranged throwing themselves into the full-body frenzy of it all.
With The Atonality of Flesh, Reaper have brought this sound to a fevered pitch. On tracks like “The Sweetness of the Wound” and “Raid the Heavens,” the band build steepled cathedrals with their sound only to tear them down in a whirlwind of fire and urine. The guitar tone is crunchily distorted but never without its electrified wail, the vocals are rasped through mouthfuls of contempt, and the drums gallop with the fatal fury of a shroomed-up berserker. The album is a gift to all the rabid speedfreaks out there who want something acidic-yet-killer to drown out the candy-coated chatter of the world.
Before blasting our exclusive advance stream of The Atonality of Flesh, we caught up with the band to discover what makes them tick, rage, and spew…
How do you feel the band’s sound has grown between 2019’s Unholy Nordic Noise and The Atonality of Flesh?
We try our best to keep as far as possible from that aspect of the craft. You know…refinement, progress, change…afterthought. But with that said, and out of the way, it’s also true that you always lose if you try. Whatever it is that you try. So, growth, change (whatever you wanna call it)…sure, I guess it’s there if you look close. Some things are a little faster, others a bit slower. Hell, we even got some blastbeats going this time around. The overall basis is still firmly rooted in the same primal sources. At least, that’s what we wanna think.
How soon after Unholy… was released did you begin working on this record?
We started working on it more or less at the same time that we finished the recording of the previous one. The initial plan was to record an EP of material to be released rather quickly after the release of Unholy Nordic Noise. But one track lead to the other, and so forth…It went fast. Just like the last time. Before we knew it, there it was, the new full-length album.
Is there a track on here that you’re most excited for fans to blast?
Several I should say, but the first one that comes to mind is “Rise Epimetheus.” It’s more on the sluggish and ponderous side. It’s a rather new take on things when it comes to Reaper. But instead of doing the rather obvious full-on Winter/Black Flag thing, we decided to compress the whole ordeal down to just about two minutes. Heavy, slow…and short.
Between the name of your 2018 demo Ravenous Storm of Piss and “Piss, Bile, and Violence,” you seem to have a love of urine. How much does that factor into your personal life?
Very few things in Reaper are being referenced on the basis of love. Things more often gets mentioned as they in one way or another portray things we see, the world…people. And for the moment, nothing says more of our contemporary times as the putrid stench of piss. It would, however, be quite a piquant detail if we were genuinely more of the Mike Patton type, but alas no… we’re not. But as mentioned before, life’s piss.
Check out our advanced stream of Reaper’s The Atonality of Flesh below:
Reaper’s The Atonality of Flesh drops Friday, March 19th, via Iron Bonehead, and is available for preorder.
Words by Chris Krovatin