Genre: Neofolk / Martial Pop
Der Arbeiter is one of the few neofolk / martial orchestral projects to emerge from South America. Der Arbeiter is the musical project of Juan A who is based in Santiago Chile. Juan self describes the music of Der Arbeiter as military pop and professes to draw inspiration from the likes of Death In June, Allerseelen, and eighties synthpop. This unusual mixture of militaristic folk and eighties style electronic pop with a dash of Mediterranean styling makes for an interesting *censored*tail of postindustrial music. Der Arbeiter has managed to offer an original and unique offering born from an unexpected union of pop and martial music influences.
Der Arbeiter has made some quite prominent appearances on neofolk and martial compilations such as “Wir Rufen Deine Wölf”, “Hopes Die In Winter”, and “Gloria Victis, Vae Victis.” Der Arbeiter’s first full-length CD recording “Reflejos del Sol” is offered by Divine Comedy records of France and follows two CD-R releases by the band. “Reflejos del Sol” features ten songs that travel through a myriad of music styles including minimalist synthpop, martial toned anthems and neoclassical tinged ballads. The lyrics on “Reflejos del Sol” are in Spanish and are based upon the works of poets Hölderlin, Rilke, Meister Eckhart, Miguel Serrano and others.
“Reflejos del Sol” begins with the song “Eterno Amor.” “Eterno Amor” launches with pinging electronics echoing across cold atmospheres. The song quickly picks up with a simplistic electronic beat and eerie elongated drones. The beats are reminiscent of early techno music while the quivering drone adds an industrial mood to the song. Muted male vocals recite a single phrase in the background while piano chords play and fall away like intermittent raindrops. The songs rudimentary elements are nicely merged into a moody electronic song that is somewhere between ambient music and pop techno. With a length of almost eight minutes, “Eterno Amor” becomes quite hypnotic as it carefully evolves and mutates.
Song number six titled “ Patmos” illustrates the more orchestral side of Der Arbeiter as the band delivers a stronger more martial sound amidst the electronic pop. “ Patmos” begins with a female voice reciting spoken word in German. An ominous drone builds behind the woman’s voice accompanied by a solo piano that plays reflective chords. The mellow serenity of the song fades when heavy electronic beats, thunderous martial drums and orchestral symphonic elements permeate the track. “ Patmos” quickly evolves from its reflective beginnings into a martial pop anthem defined by electronic beats that cruise across expanding drones driven by drum machine, and martial drums. The mood of the song is quite interesting as it never abandons the listener to total martial immersion but rather flirts between martial and pop sensibilities.
Track nine titled “Haunebu!” shows yet another side of Der Arbeiter as Juan peels back the pop symphonics and delves into a darker musical terrain. “Haunebu!” begins with rapid acoustic drumming reminiscent of shamanic drumming. The steady drumbeat is slowly joined by simplistic organ music that plays one note at a time in a long procession of wandering notes. The drumming and organ are accomapnied by harshly whispered male vocals and various industrial and electronic sounds that emerge and retreat into the gloomy ambience of the song. The sparkling sound of chimes and secondary drumming appear throughout the song adding to the ritualistic tone of the music. “Haunebu!” is a nice juxtaposition to the brighter more pop oriented songs on the album. It would be encouraging to hear more of a balance between the dark ritualistic side of Der Arbeiter and the more pop tinged music that defines most of the album.
Der Arbeiter “Reflejos del Sol” is an interesting album that has shown bravery where many others would cower. Merging elements of martial industrial music and with techno and synthpop influences takes some foresight and courage. “Reflejos del Sol” is a pleasant addition to the neofolk and martial music genre though hardcore martial music fans may find the release not Wagnerian enough. If you are looking to explore a new facet of martial music and you do not cringe at the idea of the marriage of martial anthems and pop electronics then try out Der Arbeiter and discover this new arena of martial pop.