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German metal band Die Apokalyptischen Reiter (roughly, "the Horsemen of the Apocalypse") formed in 1995. Comprised of Patrick Fuchs, Skelleton, Volk-Man, and Dr. Pest, the group recorded its first demo tape, Firestorm, that same year, resulting in a deal with Ars Metalli Records to release an expanded edition in 1997 titled Soft and Stronger. In the wake of 1999's Allegro Barbaro, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter shifted away from the melodic death metal of previous efforts to the more epic and atmospheric approach first introduced via 2000's Hammerheart-issued All You Need Is Love. The 2003 Nuclear Blast label debut, Have a Nice Trip, further refined the formula, boosting Fuchs' vocals in the mix and emphasizing more structured melodies and rhythms. After mounting their first headlining tour, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter traveled to Denmark to record the 2004 LP Samurai. Another strong commercial showing, it set the stage for 2006's Riders on the Storm, which debuted in the German Top 40. On 2008's Licht (Light), the band shifted its linguistic focus -- where previous recordings had featured lyrics in both German and English, Licht was recorded exclusively in German. Again they ran up the German charts, and followed up later that year with the live album Tobusucht-Reitermania, a summation of Die Apokalyptischen Reiter's career to date. After a two-year layoff, the band issued its first new studio collection in three years with 2011's Moral and Wahnsinn, which also appeared on the Nuclear Blast imprint. ~ Jason Ankeny