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Dice - The Four Riders of the Apocalypse CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.50 | 78 ratings

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5 stars Ambitious and dynamic second entry from these unsung Swedes, Four Riders of the Apocalypse is a dense mass of musical energy not unlike A Passion Play in its bold attempt to fit with the skill of a mortician and finesse of a four-star chef every loose scrap of edible meat and passable backfat into a single delicious galantine. The result is a most imperfect but uniquely satisfying affair. The nausea accompanied by illusions and frequent trips to the toilet later that night are well worth it. You only go around once.

Forget the even then passé arranging in four "suites" (it was a demo from the '70s), the album wouldn't sound any different if it'd been one long piece; 'War' full of military references, marches, fanfares, cadences, salutes, ruffles, and other quotes from martial music. And mid-period ELP, of course. Despite its title, 'Disease' is not sickly but bucolic mixed with wonderfully aimless prog rock led by Leif Larsson's more than capable keys, and reminds somewhat of American proggers Happy the Man. The rhythm section of Fred Vildö & Per Andersson must be commended for holding this potential mess of a record together, turning it into a reality and not just a band having fun. The cut closes on a single organ chord which in turn opens lively 'Greed' overflowing with polyhedral lines and deft playing, these four showing the unmistakable signs of a team committed to, more than anything, playing together. Great track.

Finally big and funereal 'Death' hallows the bitter end with its overdriven mics and near mayhem, and for a moment King Crimson's Red flashes through the synapses. The mix on Four Riders is not great, which is a shame. On the other hand, a perfect recording might have diminished this explosion of marvelous if rushed and deeply flawed rock energy. Who knows. I do know I'm glad they never re-recorded it. Here's hoping they never will.

Atavachron | 5/5 |


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