The Four Riders Of The Apocalypse
01. War (11:00)
a) Ouverture (1:23)
b) Fronts (6:17)
c) Battle (2:37)
d) Deserted Battlegrounds (0:43)
02. Disease (8:07)
03. Greed (7:47)
04. Death (11:53)
a) Requiem (2:10)
b) Dance Of Devils (4:24)
c) Transition (1:08)
d) Heaven (4:11)
- Per Andersson / drums, percussion
- Leif Larsson / keyboards, Mellotron
- Örjan Strandberg / guitars
- Fredrik Vildö / basses, acoustic guitar
DICE released only one studio album back in the late seventies, and this isn't it. This was a demo they recorded but never released at the time, instead they released their self titled debut the year after they recorded this one. "The Four Riders Of The Apocalypse" was finally released as an album in 1992 ! I must admit i've been scratching my head wondering why this wasn't released back in 1977. This is a concept album and also an all instrumental record, except for the bonus track. I was reminded of YES and GENESIS quite a bit, and the star of the show is Leif Larsson who plays some amazing mellotron, synths, piano and organ. I have to say that the bass(Rickenbacker) stands out nicely as well. Two complaints though. First of all the sound quality could be a lot better and second this sounds too familiar much of the time.
We get started with "War (1st Impression)" beginning with "Ouverture" a short piece that really reminds me of ELP, in particular Mr.Emerson. "Fronts" features mellotron as marching style drumming and organ lead the way. It calms right down before rebuilding before 2 minutes back to the organ/drum melody. Whistling is heard as you can imagine the soldiers marching off to war. Another calm as the mellotron flows before 3 1/2 minutes. Guitar becomes prominant after 4 minutes and it reminds me of Howe. Check out the Wakeman-like keyboard work to follow. We are in YES territory folks. "Battle" features a flood of mellotron after a minute. Nice.The pulsating keys recall Banks. So much going on at this point(the battle). Very heavy drums end it. "Deserted Battlegrounds" is a reflective 43 second piece that ends the first impression. "Disease (2nd Impression)" opens with pulsating keys, then the chunky bass arrives, followed by the keys that recall Wakeman again. A calm comes in and this contrast continues. I really like the uptempo section 5 minutes in with mellotron. This is a cool YES flavoured tune.
"Greed (3rd Impression)" opens with organ as guitar, drums and fat bass join in. This track has a lot of energy on it. Some solo piano melodies before 5 minutes before we get back to the collage of intricate sounds. "Death (4th Impression)" like the War impression is divided into 4 parts. It starts with "Requiem" as what sounds like church organ comes powerfully in(hey it's death what did you expect). After some drums and bombast a calm arrives, the mellotron waves the rest of the way are incredible. "Dance Of The Devils" might be the best sounding song on here. It opens with drums, organ and mellotron before it all picks up speed as bass and guitar come in. A change then occurs after 1 1/2 minutes as it settles down even employing a short "In The Mood" interlude for fun. The levity continues until 3 1/2 minutes in when the uptempo melody from earlier comes back to end it. "Transition" is a one minute organ piece that is quite mellow. "Heaven" is the final piece of the concept. It features mellotron and organ that becomes dramatic 1 1/2 minutes in as drums and a fuller sound arrives. The sound calms back down before becoming massive again.