Riders of the Apocalypse
posted on 9/2004 By:
Demonoid has unleashed the Riders of the Apocalypse upon us all, and the journey to damnation will leave you battered, broken, spent, and absolutely fucking satisfied. Demonoid is a new project of Therion members Christofer Johnson (vocals), Kristian Niemann (guitar), and Johan Niemann (bass), with ex-Chimaira drummer Rickard Evensand. Kristian Niemann has apparently been wanting to develop a project to produce more brutal music for some time, but it took a couple of failed attempts before he finally got it off the ground. The goal was to combine old school death metal with super aggressive thrash and add some modern black metal touches. They’ve definitely hit the bull’s-eye. This is death thrash the way it should be played.
Right from the intro of the first track the band sets a tone that they maintain throughout the album, and one that many bands struggle to match. That is, they play with a tremendous amount of immediacy and energy. The music is bristling with it. It's like when you hear a band perform the first song of their live set, and they speed up the song and play with such energy that it feels like rather than trying to simply entertain the crowd, they want to connect with the audience by getting right into the crowd—right there in the middle of the pit. Balls out, my friends. It’s the stuff that makes that “fuck yeah!” tingle run right down your spine.
The presentation is top class. The cover art is cool as hell, the production is wonderful, and the concept of the album is well developed and interesting. Demonoid have used the biblical story of the Four Riders of the Apocalypse and added some fictional and historical elements to tell the tale of man’s crimes and repeated punishments over the centuries. I don’t need to tell you that we continue to fuck things up on Earth, and finally, all four horsemen are summoned to come all at once and drive man from the earth by bringing an apocalypse of war, plague, starvation, and death.
The musicianship is excellent. The riffs are heavy, thick and headbangingly thrash rich, while the melodies and fluttering leads showcase equal measures of melody and technical skill. Christofer Johnson gives a very strong performance of fierce vocals, and the rhythm section holds it all together and provides plenty of pummeling punishment. The opening songs are all killers. “Firestorm” and “War Gods” utilize tremendously heavy thrash riffs and furious drumming, while “Witchburners” employs a buoyant crunchy groove. “14th Century Plague” is a slower track, and its plodding tempo provides some variety, but all in all it is a somewhat weaker song. It is followed by the smoking “Hunger My Consort,” which is a more dynamic track featuring some outstanding guitar work from Kristian Niemann. By this point in the album the riders are being summoned, and their appearance in “Arrival of the Horsemen” is one of the best moments on the album. The track opens with some slower ominous building guitar melodies before launching into a breakneck pace. It’s a “The Hellion/Electric Eye” type transition, and has the same impact. The final tracks, the melodic "End of Our Times" and the nine minute "Death" are both very solid, although slightly anticlimactic after the monumental "Arrival of the Horsemen."
I suppose the cynics will say that this isn’t innovative enough to be considered a truly great album, but when the elements are combined and delivered with such passion, musicianship, and ferocity, it’s hard to ask for much more. Riders of the Apocalypse is one of the better things you will hear this year. The end of the human race never sounded so good.
Register to post comments.