Demonoid - Riders of the Apocalypse - Nuclear Blast 2004 reviewed by: Ajax
1 Wargods 2 Firestorms 3 Witchburners 4 14.th Century Plague 5 Hunger my Consort 6 The Evocation 7 Arrival of the Horsemen 8 End of our Times 9 Death
Riders of the Apocalypse is a concept album which focuses on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The album is a mix of real world history, parts of the bible and fantasy, all based on the biblical riders of the apocalypse.
The FHOA are described in just eight verses of the book of Revelation, which is the last book in the bible. The four horsemen appear when (Jesus, the lamb of god) opens the first four seals of a scroll with seven seals (which is described in the book of Revelation). As each of the first four seals are opened a different coloured horse and its rider is seen by the apostle John as described in Revelation 6:1-8.
First seal is opened: a white horse appears, its rider holds a bow (conquest). Second seal is opened: a red horse appears, its rider holds a sword (war) Third seal is opened: a black horse appears, its rider holds a pair of scales (famine) Fourth seal is opened: a pale horse appears, its rider is called Death
After taking the scroll from God, Jesus opens the seven seals of the scroll to reveal its contents. The seals are in a group of four, two and one. The opening of the first four seals reveal the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The opening of the first four seals is introduced by each of the four living creatures in turn. Each one of the four living creatures reveals a horseman, the first three horsemen are summed up by the fourth horsemen, 'They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth'. These are popularly known as the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The power of these horsemen is limited to a quarter. The fifth seal reveals those who had been slain because of the word of God and their testimony, that is the persecuted church. The sixth seal reveals the day of the Lord, which brings the Lamb's wrath to those on the earth. The opening of the seventh seal reveals silence. The seven seals sum up human history from the viewpoint of heaven and the church. There is war, famine (starvation) and pestilence in general and on the church in particular there is persecution, then the end will come bringing terror to the world, this probably accounts for the silence of the seventh seal. The seven seals describe tribulation that is largely man made (wars, famine and persecution).
Now, seemingly out of nowhere, there is this band called Demonoid, which has turned this biblical story into a death metal concept album. As it is a concept album, "Riders of the Apocalypse's" story has a beginning and an end, which is told throughout the albums nine songs. The strength of this album lies in the original and well developed story. There is a true idea behind this concept: the idea that humanity is a destructive, incorrigible, race, that has to be punished for it's crimes. The story is explained in the booklet that comes with the album. In short: "a small sect has seen through all the lies of organised religions and are prepared to put an end to humanity, as they see no other option than the total extermination of mandkind. They summon the force of all the hate, destructiveness and bloodshet that humanity has evoked and open a gate for the riders to once and for all exterminate the human race.Through an evocation ceremony, the riders arrive and the word is finally ravaged".
This story is being told in view of the albums nine songs, divided in three acts. "Wargods", "Firestorms" and "Witchburners" (Act 1) tell the tales of a few of mankinds worst crimes. "14.th Century Plague", "Hunger my Consort" and "The Evocation" (Act 2) tell the tales of the punnishments of the gods and how the sect finally invoke the riders. "Arrival of the Horsemen", "End of our Times" and "Death" (Act 3) tell how the riders arrive and the beginning of the end of humanity starts.
So far the albums background. How about talking some music? When keeping the background in mind, you should expect a dark, apocalyptic approach to the songs, starting with humanities' crimes and ending with the ravaging of the earth by the riders.
Act 1: Mankind's crimes Wargods is a very thrasy song, with two old school high pitched solo's, a doomy epic middle play, only to turn thrashy again. Firestorms starts where Wargods ended, fast paced thrasy death metal with fast high pitched solo's. Witchburners is the more melodic of the first three songs, with a groovy start and an equaly groovy solo.
Act 2: Punnishments of the gods 14.th Century Plague is a very short doomy song, which functions as an intro tot the catchy Hunger my Consort. Catchy because of the constant guitar play in the background. The tempo of the song speeds up untill it switches to an almost acoustic guitar solo. The Evocation truly harnasses the ritual: the spoken parts truly ad up to an evaocation, you can almost see the sect sitting around a fire and chanting to their gods to evoke the riders.
Act 3: The end of humanity Arrival of the Horsemen is a tribute to the four riders of the apocalypse and a typical mid paced death song with a twist: a maiden like solo. End of our Times is fast paced with more catchy riffing. The album ends with Death which is what you would expect: death metal.
By now you'll probably wonder who's behind all this. Well in case you haven't heard already... Demonoid is a Therion/Chimaira cooperation. While the guys from Therion had to wait for almost a year before starting to record a new album, they had plenty of time on their hands to write new songs. However, these songs did not became the typical Therion kind of songs, but became more of a of black/death/thras metal mix. Though the songs were not suitable for Therion, the material enabled them to record an album with completely different music under the name of Demonoid, a name taken from a B-movie called "Demonoid Messenger of Death".
The album is well thought out, bears a very original concept and contains a range of very diverse songs, ranging from doom to black to death metal and back again with some crushing melodies in between. Upon listening you can immediately hear the bands skills and proffesionalism, all wrapped up in a top notch production. The quality really dripps of this album. We can only hope that it will not end with this album, but that Demonoid will keep surprising us with such masterpieces.
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