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Demonoid > Riders of the Apocalypse > Reviews
Demonoid - Riders of the Apocalypse

Lead guitar of the apocalypse - 79%

BloodIronBeer, November 12th, 2012

This album is an integrated mesh of death, black and thrash metal, that is almost a genre onto itself. Because it's not really any of those, and yet all of them. Most tracks have a great deal of atmosphere, it's as if you can feel the sky darkening and feel the cold gaze of the horsemen from the horizon. The quality of riffs here tends to be a bit inconsistent, as with the tracks themselves. I could do without 14th Century Plague and The Evocation.

It's all very Swedish sounding, new school black metal feel, with some killer thrash riffs in there, and mostly a blend of death metal substyles. The guitar tone leaves something to be desired, can't quite place it - it just doesn't feel full. That said, there is one reason I keep coming back to this album - the leads.

Regardless of the fact that this is not my favorite album; if I had to choose an all time favorite guitar solo, this album would contain it. Yes, if I was forced to pick one, I would say the guitar solo on Wargods is my favorite metal guitar solo ever.
The leads on this album are so damn good. In addition to the aforementioned solo, the solo on Witchburners is also fantastic, and there are leads and solos in most of the tracks that are just phenomenal.

On the whole this album is not very consistent. The guitar work is fantastic, the atmosphere, lyrical theme and vibe it puts off is very cool and is exactly what I think the band wants to project, but there is a serious lack of truly good riffs, and the songs do kind of over stay their welcome. It's hard for me to rate this album because it is missing the mark in some regards, and yet, contains some of my favorite guitar work.

If nothing else, check it out for the six strings of the apocalypse.

Starvation is my favorite of the four - 75%

linkavitch, August 26th, 2009

In a nutshell Riders of the Apocalypse is combining modern death and modern thrash metal in one, with some tremolo picking and blast beats here and there to add a small dose of black metal into the mix. Basically by modern death it means the production is rather clean. The production doesn’t sound like old Therion or anything, the guitars are crisper for one thing, and the drumming sounds incredible. The drums sound live as if you’re in the recording studio. Vocals are pretty damn good, mostly consisting as some raspy growls and some screaming, but Christofer Johnsson is still a good vocalist even though he hasn’t done death metal in a while now.

The riffs in general are the biggest flaw with Riders of the Apocalypse. Even though they tend to be generally fast and melodic, they’re also rather bland. The thrash riffs are uninspired and get repetitive quickly; song length would be the reason why. “Death” overstays its welcome after a few listens, at first it’s rather good with a nice intro, but the ending two minutes of the song just repeat over and over. “14th Century Plague” is another downer, basically this is a slow paced almost groove oriented death metal song. Even though the riffs tend to be a bit bland on this release the pros make up for the cons on Riders of the Apocalypse. “Wargods” features the best drumming on the album with the nonstop banging sounding like a machine gun. It’s not just “Wargods”, but every song on here has a nonstop assault of drums.

This is in all an enjoyable album with a lot of melody also. A nice melodic break halfway through “Hunger My Consort” was a nice touch to give a break from all the aggression assault of the album. In fact, that’s probably why “14th Century Plague” is a slower song, to give the listener a break from all the chaotic apocalyptic actions going on in the album. All the slower passages not only flow smoothly with the rest of the song, but they also focus more on melody, rather an annoying groove base. So at the end what we got here is something that fans of Therion or death metal in general should check out.

The Arrival of the Horsemen - 90%

demonomania, April 4th, 2007

This is quite a good little album, full of bad fucking ass old school death/thrash riffs and an overall stench of Sweden. If one goes in with no expectations (and believe me, after listening to a recent Therion song, I went in with the death metal bar set pretty low), you'll be entertained.

The album layout and concept is certainly worth noting, too. Great cover art, a nice picture to complement each song, and a very goofy drawing in the back of the bandmembers as...horsemen? Vikings? retards? Got me. Speaking of goofy, there are some typical bad translations throughout the lyrics sheet and in the "explanation section" at the beginning of the booklet. This storyline is pretty silly to begin with, but I tend to like concept albums anyway, even if the idea is kind of half-baked.

Forget all that though, how about the music? Each song has something to offer, and months after buying it I often find one track or another stuck in my head. One drawback to the music as a whole is that some tracks are simply too drawn out. Death/thrash songs in general should stick to around 3:30 in my opinion, or else they wear out their welcome. For a slow track, I'll let 'em get away with 4:30, but that's it. Of course rules are meant to be broken - my favorite track on here is 6:17. But tunes like "Wargod" and "Death" are just keep going and going, and while it kicks ass for the first few minutes the skip button finger gets itchy.

Length issues aside, there are many bruising tracks to be found on RIDERS. "Firestorms" burns, "Witchburners" accuses, "The Evocation" calls unto thee despite some spoken parts and clean female vocals (for once, actually adding atmosphere instead of sounding stupid), and "Arrival of the Horsemen," uh, arrives like a motherfucker despite its length. "Arrival" is without a doubt my favorite track and completely kills throughout, even the slow and spooky intro riff. Each horseman introduces himself, and the chorus of "War, plague, starvation, death!" is easy enough to remember.

My only real beef is with "Wargods," which would have been one hell of an opener if they'd just cut a minute off. Actually, the main riff isn't that inspiring either. Poor choice for an opener overall methinks. And that little jazzy part in the midst of "Hunger My Consort" it necessary? No, and I laughed the first time I heard it, but now I've accepted it just like the clean parts in "The Evocation." The rest of the apocalyptica on here is perfect for the lover of Swedeath and death/thrash in all of us.

Not what I hoped for, still kicks ass - 83%

Corimngul, November 10th, 2004

When Therion – or members of Therion to be correct, decided to make a new death metal album I was immediately interested. However this is not old Therion back to rule, it’s mainly the Niemann brothers’ work we can hear here. The Niemanns did apparently get into brutal metal through bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir… Christofer Johnsson, who’s work on this album is limited to growling and writing the lyrics, on the other hand has his past in old-school. As a drummer they got Richard Evensand, most famous for his time in Soilwork and Chimaira.

The album was supposed to be a meltdown of death, thrash and a little bit of black too. Listening to it I feel this is rather a combination of Gothenburg metal, some old-school death and early Bathory. All band members are skilled and experienced musicians who sure know their way around. They know their stuff and do their parts perfectly well. The parts, which by the way are neatly put together with top-notch song writing. The only minus, really, is the guitars. They sometimes seem too inspired by Gothenburg. The combination with old-school riffs though, is really amazing. Hunger My Consort is probably the best example of this and also the best song. It has the “badassness” I believed the whole album would have had. The Evocation does in some parts remind more of the Therion sound than death metal, but it still doesn’t sound like a Therion song – like quite a few people have stated.

This album isn’t a Therion album. It’s not the perfect death/thrash fusion either. It just happens to be a kick-ass death metal album – one of the few released lately. Besides, it’s one of the best conceptual death metal albums ever.