Exposé Online banner

Dice — Dice
(Belle Antique 132065, 1978/2013, CD)

Dice — The Four Riders of the Apocalypse
(Belle Antique 071238, 1979/2007, CD)

Dice — Live Dice
(Belle Antique 9340, 1979/1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01

Dice Cover artThe Four Riders of the Apocalypse Cover artLive Dice Cover art

During their short career, which spans the late seventies, Swedish band Dice (never to be confused with the Swiss neo-proggers Deyss) released only one self-titled album, an excellent testament to their existence. The band at that point was a five piece of guitars, keys, bass, and drums, with lead vocalist Robert Holmin doubling on saxes. Musically, their sound could be compared to mid-70s Gentle Giant due to the constantly changing nature of the compositions and generous use of multi-part harmonies, with some strong inputs from the classical camp embellished by heavy symphonics. Their lyrics (in English) are witty and often humorous, and when combined with the harmonies may remind of 10cc at their early-seventies peak (Örian Strandberg's guitar tones occasionally recall Eric Stewart's, further establishing that connection). The sidelong six-part suite "Follies" is probably their greatest accomplishment. In all, an outstanding debut I can recommend highly.

One year prior to their album, Dice was a four piece without a vocalist. At that time, they were playing a four part symphonic rock concerto which was eventually performed live on Swedish radio. The Four Riders of the Apocalypse, released in 1992, is a rehearsal recording of the piece from early 1977, originally mixed live and recorded on a two-track. The piece is split into four movements "War," "Disease," "Greed," and "Death." Although the music is clearly by the same band, it showcases the musicians and the composition, without the vocals and harmonies – and accessibility – of their debut. A very strong and complimentary release, and despite the low budget recording, via processing the sound has been given new life.

A collection of live tapes was released in 1993 as Live Dice, which includes great live versions of two pieces from Four Riders, a shortened version of "Follies" and one other from the self-titled, and a couple otherwise-unreleased live tracks, plus four studio demo tracks recorded around 1979 that show what direction the band was going before they split up – definitely in a more commercial direction, like some of the later Gentle Giant albums, but this is still unmistakably Dice.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 2013 releases, 1978 recordings, 2007 releases, 1979 recordings, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Dice

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sangiuliano - Take Off – An amazing album from 1978. Tony Sangiuliano was a one man keyboard show, assisted only by a drummer and female soprano; he could well be thought of as Italy's answer to Heaven and Hell period...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues