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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Sylvian - When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima – A commissioned installation that might immediately strike listeners as the soundtrack for a diorama in its startling ability to create the sense of motion and event within a setting of largely...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues