Sound — 9
Demonoid was envisioned to be a fun side project for 3 of the members of Therion, a symphonic opera metal band. These members are Christofer Johnsson (vocals), Kristian Niemann (guitar), and Johan Niemann (bass). The drummer is also a well-known individual by the name of Rickard Evensand who has performed in Soilwork and is currently in Chimaira. These individuals have recently or in some cases have always been into serious old school death-metal, and attempts were made previously to create an album, but nothing came to fruition for some time. Eventually that all changed and they released "Riders Of The Apocalypse" under the band name of "Demonoid." Obviously enough Demonoid's sound is heavily influenced by death and thrash metal, with a hint of modern black-metal. The album begins with a drum fill furry that cracks the listener right in the proverbial face and the guitars enter in and set the mood that this is going to be one dark, powerful album. The guitar work is absolutely phenomenal. There are times when the playing seems rather average but they are always used well. For the most part however, the riffs are in your face and very technical. The drumming is well above par for any death metal band. They employ a wide range of techniques and sounds that truly engulf the listener especially in instances like the outro to the second track entitled "Firestorms." Evensand uses blast-beat quite tastefully throughout the album, and he uses them so successfully and with such precision that one tends not to even notice them. The blast beats are never a cop-out for not really being able to play. This album is filled with technical drumming that uses astounding rhythms, and beats when most other bands would be lazy and just use blast beats because they couldn't come up with anything better. He is by no means some crazy drummer like Arin Van Weesenbeek of God Dethroned, but he poseses a lot of talent and gets the job done well. Finally in some of the songs they provide a form of keyboard work that is never truly predominate but greatly helps maintain and accentuate the mood of the song.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics for Demonoid's Riders Of The Apocalypse are probably one of my favorite parts of the album. They are original, thought provoking and well structured. The guys in Demonoid definitely knew the importance of lyrics and showed this by giving two pages in the booklet to explain the concept and the story that this album so magnificently tells. As said this is a concept album. It is loosely based on the Riders of the Apocalypse as taken from the Bible, but includes their own fictitious ideas of the topic. The vocals are really well manipulated and carry with them this continuing atmosphere of hatred, torment and death all necessities when you're the vocalist for a death-metal band. Johnsson has quite a surprising range of vocals that he uses and each, in a sense; embody the idea that is being presented in the music, and especially the lyrics. Johnsson truly shows that he is a formidable death vocalist and easily contends with, and may very well beat, any of those out there.
Overall Impression — 9
My first impression was actually of the art work done by Gyula Havancsak. Let me tell you these are the single most amazing pieces of work I have ever seen for a CD before. If I could I would buy every single picture in massive poster format. They f--king awesome! At first listen I was impressed but felt that it was just another death-metal album with some cool riffs and a good beat. Once I began listening to the album seriously and learning the songs it was apparent the songs are all very powerful and extremely well performed and produced. Though some songs may seem lacking they just convey the message and may not be that overly impressive as far as musical skill goes. My personal favorites are "Witchburners, Hunger My Consort, End Of Our Times, and Death. These to me are what death metal should be, and few bands I know have ever been able to produce anything close to it. I honestly can't say enough about this album it truly is a must buy, like now! I do have one true complaint which is that is isn't the main focus of four amazing individuals. Sadly it was merely a side project. So with that this long dissertation ends and my final words are this. If you like death metal, great guitar skills, solid drumming then buy this album before you buy anything else.