Get this crazy baby off my head!



Dice - Dice - 1978 - Belle Antique

Dice was a Swedish band, who were very respected among musicians. Their music is often compared to Gentle Giant and ELP, although not as innovative or sophisticated. They have not existed as a band since the start of the '80's, but they still have a quite a large cult following. "Four Riders of the Apocalypse" is worth a listen, if you like bands like Focus or Yes. The music follows a theme of sorts, with reprises and repeated rhythms. A more detailed bio of Dice can be found at http://www.dicemusic.se/Reviews.htm


1. Alea lacta est (6:13)
2. Annika (3:47)
3. The utopian suntan (5:51)
4. The Venetian bargain (7:49)
5. Follies: (22:03)
a) Esther
b) Labyrinth
c) At the gate of Entrudivore
d) I'm Entrudivorian
e) You are?
f) You are.....


Per Andersson / drums, percussion, chorus
Robert Holmin / lead vocals, saxes, chorus
Leif Larsson / keyboards, Mellotron, chorus
Örjan Strandberg / guitars, chorus
Fredrik Vildö / bass, chorus


Swedish band with excellent instrumental skills, but their songwriting did unfortunately never get better than ok. Their sound seems sometimes to be quite Gentle Giant influenced. The arrangements are great with lots of mellotron, organ and tasteful sounding synths. But as I said, their songwriting is never something really outstanding. The best tracks here is probably the not so very serious "The Utopian Suntan" and the instrumental "The Venetian Bargain". The 22-minute "Follies" has its moments, but some parts are simply extremely boring. And the vocals are rather weak, with a strong accent. The best thing about this album is the cover, which mixes influences of Salvador Dali and Walt Disney!But if Dice had written better compositions, then they really could have been a recommendation. © 1998-2007 vintageprog.com www.vintageprog.com
Dice were a superb, if little-known Swedish band from the late '70s; they only released one album in their lifetime, and neither of the above are easily available, even now. Four Riders was a mono demo recorded around 1977, remixed for stereo in the '90s. All instrumental, it is a superb piece of work; full-blown symphonic progressive, the material is melodic and memorable, unlike many of their more highly-rated contemporaries. I spent most of the album wondering where I'd heard the style before, until it suddenly hit me: Focus. Dice were the natural inheritors of the slightly jazzy, complex symphonic sound of Focus at their best, which is the sort of recommendation it's difficult to ignore. The album's themes move through all the expected moods given the subject matter; stirring martial stuff in War and a rather doomy feel to the other three tracks, with much Mellotron throughout from Leif Larsson. Their self-titled official debut is every bit as good as their early demo, although the vocals are a tad unnecessary in places. If anything, there's even more Mellotron on Dice than Four Riders, with some excellent material to boot, with The Utopian Suntan being a sardonic reflection on the subject of the destruction of the ozone layer, some years ahead of the general public's perception of the issue. As the sleeve notes say, "This is a catchy tune about epithelial cancer". Follies appears to be about schizophrenia, so you can hardly accuse Dice of not tackling the issues of the (or any) day. Its long drawn-out coda consists of probably the slowest 'speed-up' I've ever heard, taking several minutes from the first perceptible pitch shift to the final high-speed squeak. So, I recommend both albums highly, assuming you can find them. There's also a live album, Live Dice (****), recorded in 1979, but upon close scrutiny, it would appear to be entirely Mellotron-free. As for their two studio albums, however; buy? BUY OR DIE! © Andy Thompson 1999-2008 www.planetmellotron.com/revd3.htm


Anonymous said...

You got me with name-dropping the big 4: ELP, Yes, Gentle Giant & 'my boys' [lol], Focus. I've never heard of Dice before reading your posted reviews, but I got to to try it. Much Thanks, A.O.O.F.C!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi! anonymous. Dice are good...maybe not as polished as ELP or GG but still well above average. I enjoyed the album. Thannks for comment, & keep in touch

K L I M P E R E I said...

link is dead, sadly...

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, KLIMPEREI. Try this great blog -