Ridere Deus stands for "to laugh at God," which should already tell you a lot of this Finnish one-man band. It was formed in 2009 by a member of Fatal Punishment in order to serve as an outlet for his more personal compositional ideas and ideological thoughts. This is the project's debut demo.

The opener is a three-minute instrumental track. It starts off with some emotional acoustics and damp and crude background ambience, but slowly gives in to some faster and harsher electronic guitars. The song switches nicely between the more ethnic "pagan"-riffing and more aggressive and faster black metal -riffs, and is overall a pleasing and atmospheric listen. The next song starts with a fast, high-pitched and repeating guitar riff which is accompanied by strong drum rhythms, while the bass guitar's simple and damp pounding gives the song it's mass and weight. The song switches between the aforementioned riff and some slower and more mid-pitch parts, and their catchy rhythms and good amount of atmosphere are sure to please. The high-pitched and hoarse screaming vocals remind me of a younger version of Corvus (from Horna, Korgonthurus, and so on), meaning tha his voice has a cutting edge and a lot of harshness. It seems as if he hasn't found a good singing technique yet, but more practice should take care of that problem.

The song "Pedon Viisaus" starts off with a mid-pace tremolo riff that creates a good atmosphere with the strong, repetitive pounding of the drums and the hoarse vocals. The song slowly builds up with some blastbeats in it's halfway, and ends with some faster action from all the instruments, giving the song to a powerful and really pleasing finish.

Thematically the two first tracks revolve around a local myth of a mountain inhabited by the Devil, whereas the third track (if simplified) is about how people have distanced themselves from nature and don't care about the damage they cause to it. They reveal a lot of the artist's ideas in a personal and functional way, are nicely complimented by the visual side accompanying them, and it all fits well together with the music. It all surprised me, especially as we're talking about a debut demo here. Bonus points for the hand-drawn cover image.

There's surely a lot of promising stuff on the demo, from the already rather original style to the bold compositions. It just has some usual demo-problems: the soundscape is a bit stuffed, and the damp bass spine and the raw and rather clear guitars don't seem to create an unison. The vocals have such a raw sound that they don't seem to find their place in the soundscape, but they do both partially create and amplify the songs' high points. The programmed drums create interesting looped beats, but they steal too much attention away from the guitars, which seems to have caused the artist to have let a couple of dull and easy riffs slip their way onto the demo. The drums aren't able of creating too much atmosphere either, and the bass drum programming is partly done in a way too crude and simple way (most easily noticeable on the opening track). I'd recommend the artist to switch to using real drums to create a more holistic sound. It's a good thing that the demo was kept concise, and I hope that the band will remember it's limits in the future as well.

If Ridere Deus manages to conjure some cohesion and a more unified structure to his future works, he might create something very enjoyable. I hope that he keeps the ethnic/nature-wibe prominent in his works and manages to employ it as a more natural element to them, as he seems to have the right attitude and style to create some authentic natural atmospheres.

3 / 5