Posts Tagged ‘Rogga Johansson’

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The omnipresent shadow of Rogga Johansson looms large over the world of modern old school death metal. Having played on 13 different releases in the last 12 months is insane as it sounds, but the quality of work that Rogga always puts out makes that achievement more astounding. His latest release under his own name is ‘Entrance to the Otherwhere’, out through Transcending Obscurity in July.

The strangest thing about this record is that, surely we all must be totally sick of this sound by now?! But with the darkly melodic chug of ‘The Re-emergers’. Rogga immediately hits a sweet spot that barely drops throughout the whole record. ‘Entrance to the Otherwhere’ is a lot more groove laden than a lot of Rogga’s other records, and there’s a really satisfying crunch to the guitars. Daring melodic breaks, like the soaring ‘When the Otherwhere Opens’, take this beyond just another death metal record into a space of contemplation and multifaceted songwriting. The graceful quiet of ‘Berget vaknar’ is a surprising interlude in a record that delights in its shattering of expectations.

Accompanied by a moody, almost reflective atmosphere in places, ‘Entrance to the Otherwhere’ is another master stroke from one of the true lynchpins of modern death metal. It’s hard to find anyone this consistent and this varied. Treasure Rogga folks!

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A project of two of the best and most prolific death metal stalwarts in the underground, Down Among the Dead Men is the brainchild of Dave Ingram and Rogga Johansson. Both recently starring on Transcending Obscurity with Ursinne and Paganizer respectively, Down Among the Dead Men is the next cog in this endless death metal machine. ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ is out in June on TO Records.

Opener ‘Destroy the Infinite’ immediately gives you the scope of this record. Which is, very narrow, savage and crusty death metal with scowling vocals and an almost d-beat attitude. A narrow scope is in no way a negative, as Down Among the Dead Men ravage our society with crushing riffs and memorable songs. Most tracks barely scratch three minutes, each a galloping exercise in thrashy death metal. Ingram provides his iconic throaty roar, while Johansson’s guitar tone is equally iconic in its Scandinavian rasp. The insidious ‘Omega’ is excellent, and the killer ‘The Age of Steel’ pulses with a classic Swedeath sound.

A major benefit of this record is that it is only half an hour long, which means that no songs overstay their welcome and you feel immediately inclined to start it all over again. These death metal legends have done it again, with ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ taking a firm place in death metal contenders for record of the year. Huge, nasty and thoroughly absorbing.

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Stench Price (Grind Supergroup) cover art

When you get the pleasure of reviewing a release from what is an honest to Satan grind SUPERGROUP like Stench Price, it kinda gives you faith in life and music again. I review lots of shit I love, hear bands that seem totally underground and unknown and I hope to give them a bit of extra publicity from it. This one however, this I’m doing simply because it is AWESOME! Involving members of Brutal Truth, Necrophagist, Cynic and Hail of Bullets, this barely needs any press release bullshit, the pedigree speaks for itself. It’s going to be out on Transcending Obscurity for all to enjoy.

Opener ‘Living Fumes’ is a massacre of the senses; with raging grinding riffs coupled with a blood gargling vocal, thrashing drums and some weird samples to throw everything just a little off kilter. The marimba (yes marimba) sections are gloriously off the wall, and help to accentuate the savagery of what follows. ‘Furnaces Burn’, featuring the legendary Rogga from more bands than you can name, has this excellent chugging death style with maddening solos that is just too short and sweet for one listen. Yet more smooth, jazzy interludes stab into the metal throughout, jarring your perceptions.

The guttural ‘Pressure’, lunging from blastbeats to freaky moments of calm and back into bludgeoning grind, is a challenge to take in at once, while the more straightforward, almost Obituary-esque rage of ‘4.27.15’ is a pleasant change. The chugging power of ‘The Genocide Machine’ is my own personal highlight here, since I’m more of a death metal fan than a grind fan, but the vareity and quality of the material here is enough to keep a fan of any genre persuasion interested.

Closing with ‘the bossanovagrinddoom’ (NEW GENRE ALERT!) of ‘The Vitality Slip’, Stench Price make a devastating impact straight away, and you can only look forward to what else will come spewing from this project in the future. Hail grind and supergroups, because this is a great example of both.

http://stenchpricegrind.bandcamp.com/album/stench-price-grind-supergroup

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Being marked as a ‘landmark release’ in Indian metal is a big ask for Darkrypt to live up to. This is the place that has brought us so many great acts recently that Darkrypt need to be pretty good just to keep up with their countrymen. Fortunately, I have faith in Kunal at Transcending Obscurity when statements like this are made, so I’m looking forward to ‘Delirious Excursion’, coming out in October.

From the ponderous intro ‘The Becoming Alteration’ comes a fire breathing monster in ‘Dark Crypt’, where riffs most murderous come tearing from the cemetaries of vintage Scandinavian death metal. Lacking the buzzing HM2 pedal, but summoning the feel of classic Swedeath (mixed at Unisound Studios by Dan Swano helps) shot through by morbid melodies, ‘Chasm of Death’ has an undead swagger about it. The guitar work is stellar, and really helps to accentuate the switches between relentless chugging and spiralling solos, particularly the beautiful solo in ‘Cryptic Illusions’. The gloomy darkness of ‘Folie à Deux’ is also punctuated with a skillful solo, and this injection of virtuoso guitar work is key to setting them apart from other death metal bands.

Also key to this release are two of its guest appearances, the incorrigible Rogga Johansson of Paganizer et al and Nitin Rajan of Primitiv (one of the subcontinent’s most potent acts). Both add a great deal to a record that already bursts with death metal fury. Rogga lends his talents to the aforementioned ‘Cryptic Illusions’, and boy is it a stormer! The rumbling ‘Inducer’ is where the Primitiv influence comes in deep, but you can also feel an earth shaking Bolt Thrower lean in other tracks too. Darkrypt have crafted a combination of some of the finest death metal styles into a hell of a record. Seek this out if you appreciate skull cracking brutality and evil melodies!

https://darkryptdm.bandcamp.com/album/delirious-excursion-dark-death-metal

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Swedish death dealers Humanity Delete are pretty much straightforward brutality, as the less than subtle album title gives you the idea. ‘Fuck Forever Off’ is a half hour ride through a hellish world of chainsaw riffs and burning ferocity. Another Rogga Johansson project, the man of a thousand bands strikes once again with visceral and headbanging death metal.

You can tell there’s been a great Dismember and Grave influence on these guys. The songs drip with that buzzing intensity that the classic Swedeath records have, and the ferocious ‘Into the Maze of the Minotaur’ is a better example of the high quality fare on offer here. Rogga’s guttural roar adds a deathly power to each track, and there’s some soulful lead melodies in the almost gloomy ‘Creeping of the Shoggoth’ that bring to mind prime Katatonia. As expected, the songwriting is strong, and there isn’t any one way to skin a cat/write a Swedish death metal song.

Humanity Delete manage to cram all facates of quality death metal into this release, from the moody gloom to the battering obviousness of ‘Lairhunter’. Songs cave in your skull, or lurk in the shadows, ready to pounce with a killer riff. Each song is unique, but they all flow into one satisfying whole, from the thrashing ‘Barbarian Axe’ right through to rumbling closer ‘Flesh Panzer’. Another great record from one of death metal’s true masters.

Putrevore - Tentacles of Horror

Despite sounding like the title of some strange Japanese hentai horror movie, Putrevore’s ‘Tentacles of Horror’ is much more scything death metal than Asian fetish gore. Thankfully. Yet another one of Rogga Johansson’s multi million projects, this time with Avulsed’s Dave Rotten, Putrevore’s third full length is almost exactly as you’d expect from two men who know their shit inside and out.

Eight songs of pure, rotten death metal are contained under ‘Tentacles of Horror’s ominous album cover. ‘These Caverns Breed Filth’ is a relentless opener that vomits bile and riffs from the depths of hell. It is exactly what you want from primal death metal like this, with unholy vocals provided by Dave Rotten. Each screaming harmonic, every blood soaked riff is simplistic in execution, yet deadly effective. The bulldozing ‘Unspeakable Madness Beckons’ is laden with crushing doomy passages that just add even more weight to the supreme heaviness within.

Each song is a bludgeoning ode to classic death metal, from the Autopsy-esque crawl of death/doom to the battering rage of ”Gable Window Portal Pt.II’. Johansson and Rotten are a potent writing team, as each song has its own individuality whilst fitting together comfortably as part of a brutal whole. Rotten’s vocals are guttural but reasonably decipherable at points, never losing their potency.

While ‘Tentacles of Horror’ may not revolutionise the genre, it is a great record, full to the brim with achingly heavy riffs and window-rattling vocals. My favourite track is probably ‘Hyperborean Dreams’ but the rough ‘A Maw Surrounded by Tentacles’ pushes it close. Yet another instant classic from Rogga.

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https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/tentacles-of-horror

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