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I like Rogga Johansson. I really do. I like his music, many of his bands are just fantastic, it is always really cool that he’s able to come with so much great stuff. But my wallet hates him. Just how much money must I spend on all his releases every year? Man, I think that as the owner of something like 30 releases that Rogga made I should be already getting lifetime discount from him or even everything for free, especially that I basically buy releases of all his projects like The Grotesquery, Putrevore, Ribspreader – which are my favourites I think and then Revolting, Bone Gnawer, Paganizer, Those Who Bring the Torture, Demiurg… just to name few. I literally have so many CDs with Rogga’s music that he has his own shelf at the place, where I keep my collection of CD/LP.
But let’s be honest here… Not always the quantity comes in hand with quality and that is something I have noticed in few occasion, with such projects like Bloodgut or some Paganizer stuff, which he released. For instance some of the collections of Paganizer outtakes and rarities are a bit boring and you can feel they’re just not as good as some other albums. I guess some of these releases have been made just for fun, rather than anything else, as their musical value is not as good… that is why the content of those CD is just forgettable. You know, all those short, grinding Paganizer songs… it may be fun to play them at the rehearsals, but not necessarily they’re good to be on the CD. Anyway, 2013 – as any of the recent years – is also a time, when I can expect that I will have to spend some money on Rogga’s countless bands – yet without that discount I’m afraid hehe. I actually have just purchased the recent releases from Ribspreader and Putrevore and now I’m listening to the debut album from a project, which I was really looking forward to hear and which showed its ugly face for the first time in 2012, when Selfmadegod Records released a debut 7”EP with its logo on it. It is called Megascavenger.
“Songs of Flesh” EP was really damn cool, especially as it had a couple of killer guests doing some vocal lines (Jörgen Sandström and Paul Speckmann). Finally the time came for “Descent of Yuggoth”, a full length debut of Megascavenger and on this CD Rogga have also managed to get some guest appearances of few legendary death metal musicians – a very clever idea, I must say, as it will surely bring attention to “Descent of Yuggoth” and is also a nice surprise for all diehard death metal maniacs, especially those, who like myself, have been enjoying this slaughter for 20 years at least. About all those guests I will say something more in few minutes. Now I just wanna say that I really like “Descent of Yuggoth”, the music is very good, but there is just one problem with this album, which I have. And it is that the truth is it could have been released with any other name of Rogga’s bands on the cover and it would surely fit there as well. If it had RIbspreader logo – it would be OK. If it had Paganizer logo – that would also be OK. But instead we have Megascavenger and one can surely feel a bit skeptical about sense of having so many, sometimes almost identical, projects, where only the line ups may be different (but sometimes even they are the same). Anyway, I’m not moaning, really, as I like Rogga and I also like “Descent of Yuggoth”. I’m just trying sometimes to find myself in all this chaos this Swedish dude is doing around himself. Maybe sometimes he’s just change himself for small too much…
OK, but back to the business… Megascavenger is pure old styled death metal project, with the music as filthy, rotten and traditional as you can only hope it to be. The main idea for the music was I guess to make it sound as damn heavy and brutal as possible and thus most of it has been played in very slow, sometimes almost doomy tempos, what initially will bring to your skull such killer cult acts as Asphyx or Autopsy. But obviously the whole music of Megascavenger on this record is not so one dimensional and there are also some more mid paced songs and some, which will just force the maniacal headbanging, so creepy infectious and groovy they are. So imagine a combination of everything what was the best in the old school death metal – Swedish style mixed with some Dutch and British bands, with Autopsy, Repulsion, Bolt Thrower and Master – this is “Descent of Yuggoth”! There are surely some excellent tracks on the album, starting with that opening song “Nihilisticon” – which surely would fit The Grotesquery album perfectly… Then “Deathobsessed” is also great, so are “Descent of Yuggoth” (maybe my favourite song?), “Void of Damnation“ (killer, a bit doomy, song!!!) and few more. Really, the whole album is very even, none of the tracks are weak and fillers, so it is a very good work done by Rogga!
And speaking of the guests on the album… Dan Swano did some killer vocals in “Nihilisticon” and Jörgen Sandström in “Deathobsessed”. Marc Grewe did some vocals in “Smokescreen Armageddon”, but I don’t like his entire contribution (those higher screams are shit), probably as much as I don’t like what he did with the reunited Morgoth – his vocal lines on the live album are just pathetic and weak and bring shame to once legendary band. It surely is one of those reunions, which should never happen and I hope Morgoth will not record anything ever again. Marc lost his once great growling completely, nowadays he sounds very weak and that can be also heard on “Smokescreen Armageddon”, sorry to say so! This song also features Mameli from Pestilence doing some guitar leads. Some more guitar guest contributions come from Eric Daniels and Jonas Lindblood and especially the latter did cool job, as “Void of Damnation“ is such an excellent song…!
So, I have listened to this album I think more than 20 times now and I can say I like it a kit. I’m only disappointed with one thing, concerning “Descent of Yuggoth” and it is the fact that the album contains both songs, which appeared earlier on the debut 7”EP “Songs of Flesh”, what basically makes that single a completely useless, as you have both tracks also on the album. Of course one can say that it will be a cool collecting item, especially if you have one of the green vinyl copies, limited to 100 copies, but that feeling of being fucked a bit is still there. But OK, all the damage with Megascavenger is done. Now I’m waiting for new Paganizer album.
Standout tracks: “Deathobsessed”, “Descent of Yuggoth”, “Void of Damnation”, “To Revel with Vermin”
Final rate: 80/100
Swedish multi-instrumentalist Rogga Johansson offers his umpteenth new band that plays classic-era Swedish death metal with Megascavenger, and it carries with it his trademark stamp of brutal riffing, furious drumming and quality that was a Swedish staple in their own works.
Basically, the music itself is pretty much the same as it always was, Dismember and Grave-influenced death metal played with a passion and attention to authenticity that makes one think they’ve stumbled upon new bands that arose from that era but got shelved away and are now rediscovered for the masses. Intro track ‘Nihilisticon’ is pretty much what one would expect of that style of death metal, buzzsaw guitar riffing that sounds straight out of Sunlight Studios, pounding inhuman drumming that basically speaks to the diehards of the material. The title track offers up some more good times with a droning, repetitious riff-style that becomes all the more memorable as it goes along, and the restrained and blasting drumming definitely makes it’s mark. It’s really on third track, though, ‘Smokescreen Armageddon,’ where things really pick up with its dexterous, hyper-speed drumming, grinding guitar-work and a series of tortured vocals from guest Dan Swano to create a spectacular stand-out, as well as the follow-up track “Catapulted Through Aeons’ with its tremendous pacing, groove-inflicted guitar riffs that are just ear-pleasingly catchy and overall feeling of brutality that easily earns the album a front-loaded section of spectacular selections.
While the first half is front-loaded with the best stuff, the second half is fine if less-than-perfect. While the first song, ‘Void of Damnation’ is really the only weak track with a doom/death pacing that reminds of early Asphyx instead of the more traditional works presented with its sluggish pace and general avoidance of speed, it picks up again with ‘Funerals and Ceremonies’ which brings back more of the traditional speed and a groovy main guitar riff that gets endless repetitions along with its brutal backing accompaniment of great drumming and a thunderous bassline to go with one of the more impressive vocal performances. ‘Death Obsessed’ gets some desperately-needed help with a guest performance from Paul Speckmann who livens up a pretty weak effort and makes the track’s plodding pace and recycled riffing more tolerable and Asphyx-esque tempo, which is carried over to ‘No Heaven for the Sane’ though that at least gets a little faster as it goes along. Still, the fact that the first half is nearly-flawless while the second has some problems is quite noticeable.
There’s very little about this album that will surprise those who are into this style of music, as it sounds exactly like his work in Paganizer, Ribspreader, Putrevore, The Grotesquery and Bone Gnawer, among the numerous dozens of other bands Rogga’s performed in. It’s all so similar-sounding at times that it’s really hard to see the need for all the extracurricular projects when two or three would do as they’re all pretty much the same and making it hard to allow this one particular entity to stand on its own. The appeal basically lies in its formulaic approach and worship of the past, so there’s not a whole lot of this that will appeal to those not invested in the style, whereas those who are full-fledged worshippers of the style will likely see this as another fun addition to his growing catalog of releases and projects.
Megascavenger is yet another of the myriad Roger 'Rogga' Johansson projects, and one of the newest. It's been a busy year for the Swede, with at least a half dozen releases under his belt, from the exceptional (Putrevore's Macabre Kingdom) to the acceptable (latest from The Grotesquery and Revolting) to the downright average (the ghostly death grind of Humanity Delete). Somewhere in the midst of all these recordings he's managed to eke out an additional, monstrous old school death metal act and invite a few of his friends among the underground royalty to help flesh it all out. Where to place Megascavenger in the Rogga pantheon? Where other acts in his retinue might represent overt tributes to his Swedish peers and forebears, I like to think of this as a meatier homage to something like Bolt Thrower or Asphyx.
You can expect the typical traits out of Descent of Yuggoth: solid, effortless production that seethes in its own boiling atmosphere, and a riff-set which is both unashamedly derivative and entertaining. There is a load of grime on the guitar which seems like churning blood and sludge, but he also incorporates some melodies to counterbalance the low end domination, and a slew of guest leads from Patrick Mameli (Pestilence), Jonas Lindblood (Puteraeon, Taetre) and Eric Daniels (Asphyx). The album measures off its slower grooves and faster blitzes in balanced succession, and it ends up feeling like a more a mix of Realm of Chaos/War Master era Bolt Thrower or The Grand Leveler Benediction if it were molded with a more modernized production redolent of Autopsy's first two discs. The guitars are abrasive and intense, the bass like a toxic ooze slinking alongside the drums, and the vocals are Rogga's general low-end gutturals and don't necessarily distinguish themselves from numerous of his other projects. Here, too, he is assisted by a few of the old timers: Paul Speckmann (Master), Marc Grewe (Morgoth), and of course Dan Swanö. My one regret is that they're not all used more often, to create a sort of brutal Hear'n'Aid of barks and growls.
As it stands, though, Descent of Yuggoth is a crude, crunchy album which succeeds thanks to how it front loads a lot of the best tunes: the tank-like treading opener "Nihilisticon" or the bouncing bombardment of "Catapulted Through Aeons" to name a few. Not quite a 'cavernous' style album like so many that seem all the rage in recent years, but 100% committed to satisfying the nostalgic death metal crowd who largely disregard aesthetics post-1995, with the possible exception of the production values that are tremendous here. My one caveat is that everything this album does, I felt Rogga and Dave Rotten did better with the Putrevore sophomore. The sounds of the two albums are not entirely the same, but the riffs and the overall mix there was just so staggeringly, motherfucking unbelievable that I've been spoiled on some of his other works. Riff for riff, this isn't quite that consistent, and a few times I felt myself nodding off on the later half of its content. But it certainly stands out more than a few of Roger's other recent works like Bloodgut, Bone Gnawer or Humanity Delete, and you could do a lot worse than this crushing collection of Lovecraftian caveman hymns.