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Blazing old-school Swedish death metal - 80%

slayrrr666, March 6th, 2013

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.