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Pandemonium – Monuments of Tragedy - 80%

TheMetalGamer, September 11th, 2019

After ten long years Pandemonium returns with a new full-length album. With a new line-up where the last remaining founder Thomas Ahlgren (Deranged, ex-End) has got help from his fellow Deranged member Johan Bergström (Deranged, Resonance Cascade, Visceral Bleeding) on vocals while Johan Aldgård (Faithful Darkness, Nonexist) joins in on bass, to round it up with the long lasting member Jacob Blecher (Yggdrasil) on drums the stage is set for what is meant to become the big return.

Sometimes the keyboards add a lot to the track and makes it sound a lot more sinister, a perfect example of this is “Necromania Unleashed” with it’s carnival feeling and gets me thinking about the horror movie IT. Sometimes it’s just batshit crazy and the song almost feels out of place like on “The Code”, which leans heavy on the industrial metal side of things. Overall though it works really well and just adds to the atmosphere Pandemonium tries to create. You can tell Ahlgren and Blecher has done this for some time now (same can be said for Aldgård with his vast melodic death metal experience) and knows their shit. In fact I would say Monuments of Tragedy is the bands best release yet.

A big surprise to me is the performance of Johan Bergström. I obviously knew he was a good vocalist seeing I listen to Deranged a lot but this music is so different from the brutal death and grindcore I’d heard him do before that I’d no idea how he would do on a melodic death/doom album. Fact is he has done it wonderfully and it’s fun to see a musician try something new all together and excel while doing it.

While this is not usually my thing with that much keyboards infused in the music I can’t deny this is well crafted and created by some top class musicians. On songs like “Severance of Unity”, “And Death Was the Way” and “Necromania Unleashed” they totally nail the fine balance with symphonic and evil tunes which I will listen to time and time again this year. Pandemonium got some ways to go before they are on the level like Dimmu Borgir, Carach Angren or Anorexia Nervosa but they are well on their way and with this comeback shows they are back in style.

An excellent album even from someone that was on the fence with it and I’m sure fans of the genre will come to love Monuments of Tragedy even more than I have.

Originally written for The Metal Gamer