Here at The Metal Wanderlust mansion we like to get together, drink some beverages and listen to an album together, metaphorically speaking of course. My good buddy Progcaveogier and I joined together to review the new Rogga Johansson album, “Entrance to the Otherwhere“!
Of course this mad man needs no introduction but he fucking needs one. The man, the myth, the fucking legend. Rogga Johansson. The dude must never fucking put down an instrument just seamlessly living, moving from one to another and having a turkey sandwich in between. From slaying in Paganizer to killing it in Down Among the Dead Men and then just writing full length albums for himself, the work ethic never ceases to amaze me.
So here we are introducing, “Entrance to the Otherwhere” his 4th solo release! While it is enjoyable there are a few things that I wasn’t really feeling in a way. For one the drums on the album all feel the same with minor changes here and there to accommodate certain riffs overall they feel a little lackluster. Like sitting down at a restaurant and the food being just…. okay.
Plenty of ‘D-beat’ and HM-2 to keep the album full of energy. Some of the songs like, “When the Otherwhere Opens” and “Entrance to the Otherwhere” are even tip toeing the line of Melodeath songs. While songs like, “As evil seeps out” and, “A Journey into Fear” are definitely more straight forward and probably my 2 favorite songs on the album.
All in all it is enjoyable for the most part, with Rogga doing his best Enslaved impressions on the vocals which rule, the groovy parts definitely carry some headbangable moments, and some cool doomy parts that carry it. Seems like an album that would be good to work out or clean your dirty ass house with. Just something that doesn’t require too much attention too to really get. I am but one man so please listen for yourself! Speaking of cleaning, I need to get all the beer cans up before Goat Wizard gets back.
Holy crap, the amount of tins lying around the floor… We definitely need to do a proper clean-up before the Goat Wizardian inspection to come. Before the much needed tidying, a couple of thoughts on our original topic and beer fest excuse first.
Rogga Johansson is above all known for the swarm of punishing Death Metal releases he has unleashed on us during the years. Besides the bands Astronautguy already mentioned, also Megascavenger, Demiurg, Putrevore, Revolting, Ribspreader and the semi-industrial murkiness of Bloodgut come to mind. All of them Death Metal of the gnarlier kind. Stuff to clear the room of mainstream kids in an instant. Yet, “Entrance to the Otherwhere” is definitely something completely different.
The album reaches out to the times when Melodic Death Metal did not mean watered down commercialism, rock star wannabes, screamy verses and pop-choruses. Mid 90’s, that would be. Calling this album Rogga‘s biggest nod towards Edge of Sanity (after “Crimson II“, of course) and Dan Swanö‘s works in general would not be too far from the truth at all. Rich melodies rummaged through that middle-scooped Hm-2 guitar tone is nothing short of the sound and approach on Edge of Sanity classics like “Purgatory Afterglow“, or “Infernal“. Heavy and credible, but not of the face melting kind of Dismember & co.
Yes, there are enough catchy 4WD riffs here to please the fans of Paganizer and Ribspreader, but what sets “Entrance to the Otherwhere” apart are the keyboards. At first they might sound a bit amateurish even, but the more you listen to the album the more they seem to add to the overall feel of it. The melodic feel of it, that is. Not quite Dan Swanö‘s “Moontower“, but definitely going in the same kind of an direction.
The promotional copy does not come with lyrics, but there seems to be some sort of an lyrical theme running through the record. At least certain aspects keep on repeating as the album proceeds. Will need to leave some room for the final judgement after seeing where the lyrical department is heading, but I have a hunch that the texts will only add to the whole thing and glue the album together.
So… At the moment all I can say is that I was really positively surprised of the bold melodic direction chosen here. Rogga has numerous murky and graveyard stench oriented bands going and “Entrance to the Otherwhere” serves only as a profilic display of his talents as a (de)composer. He has an ability to think outside the box and try out new things, much needed by everybody working with creative projects. Yes, brother Astronautguy is right about the fact that if it is the super heavy, guttural Death Metal record that you are looking for, this is not it. If looking for that and that alone, one will certainly be better served with forthcoming albums by Nucleus and Fetid, for example. This is not guttural, this is not technical, this is not over the top. BUT – if early Amorphis, Edge of Sanity, or The Moaning for example are/were your things you will certainly find a new discovery here. In a modern day perspective, this is also a much welcomed song-oriented Death Metal album. Best served with long walks in the wild, or driving around the countryside. Not for the mutant hunting in the sewers of necropolis.
When you think of it.. Brother Astro… What if we skip the cleaning, get another huge carry out of beers and call The Great Mackintosh over for a night out with Edge of Sanity and Hypocrisy back catalogues instead?