“A Yank, a Fin and an Aussie walk into a…” OH NO, NOT THAT FUCKING SHIT AGAIN! (Insert large whacking noise here..). It’s okay people, I have rendered The Great Idiot unconscious before he can deliver another one of his stupid jokes. This is some serious business here, and should be treated accordingly! Here is another joint review from us at TMW, of the soon to be released Paganizer album “The Tower of the Morbid“, featuring a pig, an ogre, and that guy now lying on the floor bleeding profusely from the large hole in his head that I just put there…Um, maybe I should call an ambulance. That’s a shitload of blood, oh dear, maybe if I just walk away and pretend nothing happened nobody will notice.. LOOK! OVER THERE! IT’S A REVIEW!
Rogga Johansson is a fucking machine. Much like Dan Swano, Justin K. Broadrick, Frank Zappa, & Prince, he’s that rare breed of artist that is so ridiculously prolific that his artistic output seemingly defies the laws of physics. I first became aware of Rogga when he released his “Entrance to the Otherwhere” solo album, all the way back in…..July, of this year. Reviews of that album mentioned the high volume of music he releases, but nothing drives the point home like seeing another release a mere 2 months later. How does he do it? Has he found a way to clone himself? Can he manipulate time? Are there beings from another dimension feeding riffs directly into his brain? And if so, who are they? And where the hell am I?
To get answers to these and other questions, I sought out the man himself. I had to pick his brain and find out what makes him tick. I arrived in Gamleby Sweden at Rogga’s compound, where he was recording guitar tracks for a new album. I introduced myself and made small talk, yet I still wasn’t sure if Rogga knew I was even in the room with him. I decided to just go for it and start the interview.
“Hi Rogga, thank you for taking the time to meet with me! I know you’re a very busy man.”
Rogga hits the spacebar on his keyboard, begins recording another new guitar track. I wait until he finishes.
“I absolutely love the new Paganizer album, “The Tower of the Morbid”. It’s like the missing link between the old school death metal sound of the early 90’s and the modern melodic death metal of today. How do you manage to release so much music and yet still retain such a high standard of quality?”
Rogga ejects a burned CD from his computer and hands me a disc with today’s date, and simply named “New album #1”
“Oh, is this the new album you’re working on? Right on!! I can’t wait to give it a listen! Thanks man!”
Rogga mumbles something and then grabs a microphone and starts recording his beastly growls. I’m beginning to feel like a nuisance, but in the name of underground metal journalism, I continue, undeterred.
“I don’t want to take up too much of your time, I just have a few questions. Let’s talk about the song “Cannibal Remains”. The riffs have an undeniable groove, and the chorus is so simple yet effective at “remaining” in your head. Get it?!”
Rogga doesn’t seem amused. I awkwardly continue….”Did…did you set out with the intention of writing a death metal anthem, or umm….”
Rogga stops me mid-sentence, and hands me two burned CD’s of new unnamed albums.
“Two new albums? What the…..”
I can see where this is going. I move on with my interview, before Rogga buries me in CDR’s.
“The song “Redemptionless” features an absolutely brilliant guitar solo, courtesy of Kjetil Lynghaug. Is it tough for him being in this band when all of the attention gets focused on you and your prolific-ness?”
No response. Nothing. I suddenly notice the room is quiet. Too quiet….Rogga has presumably vanished into thin air. It’s just me in his studio, surrounded by his equipment. On his desk, I see five more burned CD’s, each one labelled with today’s date, and names written in sharpie, “New album #4, New album #5, New album #6”, and so on….
“Rogga? Where’d you go? I have more questions….I wanted to ask about your creative process, and find out what inspired awesome songs like “Drowning in Sand”, “They Came to Die”, “Rot Spreads”, and “Tower of the Morbid”! Rogga? ROGGA???!!!”
His computer startles me by making loud noises, almost sounding like a car engine on the verge of exploding. Out of nowhere, a CD shoots out of his CD drive, almost decapitating me. I pick up the disc, labeled “New album #9”.
“ROGGA!!! Let me out of here man!”
More albums come shooting out of his disc drive, I dive behind an amp cabinet for safety. I hear the rapid fire sound of new albums shooting out of his computer, all landing in a pile in the middle of the room, forming a mountain that threatens to crush my pitiful body, leaving behind a flattened cadaver.
“ROGGA!!! Please!! I want to live!! I WANT TO LIVE!!!”
And just when I thought my life was over, I realize I’m back in my hotel room, safe and sound. Had it been a dream all along? There was no mountain of new albums looming over me. A sense of calm comes over me, and I accept that some creative forces are not meant to be understood or meddled with. I board a plane back to the United States, listening to “Tower of the Morbid”, knowing that all is right with the world.
Rating: 5 out of 5 New Albums!!
Progressive Cave Ogier
After hearing about the incidents that took place with the Swedish visit of our dear Mr. Swine, I am a little bit startled. I am not going to visit Gamleby for further studies, no way. Will review the new Paganizer album safely by listening to it in the depths of the Prog Cave alone. Mr. Swine really raised a good question there, though. How the hell Rogga is able to churn out all that amount of Death Metal and actually live a life aside of it too? I mean, just open up Rogga Johansson, Sweden, Gamleby from Metal Archives and start counting the number of albums he has released and the theme of The X-Files starts playing in your head immediately. Trust me! Maybe Fox and Scully, specialists in these matters, could actually find an answer for this as our Mr. Swine is most likely going to stay far away from Sweden after the The Twilight Zone encounter of his. Until then, the mystery remains unsolved.
But… enough of chatter. To the album instead!
“The Tower of the Morbid” by Rogga’s longest running band Paganizer is definitely the heaviest one the band has EVER released. Sounding definitely more modern than your average old school death metal band would, but not in a bad way at all. There’s crisp in the distortion, effective sharpness in the drumtone and vocals are clearly audible, only to demonstrate the Rogga’s trademark growl in full effect. If their previous album “Land of Weeping Souls” had a bit of a crust punkish drive to it and the Scandinavian War machine back in the day flirted even a bit with semi-melodic riffs, “The Tower of Morbid” is pure murder with a mallet throughout. “Cannibal Remains” gives a slower, but definitely heavier take on the matter and album ends in the blastbeaty frenzy of “Demented Machines“. Yet, if there is a tune here I’d really like to lift that would be utterly fantastic “They Came to Die“, that is almost a tune that over shines the whole record with its utter anthemic catchiness and fist pumping mania.
It seems that Rogga got all the melodic matter out of his system with the tremendous solo album of his released earlier this year. “The Tower of Morbid” surely does come across like the brutal counterpart to it. And when you think of it, these two releases paint a highly comprehensive picture of what Rogga’s music is about. Scandinavian death metal that refuses to lick anyone’s butt and ignores trends in an almost stubborn fashion. He can pull out a catchy melody whenever he wants to, or go to that Massacre mode of early death metal and churn those pick up truck death tones, suitable for a Florida swamp or the dusty roads of the Swedish countryside alike. 4 x 4 death! This is what majority of his music is about and “The Tower of the Morbid” is no exception.
It seems that Rogga has been in a great mood for writing while putting together the material for “The Tower of the Morbid” and he seems to have a great band around him too. This album is maybe the most professional sounding release by Paganizer so far and as stated, the most brutal one too. Time will tell if it will receive as many spins as the previous death metal masterpiece “Land of Weeping Souls” did, but it surely is not in any way, shape, or form weaker. If “Land of Weeping Souls” had lots of energy and drive, “The Tower of the Morbid” has plenty in blunt brutality and it is up to you to choose, which one you prefer.
Rating – 4/5
The Great Mackintosh.
What, in the actual fuck, am I supposed to write after these two brilliant men, first thing that popped into my mind was a quote from a movie JFK, “We’re through the looking glass here”, and that comment can only be made after reading about near decapitation’s, apparent dreams of Sweden, and having the fucking X-files theme song stuck in my head since, so I’m just going to have to try my best here amongst all of the batshit insanity. This is indeed something special.
My brothers in darkness. Metal, and awesomeness both like this, and so do I. This is another immensely massive slab of ‘Fuck you’ from Rogga and co, and it would be a crime to admit that it is not. “Land of Weeping Souls” was my number one in 2017, and still cops a regular flogging because it was fucking perfect, and then this one drops, and you get another huge kick right in the nether regions, but as one of my fellow brethren has duly noted, it’s not quite the same kick that you got before.
“Land of Weeping Souls” was an extraordinary effort, and when a band pulls one that good out of their proverbial arses. how much higher can you go. Then you hear news that a new one is coming, and you grab the wipes, because you feel that you may shit yourself upon it’s arrival, and then you put the shit paper away, and realise that a man this prolific cannot always nail it. The sentiment is there, and fuck me with the loose end of the polearm of your choosing if this is not a damn fine Death Metal album, it just isn’t as great as the previous mentioned.
Now, having said that, the challenge still remains for all other bands of this ilk to do BETTER. This is still class of the highest order, and I will duly state that most won’t. “Land of Weeping Souls” will stay in my books as utter as a piece of art as will Usupresses “The Regal Tribe”, Morbid Angel’s “Blessed Are The Sick”, and even Paradise Lost’s “Gothic”, a different bunch to put together to say the least, but they are all glue. This one for me may need a few more listens, but at the end of the day will still get a huge rating. Why? because as stated before, it’s fucking solider than a man with titanium bones, and deserves your attention.
Rating – 4/5
Climb the tower, you know you want to.