More Rogga?? With Mr. Johansson being involved in one of every three reviews I write lately, maybe we should change the website name to Rogga o Rama. I’ve recently examined his Megascavenger and Just Before Dawn projects and here he is again with his main outfit, Paganizer (he also has a collaboration with Paul Speckmann of Master coming in a few weeks). The man is an omnipresent force in the Swedish death scene (hell, he IS the Swedish death scene) and he’s been responsible for lots of rich, creamy metal. In all honesty though, I’ve always found Paganizer to be a spotty act. Some of their early output was solid and some of the more recent stuff was less so. They’re certainly not a band trying to reinvent the death wheel, so you get predictable doses of death in the vein of Entombed, Unleashed and Bloodbath. Needless to say, there’s a lot of that out there already, so unless it brings something memorable and high quality to the Hetfield Table™, it’s likely to get lost in the vast ocean of retro Swede death. While World Lobotomy is serviceable and has a few solid cuts of ugly noise, it rarely rises above average and sometimes feels dull and formulaic. That’s okay though, not every slice of Rogga metal can be awesome sauce. He still has about 50 other worthwhile albums spewing into the marketplace at any given time.
World Lobotomy is packed with twelve fairy short songs in the two-to-three minute range and the energy level is generally high with loads of typically D-beaty, slightly punky, Swedish death thrash. The opening title track is a quality cut with an Entombed-esque attack and plenty of raw, angry aggression and it’s a fun, if simple and unoriginal tune. Equally good is “The Sky on Fire” which blasts along with high energy riffage and a pissed off vigor. From there however, song after song bleeds into the next with few moments standing out as memorable.
“Mass of Parasites” borrows the simplistic, caveman-like death style from Unleashed, but feels too generic and safe. “As the Blood Grows Cold,” “You Call It Deviance” and “As the Maggots Gather” all feel flat and underwhelming and really don’t compel a need for replay. Things improve on the album’s back-end and later cuts like “The Drowners” and “The Last Chapter” offer more in terms of interesting riffing and mood. “The Last Chapter” in particular benefits from riffs that sound like they came from Amorphis‘s The Karelian Isthmus opus.
Rogga’s death roars are always good, though they lack the huge impact they had on the Megascavenger and Just Before Dawn albums. His guitar work is decent, as is that of Andreas Carlsson, but a lot of their riffing suffers from a serious case of “heard this a million times and got the t-shirt.” Riffs lifted from Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed are well and good, but the songs you jam them into really need to fly or things get stale fast. Because a lot of these songs feel generic, the riffs end up the same way and vice versa.
From a production standpoint, World Lobotomy is decently raw and murky, but at times the guitar tone isn’t as powerful as this style of death demands and it can feel a bit wishy-washy. That saps the power a bit, but overall, this sounds like the crusty death album it is.
Overall, World Lobotomy failed to fry my mind and it’s certainly not essential, but there are some decent songs scattered about. As for me, I’ll stick with the recent Rogga projects and wait to see what he comes up with in the next few weeks and months. The man never quits churning out the molten metal and I salute him for it. Rogga for President!