Land of Weeping Souls by Paganizer

Release date: August 5, 2017
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

There can be no Paganizer without Rogga ‘death metal riffs’ Johansson at the helm. His stout, gritty, catchy riffs are the foundation of Paganizer’s sound. The guitars are upfront in the mix and not a bit of runtime is wasted on ambient music or sax. Death metal the brutal way might be one way to describe Paganizer’s music. Old-school to the core, catchy with the use of big hooks and simple chord progressions, Paganizer has never been about creating the most original death metal on the planet. They find fresh riffs to use for each album, and that comes with or without barbecue sauce staining their faces.

The truth is their style is singular in aesthetic – uptempo death metal favored by old-school Swedeath-loving headbangers. They craft a tighter, heavier album than they have in recent years, spreading the wealth of blast sections and galloping transitions on their latest album, Land of Weeping Souls.

The album title might be a tad misleading, as Land of Weeping Souls sounds like an album released by the likes of acclaimed doom band Loss. Paganizer keeps things simple and fun for headbangers to mosh to, and it is this conviction towards catchy accessible music that separates Paganizer from hordes of death metal bands who seek to write their elusive genre-defining, penultimate full-length album. Paganizer doesn’t so much as make leaps and bounds with each release. The qualitative differences between their albums are subtle but perceptible. This time, the music on Land of Weeping Souls is arguably their steadiest and most enjoyable yet.

The band is indeed intense on Land of Weeping Souls. They don’t evolve the old Swedeath template, in spite of the guitar sound making use of simpler grit in favor of a truly downtuned Boss HM-2 pedal-equipped guitar attack. This makes their guitar riffs more dynamic across the fretboard, instead of using a Boss HM-2 that makes the riffs sound like they’re all rooted on the sixth string. I could have made this observation in error, but the truth is, I like the thought of Rogga experimenting with the guitar effects and finding ways to make Swedeath just a tad refreshed for fans who have heard Dismember’s buzzsaw sound and have yearned for at least some experimentation through the years.

Solid song structure all throughout, Land of Weeping Souls may not please too many jaded fans who are into more forward-thinking, progressive acts, but fans like me who will never admit to harboring a distaste for Swedish death metal will love this to bits. As Rogga goes, his riffs are rarely the cause of concern for most of his projects, especially for Paganizer. So, skip the Myrkur show for a club somewhere in the middle of nowhere much-sought after by metallers in search of grade A Swedish death metal. The club is rockin and I ain’t stoppin my headbangin for nothin. This is another good album by the Swedes. For Rogga, this is no less impressive after the umpteenth album release of his career as a guitarist.

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