At the Plateaus of Leng

Rogga Johansson is ubiquitous, numerous bands, numerous projects. Are they really necessary? Let’s look at the music – this man knows his Death Metal, he’s doing nothing wrong. He’s not diluting the essence, so to speak, he’s not doing anything ridiculous. Yes, he’s prolific but he’s keeping it interesting between his projects, be it say RevoltingPaganizer or Humanity Delete.

With Megascavenger, he has teamed up with session drummer Brynjar Helgetun of Crypticus fame. And a plethora of musicians, all known and superstars in their own way. This is unprecedented. My apprehensions were about the music losing all character and consistency but that’s thankfully not the case. It’s in fact turning out to be a compilation of sorts, the kind you use to get people into Death Metal or tell them what’s good about it in the first place. That’s the appeal of Rogga Johansson – it’s effective. Period.

Like last years Just Before Dawn effort ( which Johansson appeared on), every song has a different vocalist. The first one has Dave Ingram of Benediction/Bolt Thrower fame, the second Kam Lee of Massacre, the third Aad Kloosterwaard of Sinister, the fourth Martin Van Drunen of Asphyx. As unbelievable as it looks, it’s true. Does it detract from the music? Not at all. Like I said, it’s like a compilation with Death Metal in common, good Death Metal, pummelling, old school and rifftastic. That’s what it matters at the end of the day. Plus on this album, there’s a good melodic sense, reminiscent of ‘Crimson’-era Edge of Sanity.

Pummelling music is synonymous with this man, music in the vein of early Grave, Dismember, Entombed and Unleashed, but over here, for a change, it’s also well-structured, has these slower melodic breaks more often than elsewhere and that’s what makes this band a valid one. As long as Rogga doesn’t keep doing things in the same way on every release, it’s good enough to warrant a release, a full-fledged one such as in this case. He doesn’t make any pretensions about the same either, he’s just doling out one solid album after the other, and if they’re as enjoyable as this one, I wish he continues to keep doing so.

This is probably the most varied and diverse album created by Rogga Johansson and that’s not at the expense of dumbing down the music. It’s old school music updated to palatable levels, after all how many recorded-in-a-cave pretentious albums can you digest? At least this man has no qualms about lack of originality and if he can keep it interesting, that’s more than can be said about most bands playing this hackneyed style these days. This is a very competent album musically, not sticking to just one style yet retaining a common solid Death Metal theme throughout. It’s extremely well-played and sometimes that’s all you need.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kunal Choksi
March 5th, 2014


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Crimson-style melodies? Sign me up!

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