With my recent interview with none other than Paul Speckmann of Master fame, Paul stated that there is a fourth release with mutual friend Rogga Johansson for the Johansson/Speckmann project. It won’t be too difficult to guess what this album sounds like with Master’s thrash and death metal influences and Rogga with his traditional Swedish sound. What we have here from both of these prominent and respected gentleman is more old school worship. Drummer Brynjar Helgetun is behind the kit once again, bringing his bandmate from Paganizer, Kjetil Lynghaug, who performs all the guitar solos. There can be no mistake that this will be a very strong record.
Opening with “The Demons Night”, Paul’s unmistakable rasp bellows over old school thrash style riffs in the Slayer mould. Paul and Rogga lock horns when it comes to the riffs and it’s a battle that each of them want to win which results in the best of experiences for the listener. There is plenty for the old school metaller to get their teeth into here and it’s relentless from beginning to end. Rogga and Paul are clearly using all their influences in their respective back catalogues as next track “Is This Just Virtual” has much more of a classic rock feel. It’s as if this project is escapism for both characters and fun to do with classic rock solos and riffs flying everywhere.
I can tell who had most influence on the next track, as there is pure Swedish death metal riffs throughout in the vein of early Edge of Sanity which gets me moving more than the previous tracks. Anyone who reads my reviews know that if it sounds Swedish, you’re onto a winner with me. There are still some elements of thrash within the song, especially with the drumming of Brynjar but when it’s slowed down, it’s Swedeath to the max.
Next song to get this old metal head moving was “Heal the Strain” which, like most of the album, is slow to mid-paced and mixes all styles of metal quite beautifully. Something has to be said about the experience of this project with its members being able to put Paganizer and Master aside to record something this powerful. Melodic death metal in the Swedish vein mixed with thrash and death n’ roll riffs make this a joy to behold.
“The Heathen Of The Night” is my favourite song on the album with it being ideally placed in the tracklist to lift the pace, everything fast and in the old school death metal vein. This is homage to the days of old from two veterans of the scene with over fifty years of experience between them. Swirling and frantic riffs are the order of the day and backed up by incessant pounding of the drums from Brynjar. It got this head windmilling and the air guitar came out the cupboard!
“The Fallen Angel” carries on with the faster side of this project and certainly ends this album on a high. While it’s simplistic in its formula, the way it has been put together and the tempo changes throughout the song make this work. Plenty of old school death metal worship again reminiscent of the early days of Swedish death metal. Riffs are just sublime and this is just classic material from the band.
“Kill and Kill” opens with a very nice solo from Kjetil and although Kjetil features frequently within songs, there is no guitar wankery here. He just plays solos of the short, sharp, shock variety before it’s more of the fast old school worship once again from the boys. Again I hear elements of Edge of Sanity and I feel that Paul’s performance on this track is the best of all. This is then a fitting way to end the album as it’s a perfect match of the authors of mayhem main projects in Paganizer and Master.
This could be the most varied album that the boys have produced with the more traditional thrash meets death metal output over the course of their three previous albums. This is exactly what this project is for though, for both Rogga and Paul letting their guard down and letting their other musical influences take over for a while. This does not last long with both prominent members realising what they are doing and bringing their extreme metal back to the fore resulting in a perfect heavy metal album.
No doubt it will be next year when this project with Rogga and Paul will rear its ugly head again with another album, such workaholics that they are. Well I for one will look forward to it.