Paganizer - _Scandinavian Warmachine_
(Cyclone Empire, 2009)
by: Colleen Burton (5.5 out of 10)
Most of us are cognizant of the no-name revivalist bands who take up the banner of old-school death metal, and I personally tend to lose interest straightaway when I receive the album of any newer band with this particular disposition. That being said, Paganizer are assuredly not newcomers to this movement; _Scandinavian Warmachine_ emerges ten years after their full-length debut. Happily, they reveal a more delectable side of the multifaceted scene of Swedish death metal. Of note are the groovy title track, the deleterious feeling conveyed by the unblemished interaction of guitar and bass in "Destroying the Gods to Enable the Slaughter of Millions" and the sprinting energy of the lead guitar behind "Onward to Die".

As the album spins out, the drums are executed with sizzling speed, but the overall tempo can't be said to push past a mid-pace; and the compositions, while stuffed with jarring guitar work which hints of Unleashed, are barren of solos -- not that it's necessarily a bad thing. Traces of Fleshcrawl and related acts become conspicuous, yet Paganizer lack the brutal nature of other groups like Torture Division, mainly in the vocal attack. _Scandinavian Warmachine_ lacks the "finesse" of such bands, and in spite of his omnipresence in the metal community, Rogga Johansson's vocals founder beneath the mix. Indeed, with such trenchant songs doing approximately the same thing, they could have done with less of them, yet they chose to crown their efforts with an anticlimactic finale. An hour of songs is undoubtedly good bang for your buck, but several of the tracks, while not blatantly bad, are dispensable filler.

No, this isn't at all the sort of death metal thrown together for the pit, but these rhythms grow on you and the stripped-down, bare-bones concept can't help but appeal to fans of the desultory sounds of Grave and Dismember. To wit, Paganizer offer us nothing earth-shattering, but merely a high-quality album that serves as a testament to their years of engagement with the genre.


(article published 7/3/2010)

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