(Transcending Obscurity Records, 2017)
#FOR FANS OF: Oldschool Death Metal, Dismember, Grave
With an oldschool Swedish death metal sound and the experience to provide it, Paganizer brings the bassy and unhinged pummel reminiscent of bands like Entombed, Grave, and Dismember. Cavernous vocals, short thrashing guitar licks, prominent and cascading leads, and immense primitive snare rattling and bass stomping create the energy of a brisk naked scramble down the 'Left Hand Path' on the third day of a methamphetamine binge as the spiders start eating you flesh away.
The soloing at the end of “Dehumanized” is face-meltingly electric as it tears through a raucous rhythm that thrashes as much as it stomps to the slamming rhythm of a tribal drum. A bloody-knuckled fist of frustrated energy caged between the guitars, snare snaps against riffs in the hopes of escaping its strict confinement. Yet in the oldschool fashion of chaining the snare while allowing the bass pedals to take off running, there is no relent to the walls of harmonizing treble as guitars create staggering walls that no broken nail may scrape its way up. Screaming with such speed, the great catchy melodic opening riff to “Forlorn Dreams” is beaten into step by an intense uptick in snare hammering. The harmonious lead riff winds its way through this slowest and longest song on the album to create a cavernous backdrop for shrill soloing to complete the performance.
When it comes to this bass-heavy production, the lead guitar is very loud in the mix. With riffs that amble through dank corridors that Demilich so comprehensively explored, very samey movements in songs like “Soulless Feeding Machine” and “Prey to Death” become a downright annoyance when you realize that, despite all the personality of the early tracks, the rest of the catalogue is having a tough search for interesting ideas. Sadly, this is one of those albums that has a great start but can't sustain that freshness and momentum throughout a full-length. That is the unfortunate downfall of “Land of the Weeping Souls”. Sure, souls weep through every shade of sadness and despair in this album as the title track chokes out small solos and rhythms rail against their cage in thunderous cadences, but the momentum becomes a forced slog in the second half of this half hour. While there are moments in “The Bured Undead” with its rising solo, the rhythm is far less catchy than in “Forlorn Dreams” and, alongside “Soulless Feeding Machine”, sounds like a halfhearted attempt to grasp the power that “Forlorn Dreams” had hooked the listener in. Though the back catalogue of this album has its merits there aren't many truly momentous moments that propelled a song into its full tilt to strongly follow the forceful openers.
Paganizer's 'Land of the Weeping Souls' is a solid album from an obviously talented and experienced band. Its initial blast surely creates a destructive shock-wave. However, the wave tapers off, and though the back catalogue of Paganizer's “Land of the Weeping Souls” can still sate a Swedish death metal blood-thirst, it doesn't incredibly shake its way down to the fault lines that could move enough Earth to make one's suffering truly legendary.