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Horror metal messenger, Rogga Johansson never seems to stop does he? Out of every musician in the death metal genre, little come to be as prolific as Rogga, pumping out death metal albums like Stephen King pumps out books. I’ve been aware of Rogga’s projects for some time, but it took a 2020 reissue to finally get my hands on one. That one being Revolting’s ‘Dreadful Pleasures’ originally released about 11 years ago. As far as I can tell, Revolting’s all about horror with the cover akin to a cheesy 80s b-movie and lyrics filled with tales of monsters and killers to match. Not to mention a classic and chunky Swedish death metal style that we all know and love.
‘Dreadful Pleasures’ is an album that’s hard to pin down with sufficient detail. At its most base level, it’s an above average, even great example of death metal. It’s got personality in the form of Rogga’s snarling vocals and monstrous riffing, Martin’s brutal drumming and Tobias’ thrumming bass. The issue is that it shoots itself if the foot with the songs and how consistent the album is with itself. No one song is too different from one another: no mutant or monster more freakishly deformed than the others. The LP also blows its load too early with its first and best track ‘Tenafly Viper’. The song rips, roars, tears and shreds with catchy riffs, infections drum lines, and a memorable chorus. Then as soon as it’s over, every other track just sort of happens without the brains of the first song behind them. The album blasts through riffs but it only seems to feature truly amazing ones by chance. Odds are however, if you like one song off this album and are into Swedish death metal, you’ll most assuredly like others as well. Truth be told, tracks like ‘Overtaken by the Crawling’ and ‘Moonshine Mutation’ are too fun, ravenous and insane to pass up. I’m also a sucker for the stories weaved throughout the album. I mean, who doesn’t like skeevy 80s horror movie monsters, stalkers and killers thrown into their death metal?
Of course, the Swedish don’t only have great riffs to accompany their breed of death metal, they also have the sound nailed as well. ‘Dreadful Pleasures’ production is what elevates great songs into bangers, dishing out a healthy heaping of crunchy guitar tones, crisp vocals, sizzling bass and of course, poignant drums. Regardless of my opinion on Rogga’s writing skills, this album sounds great and evokes the atmosphere it’s going for without fail. I can picture the music video now, scratchy black and white film, women being chased by beasts and horrific tales all to the sweet tune of pulsing and relentless death metal, courtesy of Revolting. The album’s tone is spot on as well, thanks to Rogga’s vocals intertwined with his guitar, lyrical patterns and so on. Though the songs aren’t all notable, it’s still entertaining to hear how and what Rogga will bleat out. This is a man that doesn’t slack around his death metal and it just by how he plays on this album, you get a sense of the passion he puts into it.
‘Dreadful Pleasures’ is by no means a dreadful album. I love the nature of it, how it bares its yellowed teeth, ready to spill bright red blood with its almighty death metal brutality. But there’s a certain uniformity to the album’s teeth. Instead of gnarled, jagged razors of varying length and edge, they’re all the same (give or take) with three or four moments of flesh-rending terror that stick out. It’s a fine album that plays by its own death metal rules with intermittent dealings of pure horror metal. At least one freakshow here will get your head banging!
Release date: September 7th, 2020 (re-issue)
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