Of all the multitudinous branches of the death metal tree, Swedish death metal has proven itself to be one of the most resilient. From its earliest stages in the music of Entombed, Dismember, and At the Gates to its modern evolution through bands like Paganizer and Bloodbath, the style has ebbed and waned in influence but never in stylistic consistency. Churning out HM-2 chug after chug with violent regularity, it’s a love it or hate it proposition for most death metal fans, and Rogga Johansson very clearly falls into the latter of those two camps. His second record under his eponymous moniker, Entrance to the Otherwhere, is a further testament to his enduring influence on the death metal genre, which has been solidified by his decades-spanning work in bands like Revolting, Down Among the Dead Men, Necrogod, The Grotesquery, the above stated Paganizer, and a slew of other projects. With this legendary status in tow, I could not be more proud to premiere a track from the latest installment in Johansson’s storied career, “In the Grip of Garpedans”, exclusively here at Heavy Blog Is Heavy!
For all that bluster about Swedeath, one might expect this track to be a blistering riff-fest for the meatiest of heads, and while the track certainly doesn’t shirk a general sense of heaviness, there’s a deliberate nature to “In the Grip of Garpedans” that is both mature and expansive without ever losing a sense of feral nastiness. Johansson is as seasoned a musician as they come, and his expert songwriting abilities are on full display here, allowing each section of the track to unfold at its own pace. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this track is its sense of melody, which punctuates every gut-punch riff with a sense of purpose and catchiness. The main melodic line here is an earworm that you’ll probably find yourself humming days after hearing it, which is a quality far too seldom heard in modern death metal. It’s an infinitely listenable track that serves as a delicious appetizer to the wonders contained in Entrance to the Otherwhere.
Interested parties can look for the album to drop July 19th via Transcending Obscurity Records. It’s also available for preorder now on the band’s Bandcamp page. Swedeath fans: Go do the thing.