Review: Rogga Johansson – Entrance To The Otherwhere 8.5

  • Rogga Johansson 
  • Entrance To The Otherwhere
  • Death Metal/Black metal
  • Sweden
  • 19th July 2019
  • 8.5/10

Bandcamp

This is a solo project. Now go listen and hold a physical copy of this beautiful artwork, then let that fact sink in. This material is of higher quality than most bands and it’s the result of one prolific madman, Rogga Johansson, whose metallum credits are longer than a receipt from Coles. Check it out for yourself here. All of this experience has culminated in this full force effort, finally eliminating his need for other bandmates entirely. He does everything on this record to great acclaim – his vocals aren’t as trained or technical but it serves its purpose perfectly. Everything on this record is in line with Swedish death metal so if you know you like that then dig into this with wild abandon.

The main thing that captured my heart here is the synth – it’s used quite a lot and to great effect. It’s a very spacey kind of neon tone. It suits the melodic nature of the guitar licks well. The guitars often dip into a more depressive state which the synth naturally responds well to. It’s that little extra mile you need to wrap around the finished product. A lot of thought has gone into each moment and what sounds are presented as to not waste time or space. It’s more fleshed out than a lot of full bands but also feels a bit more predictable. You know there isn’t going to be an outsider or two contributing their freakish ways to mutate the product. It’s a very singular vision and is impressive through that lens – to say the least.

 

This is not the first time I’ve encountered the art of Mariusz Lewandowski – he’s been added to the Artist Spotlight due to his high quality work with Bell Witch, Fuming Mouth, Psycroptic and much more. I expect to keep seeing his work out in the wild due to the amount of demand placed on this artist. His work is of a quality that transcends even album art – he creates epic works worth hanging in your home. The use of architecture here swells my building obsessed heart and he often works with giant creatures or small humans at the feet of great figures. It’s always a scene to explore and some of his visual stories are carried across multiple releases. He’s not just an artist but also a story teller.

Story telling is a major part of the music as well with many of the events across the album being conceptually matched in music. You can feel the rises and falls, the musings and lamentations. There is always something is going on. Even the instrumental/ambient track “Berget Vaknar” is positioned well within the album. It reminds me heavily of the Twin Peaks opening song. The otherworldly themes come through even without aid from the vocals and lyrics with a guitar driven story board akin to The Chasm. Vocally I’m least impressed but I also can’t imagine it being performed in any other style. Mid range really allows for the melodic changes to occur at any moment and for the inflections on the words to be manipulated more easily. It sits there like a putty he is able to form into the body of the work.

It’s assumed he is solely responsible for the recording and mixing as well, which if true would strike my curiosity. I’m assuming due to his affiliation with so many bands that he has a hired studio on hand with some top notch programs and hardware. I can’t image this product being produced from a home studio, at least not without a huge financial investment. It sounds like a Swedish death metal release from a fully fledged 90’s or early 00’s band. Due to the effort put into the album as well as the technical mastery, I  recommend this album to most metalheads.

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