“As Dystopia Beckons”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Here’s something I didn’t see coming! Megascavenger is one of the teeming hordes of death metal projects that guitarist Rogga Johanson has unleashed upon the universe and up until now, it fit comfortably in the old school vein of all his other bands:  straight up monstrous death with influences from the classic Swedish scene and bands like Massacre and Autopsy. If that was your vision of Megascavenger, you can forget it now, because Rogga, a guy who has been accused of sticking in a well worn groove, has made a radical departure here.

The cover shows robotized cyborgs of the future invading an alien world. And that’s what the music sounds like, too! While not totally abandoning his pure death metal roots, Rogga has injected Megascavenger with a HUGE dose of industrial sound as well as some other unorthodox musical choices. This record is full of clanks, bleeps, mechanized voices, digital drum blasts and space soundscapes. The proportion of industrial on this album approaches almost 50% of it. Beneath that, we get growling death vocals from a variety of guest singers like Kam Lee, Dave Ingram of Benediction/Hail of Bullets and Adrie Kloosterwaard of Sinister. And yes, the pummeling raw guitar sound is still there. The result can be effective, like on “The Machine That Turns Humans Into Slop” with Ingram on vocals and “The Hell That Is This World”, with Kam Lee. But if you don’t like any artificiality in your death metal, this new incarnation of Megascavenger is not for you.

That’s not all. Rogga throws some real monkey wrenches into the machine with “As The Last Day Has Passed”, which sounds extremely un-Johansson like with a catchy melodic death metal approach and less aggressive singing from Loch Vostok’s Teddy Moller. This will throw fans of Rogga’s traditional primitive BM into a tizzy, but nowhere near as much as the godawful “Harrowing of Hell”, which sounds like an industrial Danzig and featuring dreadful Danzig-like moans from Kam Lee. This is really terrible.

The title track ends things with a complete industrial soundscrape full of Dalek vocals and processed sounds. Wow, you can’t claim that Rogga didn’t take a chance with this record! But did the risks pay off? The answer to that is highly debatable.