PAGANIZER “Land of Weeping Souls” 

URSINNE “Swimming With the Leviathan”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Sometimes you have to admit you just got flattened and have to throw critical analysis into the shredder. That’s almost always the case with Swedish monsters Paganizer and never more obvious than on their latest “Land of Weeping Souls”. I was prepared to review just “another Swedish death metal album” of which there are many. About 20 seconds into “Your Suffering Will Be Legendary”, I was too busy picking my head off the floor to do it. Rogga Johansson has come loaded for bear this time and this first song is a nuclear inferno that fried me to a crisp. This sonofabitch is HEAVY!!!

There’s a tune here called “The Insanity Never Stops” and that describes the album in a nutshell. This is very violent and aggressive Swedish death in classic fashion, with muscular production. Classic Vomitory comes to mind, even more than with Vomitory follow-up band Cut Up. This stuff is beyond the ability to criticize. No, it’s not anything new, but it’s so raging and brutal that you simply must bow down.

Ursinne is a bit of a different proposition. This new band features one of death metal’s great voices, Dave Ingram, and a guy who almost rivals Rogga Johansson in terms of productivity, Wombbath’s Johnny Petterson. Their debut is a very odd beast indeed. The brutality is not as instant as with Paganizer, but it’s there…the guitar sound is a grinding fanged mechanical monster. First tune “Devil May Care” is a winner that grows on you with its deliberate pace and touches of mournful melody. Dave’s voice is great as usual.

The Ursinne originals are pretty intriguing, but what has me scratching my head are the number of goofy cover songs on the album. “Crazy Horses” by The Osmonds? “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors?  “Spellbound” by Siouxsie and the Banshees? What gives here? Sure, these are unorthodox covers and there’s something to be said for that, but none of these really adapt well at all to a grinding death metal sound. “Turning Japanese” in particular is horrid to listen to. Maybe these songs were childhood faves of Dave and Johnny, but that doesn’t mean they should be on an extreme metal album. There are some good tracks like “Bullet Bitten” and “Underworld” but Ursinne seems like a work in progress. I definitely prefer Ingram’s other band Echelon.

You just can’t argue with the brute force of Paganizer…