When it comes to Death Metal’s perverse and unholy backyard barbecue, there are those who bring the potato salad and Those Who Bring the Torture. Yes, I know that joke was stupid, but reviewing anything from the mighty Rogga Johansson is never an easy task. One has to get things off the ground however one can. You see, Rogga is in 72 bands that all put out 18 albums a year. I don’t know exactly how many that is, but I know it all equals 9. Fortunately for this writer, Those Who Bring the Torture records are slightly less daunting than most of Johansson’s similarly-veined endeavors. Despite the menacing moniker, this is actually one of the man’s more accessible outlets. No, that’s not another bad joke. Just listen to the first riff of album opener “Under Twin Suns.” That’s a hook with a groove you could almost rap to! Okay, so maybe it isn’t that accessible, but it certainly seems as though Rogga saves all his best melodies for this particular project. Of course, that’s not to say TWBtT isn’t still Death… the Rogga way. This prolific Swede knows no other means. However, tracks such as “The Gateway,” “In Orbit,” and “Towering Structures of the Damned” are graced with a slick melodic sensibility that doesn’t often reveal itself on most Paganizer or Ribspreader cuts. Elsewhere, “Incomprehensible” has an air of melancholy and dejection that’s almost Doom-like in essence, despite the song’s speedy double-bass-driven energy, while “A Dead Cold Space” achieves nearly the same vibe through a Punkish slant. If I had to pick a weak spot, all that’s really available is album closer “Turrets of a Forgotten Castle.” Not a terrible tune, but somewhat of a lumbering Thrashy clunker that doesn’t quite fit in with the flow of an otherwise powerful album. Then again, everything this guy does is pretty damn awesome in its own right. Just not always the easiest material to expound upon, as it’s typically the same brand of standard-issue sickness Johansson so effortlessly deals with the quickness of a veteran Vegas Blackjack dealer (talk about “piling up”). So, if you hunger for a side of something a little different with your helping of more-of-the-same, Those Who Bring the Torture might just be surprisingly filling.
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