Johansson & Speckmann – “The Germs Of Circumstance” (Soulseller Records)
Battle Helm Rating
After collaborating on a song for the first Megascavenger album in 2012, the fuse was lit for death metal masters Paul Speckmann (Abomination, Cadaveric Poison, Death Strike, Master, ex-Martyr, ex-Solutions, ex-Speckmann Project, ex-Walpurgisnacht, Blunt Force Trauma, ex-Krabathor, ex-War Cry, ex-Funeral Bitch, ex-Assault (USA)) and Rogga Johansson (Bloodgut, Dead Sun, Down Among the Dead Men, Echelon, Eye of Purgatory, Fondlecorpse, Furnace, Ghoulhouse, Grisly, Humanity Delete, Lobotomy Dept, Massacre, Megascavenger, Monstrous, Necrogod, Paganizer, PermaDeath, Pile of Skulls, Putrevore, Reek, Revolting, Ribspreader, Rogga Johansson, Severed Limbs, Stass, Svitjod, The Cleaner and Mr. Filth’s Van Murders, The Dead Cold, The Skeletal, Those Who Bring The Torture, To Descend, ex-Carve, ex-Demiurg, ex-Eaten, ex-Foreboding, ex-Minotaur Head, ex-Skeletal Spectre, ex-Swarming, ex-Terminal Grip, ex-The Grotesquery, Troikadon, ex-Banished from Inferno, ex-Graveyard After Graveyard, ex-Sinners Burn, ex-Soulburn, ex-The 11th Hour, ex-Deranged (live), ex-Bone Gnawer, ex-To the Gallows) to issue a full length in “Sulphur Skies” just a year later. Despite how busy both of these guys are as judging by the many projects they are involved in individually, clearly there was magic in their chemistry given the duo, completed by drummer Brynjar Helgetun (Crypticus, Dominant, Gods Forsaken, Just Before Dawn, Kam Lee, Liklukt, Massacre, The Skeletal, ex-The Grotesquery, ex-Axeslasher, ex-Down Among the Dead Men, ex-Megascavenger, ex-Ribspreader, ex-Those Who Bring the Torture, ex-Moordzucht) went on to release a further 4 full-length albums. As such “The Germs Of Circumstance” leaves no doubt as to what to expect from this tried and tested formula – namely death metal mayhem! Not old school, not modern, not European or American, but the quintessential product as distilled by not one, but two bulldozers of the genre. But rather than mellowing out on album number 5, “The Germs Of Circumstance” is even harder, faster and aggressive than before as evidenced across its 8 blistering songs. Opening with title track ‘The Germs Of Circumstance’, the beat is nothing short of punishing as Helgetun sets a ferocious pace with some real power hitting those skins as Johansson’s relentless guitar and bass work effortlessly rolls in savage riffs, catchy grooves and twisted melodies, while dropping in the occasional soulful solo (!) as Speckmann drawls sickeningly over it all – fantastic! With no let-up (as if you expected one!) comes ‘One World One Leader’ with Helgetun’s double bass pedals glowing red hot as Johansson’s guitar finally loses control in its wailing and shredding insanity although the overall tone of nihilism and disgust in Speckmann’s growls isn’t missed during this 3 minute blur of insanity. Going full throttle on ‘Generations Antidote’ the stampeding trio chug, thrash and blast beat you senseless as Speckmann screams his throat raw while Johansson tears at his strings through relentless power riffing, evoking tortured squeals from his axe and then in total contrast serves up a melodic solo toward the end – wow, like totally extreme man! They say you can’t teach an old dog tricks but even the walking dead will be howling for this one….