PAGANIZER - Promoting Total Death (FOREVER UNDERGROUND - CD 2001)
First time I have heard of Paganizer was when I received the promo copy of their fourth album “Murder Death kill”. I instantly liked the band a lot, their old styled, brutal death metal was like a light in the darkness for this style of music, as back in these days – which was around 2003 – the number of such bands and such albums was not as big as it is nowadays. Paganizer really shred and instantly, along such Kaamos, Repugnant, Necrovation, Verminous and Nominon, they became my favourite death metal act from Sverige in these times. Obviously I wanted to get more Paganizer music, so this is how I finally also got their other CDs (and nowadays, when Rogga Johansson is so well known death metal dude and plays in quite few bands I think that the number of CD/LP of his in my collection is well over 30 pieces hehe). And at some point, around 2006, I managed to buy the first pressing of “Promoting Total Death” CD. It was released by Forever Underground Records, US label, which does not exist anymore, but which specialised in death metal. But Paganizer is the only band, which I am familiar with from their old roster.
I still, up to this day, have never had a chance to hear Paganizer’s debut CD “Deadbanger”. I’ve read some opinions, also from Rogga himself, that it was more like thrash / death metal oriented music, but somehow I never managed to buy a copy of this CD. But if it‘s true about Paganizer thrash metal influence in it, then on “Promoting Total Death” they are all gone for good, as this album is just classic, straight to the point, relentless, brutal, pure death metal record. There is no toying with any other styles, no will to bring something extraordinary or original to the table… death metal is the only law on “Promoting Total Death”. And I like it a lot. The album breaths with the classic Swedish patters, but unlike bands, which sickeningly try to copy Entombed, Dismember, God Macabre, etc., and have the so called Sunlight sound, Paganizer for me personally sounds more like a bastard son of Grave and Seance from their first LP. So, their music is rather devoid of the Swedish melody and harmonies (I think there’s one melodic theme on the album, with the harmonious guitar lead in the beginning of “Life Slips Away”… and very few more) and focused almost entirely on simple, gut ripping, kind of groovy maybe, but brutal death metal riff. The tempo is almost entirely mid paced, with some slower parts here and there and barely any fast parts at all (“Only Ashes Remain”)... It is just that kind of great death metal, perfect for headbanging and obviously quite catchy as well, if we can only speak of any catchiness in bands like Grave and Paganizer. But definitely the atmosphere of this music is gruesome, is violent… The whole stuff is quite simple, but effective as hell. And this is it! I can say that the title of this album fits the music perfectly. And I would also add the title of the debut, as it really is deadbanger! Also, I must say that musically it is something what can remind you also what later has been done in such bands like Bone Gnawer (also vocal wise)! All in all “Promoting Total Death” may not be the most massacring death metal album ever, but I still like it a lot. It is damn awesome.
Standout tracks: “Promoting Total Death”, “Brutal Way to Die”, “At War”, “Life Slips Away”
Final rate: 70/100