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Johansson & Speckmann - Sulphur Skies

Johansson & Speckmann
Sulphur Skies
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 06 June 2013, 2:08 PM

A dangerous meeting between two giants, clash of the titans, two representative of two extreme Metal scenes empowered by the clutching intensity of old school Death Metal. From the right, archetypal of the US Death Metal scene, you have Paul Speckmann oozed up on the vocals, the creator of MASTER, ABOMINATION and SPECKMANN PROJECT and from the left, his counterpart from Sweden, Rogga Johansson on the guitars and bass, mastermind behind illustrious acts as PAGANIZER, HUMAN DELETE, RIBSPREADER, PUTREVORE and plenty of others that were touched by his dreadful hand. I don’t know if I should say “it was about the damn time” as I have never dreamed that this collaboration would have ever existed, up until now. This surreal alliance propagated a project named JOHANSSON & SPECKMANN, signed to Vic Records, with its debut release, “Sulphur Skies”. Generally, right from the get go it will be pretty easy to consume and assume what will come next, brutalized old school Death Metal outbreak fueled up with bits and pieces of Thrash Metal, yet don’t expect too much out of it.

In the past I had the chance to review the two icons’ separate works, more of Johansson’s than of Speckmann’s, yet I have known ABOMINATION for many years and of course the climax of the MASTER ventures. It would sound a bit harsh, but within “Sulphur Skies”, in accordance to the music that each of the guys have been making for a long period of time, it seemed to me that the so called connection dot between the two artists is the fact that both have been recycling themselves. Frankly, I didn’t expect anything innovative from this release because I knew that it is going to be rough, raw, utterly evil and straight to the face without additional splendors. “Sulphur Skies” can be regarded as the same thing altogether, relentless Death Metal oblivious fest cracking up a fine fusion of what two scenes can provide. On the other hand, as I stated earlier, no development but only a walk down the same strip and back again. Sure that I enjoyed listening to the robust energies of the fast paced rhythms, attempts of multi version drumming by Brynjar Helgetun, Johansson’s dirt infested riffing, occasional soloing that reminded me of early DEATH but were badly fit into the mix, slithery, grave vocalic disinterment of Speckmann’s deathly singing abilities, but unfortunately not always, especially Speckmann’s vocals that seemed tired and exhausted and of course that same rhythms repeatedly slashing and spurting as if nothing better could have been written as an alternative. “Everyone Rots” elevated my hopes up for a classic Death Metal, it shared a hell of a chorus, foul main riff, spectacular drumming effort and well asserted lead guitar soloing. However, slowly everything started burning afterwards leaving only “Taste The Iron” and “Vile Stench and Decay” to be the next in line tracks to keep me company as remainders of the genre’s finest cornerstones.

Suggesting on describing this release a potential would be a semi of “missing the target”.  Johansson and Speckmann are two high caliber figures in Death Metal music and of course that ultimately it would be expected of them to produce an overwhelming old school experience for the youngsters to learn their roots. In overall, they were able to issue a blow to the knee with an ample offering, yet their repetitive sense, same type of song arrangements and writing, compelling yet monotonous riffing, aren’t the answer and the way past to glory. If this project will continue, and not just for the kicks, I hope for a better result.   

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Everyone Rots
2. Spiritual Wastelands
3. Taste The Iron
4. Sulphur Skies
5. Rotten Lands
6. Power and Madness
7. Vile Stench and Decay
8. The Wretched Man
9. The World is Set to Burn
10. The Real Victims
11. Crawl for Miles
12. The Stench of Mankind
Lineup:
Paul Speckmann – Vocals
Rogga Johansson – Guitars / Bass
Brynjar Helgetun - Drums
Record Label: Vic Records
     


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