Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Megascavenger - As Dystopia Beckons (2016)

Sweden's Megascavenger have returned with an oddity of a collaboration album, and I don't say that lightly. Nearly every song on the disc has a guest vocalist, even though Rogga Johansson is perfectly capable of doing this on his own as The Plateaus Of Leng displayed. Since there are so many collaborations here, it might be best to do a brief overview of the rather short (it's only half an hour), but intriguing experience. The first track, “Rotting Domain” features Fleshcrawl's Sven Gross in addition to what reminds me of a Fear Factory level of industrial death mayhem, just without the influence of clean vocals. Gross has a rather common vocal approach for death metal, which sounds like a veritable meat grinder of grain and gravel. Dave Ingram (Hail Of Bullets, Echelon) stops by for “The Machine That Turns Humans Into Slop” as we're introduced to the sounds of clanging anvils (more bands should really use the sound the sound of clanging anvils) as well as some samples. It's still death metal though, so don't let the electronic samples frighten you. Next we have Jocke Svensson (Entrails) taking the mic for “Dead City” which is actually a few seconds longer than most of the bite sized clusters of death that you'll find here. It doesn't really go too far out of it's territory and sounds just like a classic death metal disc. Aside from some slight electronic sections, it's another day at the office. Now the record might sound a little too basic aside from the industrial elements, at least for the first half – but I really like what was done with “As The Last Day Has Passed” which features Loch Vostok's Teddy Moller on vocals. But it's not the industrial element, or even Moller's vocal work (it is pretty great) that affects me, it's that damn sorrowful melody that plays throughout the whole thing. This is the kind of riff that we might expect from a band like Anathema or Katatonia, so it's interesting to hear it used here. It makes for a track that just isn't interested in sounding like many of the death metal sloggers on here, allowing for some needed variety.

The next cut “The Hell That Is This World” features Kam Lee (Mantas, The Grotesquery) on vocals, but oddly has more of an electronic influence than some of the other pieces have had. The electronic influence is very thick here, and a reverberating node seems to make up a large part of the performance as a whole. Electronic drumming opens up our next track, “Dead, Rotting and Exposed” by which Brynjar Helgetun (Crypticus) is featured. The industrial elements are pushed even further on this track, which is starting to make for a record that seems to be more industrial death than death metal, and that is fine with me. It's different, for starters. Sinister's Andrie Kloosterwaard is featured on the shortest track here, “Steel Through Flesh Extravaganza” which jumps from death metal into electronic drum and bass (DNB) territory rather quickly quickly. The final cut, “The Harrowing Of Hell” also features Kam Lee on vocals as a much different style of song approaches. This isn't death metal, it's a sort of industrial Goth metal that you wouldn't expect from Rogga or Lee. Some death metal fans will shit themselves over this in disgust, but chances are that if you've made it this far, you're going to accept this as well. Perhaps Lee's clean vocal approach isn't perfect, but it does manage to do what it set out to, regardless of what others will think. There's a long outro here in the form of the title track, but it's not really what you'd classify as a song. It's technically a revolting electronic atmosphere, replete with a demonic vocal that sounds like what a trash compactor might if it had been given sentience, fused with a horde of other appliances and decided to take out it's revenge against the humans.

Simply put, As Dystopia Beckons might not be Megascavenger's strongest record, but it shows more signs of experimentation, which even break the death metal barrier completely in some instances. It's definitely what I'd consider to be a decent performance, especially if you're looking for something that sounds both familiar and a little different than the majority of records you'll hear from the many guest vocalists and even Rogga himself. I'd recommend listening to a few tracks before you decide to pick it up, as the material here might not be as suitable for everyone and my colleague noted that he thought the album's production was quite raw and not to his liking. I didn't notice this issue personally, but you might, so I've included it in this review.

(9 Tracks, 31:00)


No comments:

Post a Comment