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'Hellhound On My Tail'
(Chaos Records)

jools green

Jools Green

graveyard after graveyard

A new year means new albums from Swedish Metal maestro Rogga Johansson and the EP 'Hellhound On My Tail' is his second in as many months, the other being 'Mask Of The Treacherous', the third full length in the Johannson And Speckmann series of releases.

The difference between Graveyard After Graveyard and his many other projects, at least ten of which are currently active, is here. Rogga is branching out to a different style of music, giving 'Hellhound On My Tail' a thrashier, blackened edge to his brand of death Metal.

The thing I like the most about 'Hellhound On My Tail', which follows a self titled EP and debut full length 'Bagged And Dragged To A Fullmoon Burial' released in August and September of 2014, more than hearing Rogga successfully tackling a different slant on death Metal guitars, is Rogga's vocals, which have a much broader range and degree of intonation, showing him pushing his capabilities even further.

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The Graveyard After Graveyard line-up is completed by Grave guitarist Mika Lagrén and Sinners Burn drummer Jocke Ringdahl, who was also involved on many of Rogga's Paganizer albums and the result is five tracks, plus an outro of twenty two minutes of energised black 'n' thrash laced death Metal with only the slightest hints of his trademark riffing style and a subtle groove.

Opening on intense riffing, guitar and vocal screams 'Out To Feed' captures your attention from the off-set and you get your first taste of Rogga's extended vocal repertoire. The slower, mid-paced 'Giant Of The Undead' has traces of Rogga riffing and a catchy groove that manifests between the black 'n' thrash segments, a great mid-point tempo drop away before the final onslaught and I like the sinister blackened tail off to the track. Although all five tracks are a great listen this is my standout of the release.

'Infernal Catacombs' has the best vocals of this release, very blackened expanding out to become more expressively deranged and intonated as the track progresses particularly in the final minute. 'Screams In The Night' not surprisingly opens on a scream; this two minute offering is another fast and furious one with more crazy vocals.

graveyard after graveyard

The most intriguing track of the release 'Learn To Burn' opens on a Swedish dialogue and is a mid paced offering with very blackened vocals, punchy riffs and a great melody that isn't too overpowering, just enough to make the track memorable and catchy, an excellent listen.

The final track 'Feeding Of The Hellhounds' is more of an ear shredding one and a half minute sound-bite, nonetheless it is an interesting way to close the album.

The album artwork is by Rob Toderico (Asphyx, Soulburn). It was recorded at The Rotpit and mixed and mastered by Ronnie Björnström at EAP Productions.

I am always keen to hear any of Rogga's new work and the best thing about 'Hellhound On My Tail' is that your first thoughts on hearing it are that it is not immediately recognisable as a "Rogga release", demonstrating the extent of his versatility and ability, furthermore it's also a superb listen.

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