No, this isn’t an abbreviated form of famous, aromatic lamb curry but rather a new death metal band from Germany. With a press release mentioning influences such as Spawn Of Possession, Suffocation and Dismember (all with a modern twist) I was very much looking forward to seeing what Rogash had to offer. Whilst it is possible to say that there are hints of the above bands in this Dan Swanö produced slab, what I found for the most part was something quite different…
Following the tanky, sci-fi-y intro, ‘Desolate’ crashes us headlong into some groovy, driving melodic death metal. Immediately my mind is drawn to the sound of something like Paths Of Possession, only with more guttural vocals. A few seconds later though and some variety comes into the equation: an uptempo chugfest, a cracking breakdown in pace, and a brilliant creeping bass run. The opener’s drum patterns and riffs, and the way they are built around that initial groovy riff, certainly make a strong impression. ‘Less Emotion’ then goes on to place more emphasis on a bit of blasting. While adding somewhat to the surging form of Rogash’s music, these beats confirm the sense that the band’s death metal occupies a middle ground between intensity and accessibility. As we go on, interesting elements continue to pop up – from warped Cannibal Corpse-ism and rueful introspection (‘Constant Calamity’) to masterful (though all too fleeting) double bass (‘I, Voracity’).
Now these awesome moments are just that. ‘Soulrust’ dabbles in excellence with a momentary crunching caveman riff, while ‘Bloodgates Rising’ breaks into something equivalent to Slayer gone death metal via some dark, lingering guitar work. But as good as such instances of ingenuity are, there is a problem: they seldom appear to be exploited to their maximum potential. And as the album progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to escape that previous thought about this being a kind of inbetween take on the genre (ie it’s brutal but simultaneously too smooth). The lion’s share of closing tracks like ‘Gattung Mensch’, ‘Apprehension’s Edge’, ‘Kingdom of Grief’ etc sound pretty much interchangeable with what has already passed or, worse still, simply run-of-the-mill. Not even flourishing solos at the start of a track or ghoulish vibes emanating through can make the whole a more absorbing or adrenalising experience.
To some extent I feel like all this may be a bit harsh on Rogash (they have caught me on some bad days here…). As I say, there are some healthy US/Swedish influences evident, the music is really well played and the sound is ultra-professional. The real problem as far as I’m concerned is that fourteen tracks of vacillating death metal like this fails to provoke a visceral reaction one way or the other. If in future they focus more on brutality and fleshing out those inspired details then Rogash could really be a force to be reckoned with.