PaganizerAh, Paganizer! If you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you may not know who this Swedish bunch of miscreants are. They’re probably best known as one of the bands of scene legend Rogga Johansson. You know? Rogga? Rogga of …well, lots of bands; in fact, too many to adequately type here, so feel free to take a look for yourself at Metal Archives. Paganizer have been going in one form or another since 1999, and as we all know, with few exceptions, you don’t get to have such a long career as a band without doing something right.

In fairness, Paganizer have always been an entertaining listen, even if they haven’t always pushed boundaries in what’s new. That being said, this four track EP is still a worthy listen, with plenty of left-hand-path riffing and a bass sound you just can’t ignore. Opener “Angry all the Time” has just the kind of riff that should open a recording; swaggering, aggressive and self-assured, it opens out into a memorable number that produces involuntary head-nodding. “Adjacent to Purgatory” comes next, a slightly faster affair, with a punky, almost D-beat feel to the attack, but managing to retain that quintessential Swedish death metal vibe. “The Netherworld Carnivale” brings up a slow, stomping intro, before going demi-grind on your ass, all spite and fury. It’s a schizophrenic number in terms of the pacing, and the longest song on the EP at the length of just over four minutes, but still an invigorating listen. “On the Outskirts of Hades” is the closer, and title track, and for a reason. This is a really enjoyable track, that instantly put a smile on my face. Why? Something about the urgency of the riffing, combined with the almost playful aggression of the drum pattern and – yes, I’m a sucker for it – the odd Tom G. Warrior -esque “OOOOhh” being spat vocally!

It’s as polished and powerful a production as you are ever going to hear from a band with such deep roots and experience in the scene, and it’s pretty hard to fault this EP in anyway at all. It’s short, of course, but then it leaves the listener definitely in the mood for more. If nothing else, this should whet the appetite of the metal crowds for more things Paganizer, and in my book, that’s a good thing.

(8.5/10 Chris Davison)