I find it kind of funny that whilst Metal as a whole is the beating heart of the underground it is massively popular, I mean look at Wacken, Hellfest and to a lesser extent Download, these are hugely successful gatherings. Also look at certain scenes and how they’ve erupted over the years. When Thrash came about everyone wanted to be in a Thrash band, and the same goes for Death, Black and all the other sub-genres, ironic really. I guess this is the real meaning of a ‘scene’, people being influenced by one another to create what they see as something unique.
At the tail end of the Death Metal hype train and more specifically Swedish Death Metal hype come Paganizer. Formed in 1998 they were far flung from the inception of the genre and met their birth as we were about to dawn upon the millennium. That said they have become a bit of a name upon the annals of Death Metal history. Yet generally their releases have met with mixed views from critics, so it’s my job to become another critic upon their journey. Thus I come to review The Tower Of The Morbid the latest 2019 full length and indeed eleventh studio album. Luckily the band are backed by a strong label in Transcending Obscurity Records, let’s hope that works in their favour.
Opening track Flesh Tornado comes storming in with a sounding siren and then traditional Swedish Death riffs and drum patterns and also OSDM vocals that ooze with Bloodbath spats. The musicianship is relatively standard and serves more as a backing than anything else. This isn’t to say it’s bad it’s just generic, luckily however it is elevated through the vocals which are laced with memorable lyrical passages which really aid in keep the whole release afloat. This can be seen time and time again throughout, Cannibal Remains perhaps being one of the more stand out moments.
The second half is a similar story, melodious passages even come into the fray during Beneath The Gauze a decent nod to the Melo Death genre and indeed something that works really well especially with the more ranged vocals of the track. As the album comes to a close with Purge The World and Demented Machines we are left with the same lingering foul taste of pure Swedish Death. Although it is at the albums climax that the listener has time to reflect. This is when you realise that it really isn’t all that special of a release. I would never intentionally put hate upon it and truth be told it’s better than a lot of Death Metal out there but by Swedish Death standards it’s pretty shrug worthy.
So there we have it my bitter, grumpy and twisted opinion upon the subject of The Tower Of The Morbid. I like it yes, but would I rave about it, no. It’s fair to say that the album is just okay, I find the catchy moments fun but then I think to artists like Lik and Under The Church and suddenly I’m not so captivated by Paganizer. If this were a debut I would think wow these guys could be the makings of something great. Given their long history however I’m just a touch underwhelmed, this is a case of stick to what you know.
(6/10 George Caley)