Just when I thought I had reviewed enough of Rogga Johansson’s releases this year, having spent quite some words on a fair share of his most recent output, I recently came across two more albums of his hand laying around in our ever-filled to the brim digital VM-Underground office. What we have here is Eye Of Purgatory, one of Johansson’s many bands that he only sporadically seems to work on. The last (and first) album with this project dates back to 2018, but the line-up has been expanded since. Besides Johansson the band now features Jeramie Kling (ex-Massacre) and Taylor Nordberg (Deicide, ex-Massacre), that duo that Johansson also works with on his last few Ribspreader albums.
Well, the problem, if you wish to look upon it that way, with Johansson’s work is that it all sounds pretty much alike and makes most of his work rather interchangeable. But, surprisingly, with Eye Of Purgatory he really seems to be drawing influences from a few different angles. Of course, Johansson is Johansson, so the basis for Eye Of Purgatory too, is rather stationary and hardly inspiring, mid-tempo Death Metal. But it seems like Johannson & Co. were having a bit of a Edge Of Sanity trip, incorporating many little funny melodic elements, which give the album a pretty nice, spacey and even slightly progressive feel. Though those quirky little oddities are a nice addition to the otherwise not all too impressive album, it doesn’t save it from rising all too far above the majority of Johansson’s work. Of course, it is also beyond any discussion that the musical genius of Dan Swanö on his Edge Of Sanity, Pan.Thy.Monium or his solo albums is many times higher than the somewhat naive use of keyboards on ‘The Lighthouse’. Still, I found it a much more refreshing experience than the last albums of Paganizer.