What happens when the busiest man in metal decides that he wants to do something industrial? ‘As Dystopia Beckons’ happens. Rogga Johansson with drummer Brynjar Helgetun (Crypticus) has been releasing death metal albums under the Megascavenger moniker for about 4 years now and their releases usually feature guest appearances by the who’s who of death metal vocalists. ‘As Dystopia Beckons’ is the third full length release from Megascavenger and this time around, things get a turn towards the industrial soundscapes. This particular combination of death metal and industrial has been done quite a lot of times before, but hearing some of death metal’s best musicians tackle this is a whole new experience in itself.
Through the course of 9 tracks, Megascavenger explore the different facets of the death metal style, all the while maintaining an industrial touch in the music. The style shifts between thrash death, old school Swedish death and even steps into the realm of classic metal. Though the focus light remains on the industrial elements, Johannson’s riff still manage to shine through. The different vocalists featured on this album manage to impart their own flavours to the music here. For example, listening to ‘The Machine That Turns Humans Into Slop’, which features David Ingram, sounds like an industrial adaptation of a Bolt Thrower or Benediction track.
The variations in styles amongst the songs makes this album feel like a compilation of sorts, with the only element tying the tracks together being the presence of industrial elements. ‘As the Last Day Has Passed’ comes off a track that’s been inspired by the melodies of classic heavy metal. When it is followed up by ‘The Hell That is This World’, the track with the most industrial influence, it feels oddly unsettling. Regardless of the style variations, the riffs are punchy, sharp and absolutely savage at every instance. Of all the different vocalists featured on this record, my personal favourite instance is hearing Kam Lee attempt clean singing on ‘The Harrowing of Hell’.
On paper, ‘As Dystopia Beckons’ could have been a slop job and a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. But Rogga Johannson’s vision and expertise results in this record being a well executed, well rounded affair that should satisfy every fan of the death metal style. The industrial metal meets old school death metal sounds refreshing and the album gives the listener more than enough reasons to headbang and go crazy. If the rise of Cybernet’s AI army ever needs a death metal soundtrack, Megascavenger should do just fine.