Johansson & Speckmann – From the Mouth of Madness (Soulseller Records)Monday, 5th March 2018
Take two of the most prolific guys in the underground extreme metal scene, put them together and you get Johansson & Speckmann. From the Mouth of Madness marks the fourth full-length for the duo, and one can easily guess the direction that it is going to take. But for those who enjoy either member’s death/thrash metal accomplishments, it’s also a virtual guarantee that you’ll enjoy it.
While the content itself is rather unsurprisingly, there’s still a level of charm that Johansson & Speckmann pull off within the old school scene. One can take the time and identify the pieces that the members may have contributed in, but it’s still a case of ‘the whole being more than a sum of its parts.” The bottom line is that there’s plenty of energy and killer riffs behind it all. Pick a track – let’s go with “Why Fear” – and you can hear a comfortable level of HM-2 buzzing and mid-tempo grooves that are sure to stick in your head. There’s some solid leadwork and subtle melodies, and Speckmann’s vocals fit it to a tee. Faster stompers like “The Heathen of the Night” revel in frantic adrenaline, and the album’s no-nonsense ‘under 4-minutes’ and out mentality makes sure that you will keep getting hit with more and more without feeling overwhelmed. One final annotation is that of the bass, which is pleasantly right in the mix (not always the case in with the old school mentality) and it does truly add another layer to the band’s work on each track.
No big surprises, no left turns, just well-written old school death metal from two ever-present names. What From the Mouth of Madness lacks in originality, it makes up for with catchy and fun energy that will take you back to the ‘good ole days’ without feeling too retro.