Reeking for Satan

REEK: Porn For Satan

Release year: 2021
Label: Iron, Blood and Death Corporation

One of the most established sounds within death metal is – as we have often enough established here at Only Death Is Real as well – Swedish death metal. That trademark ultra-brittle guitar sound, almost to the point of snapping in two, the rabid thrash plod and the razor-sharp riffing… swedeath is an oft imitated sound. Almost to the point of caricature, one could say.

Swedish Reek are one such band. Featuring among their ranks Rogga Johansson, he of a million bands who sometimes seems to churn out new albums and bands like a conveyor belt, Reek comes across as a self-conscious pastiche of the mid-to-late 90’s more rocking Swedish death metal sound. Maybe not quite death ‘n’ roll, but definitely a bit too close for comfort… that is, after all, probably the most atrocious form of death metal music ever!

Consisting of experienced if not exactly illustrious members, it comes as no surprise that Reek sound pretty tight and focused. It’s obvious the band knew exactly the sound they wanted to emulate, and have done that quite adequately. So insofar as self-serving pastiche and emulation can be lauded, Reek have done a pretty good job.

However, Porn For Satan – now there’s a missed opportunity for a pornogrind album title! – comes across as entirely soulless. Whilst it’s rocking Swedish death metal sound is executed according to all rules of the craft, there’s no depth to this. To the listener this comes across as pure pastiche, doing it purely by the numbers without any original insight or ideas. And, ultimately, this renders the album quite pointless. Why listen to a latter-day knock-off when I could spin the genuine artifacts from the 90’s?

It seems to me like quite a few of Johansson’s projects suffer from this: he and his bandmates set out to emulate a specific sound or style, and do so tehncically quite competently. But the results tend to be soulless.

Where good ol’ meat-and-potatoes death metal can be unoriginal but entertaining, this is the kind of brown-sauce-and-mashed-potatoes death metal, which you maybe won’t mind listening to if someone puts it on, but you’d never, ever in a million years listen to voluntarily. Because it’s pointless, not bad.

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