Artist: Eye Of Purgatory

Album Title: The Lighthouse

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Date of Release: 18 June 2021

I’ve referred to some artists in the past as workaholics or obsessives that deliver more music than you might think possible in the given timeframe. However, none of these even come close to the Swedish guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Mr Rogga Johansson. Arguably best known for his involvement with the band Paganizer, the guy is insane because his list of projects, appearances, and releases is seemingly endless; a quick count on a trusted website suggests Johansson is involved with upwards of thirty current entities, from self-titled releases to the hilariously named Fondlecorpse, not to forget Revolting and Human Delete to name just a few.

However, it is Eye Of Purgatory upon which the gaze of this review settles. More specifically, the sophomore release entitled ‘The Lighthouse’, for which Johansson is joined by drummer, lead guitarist, and keyboardist Taylor Nordberg alongside bassist Jeramie Kling. Formed in 2018, the debut release, ‘The Rotting Enigma’ was a much more solo affair with Rogga Johansson responsible for everything, but this time it is a more collaborative affair despite Johansson retaining his ‘leader’ status overall.

Within moments of the title track blasting out of the speakers, you are left in no doubt about the origin of Eye Of Purgatory. Those ugly, buzzsaw riffs are glorious, whilst screaming ‘Sweden’ at the top of their six-string lungs. There’s a definite harkening back to the glory days of Dismember and Entombed in the way that Johansson and Nordberg attack right from the off, leaving the listener in no doubt that they have entered into a bludgeoning 35 minutes of brutal death metal with old school tendencies. It also helps that Johansson’s gruff growl is deep, resonant, and full of gritty malevolence, the perfect foil to the music as far as I’m concerned.

But what Eye Of Purgatory do so well is blend this brutality with some strong melodies, at the hands of the lead guitar lines, but also from the keyboards again courtesy of the impressive Nordberg. They are not overdone, but at points within the title track, they come to the fore to deliver an atmospheric and memorable melody that adds a touch more depth to the music. If you’ve ever heard the album ‘Moontower’ by Dan Swanö, you’ll recognise the kind of sounds that Nordberg laces the Eye Of Purgatory material with here. Ok, it’s nowhere near as pronounced, but it gives you a decent reference point. It also helps that the drumming (yes, it’s Nordberg again!) is a nice mix of uncompromising blastbeats and more subtle, groovy playing. Not to be outdone, the bass of Kling rumbles powerfully at the heart of the material, occasionally hitting notes so low that they are barely audible despite the solid production afforded to ‘The Lighthouse’.

With their colours nailed to the mast, Eye Of Purgatory simply carry on in a similar vein for the remainder of the record, a record adorned by some striking artwork courtesy of Juanjo Castellano. ‘Forever To Awaken’ is blessed with some bruising riffage alongside a few more ostentatious lead guitar lines and breaks, whilst the keys are once again a delight. The melodies are not quite as immediate as the title track, but I like the blackened, fast-picked riffs that are interspersed within some properly groovy six string action that gets the head bobbing in appreciation.

Then there’s the truly magnificent ‘Carved In A Stone Bleeding’ which opens up with the briefest of clean guitar melodies before launching into a wonderfully hedonistic heavy melodeath track, full of intensity and epic intent. The juxtaposition between slow, lumbering groove and high-speed attack is masterful. But the real magic is the way that there’s space allowed mid song for a complete change of pace courtesy of an elongated reprise of that fleeting clean guitar intro. It is gorgeous and demonstrates that properly heavy melodeath doesn’t have to be all-out aggression at all times. Indeed, these changes of pace and intensity only serve to heighten my personal enjoyment of the material.

Another strength in a long line of strengths with ‘The Lighthouse’, is the way in which the songs really get under the skin with repeated listens. On a first spin, the quality was obvious. After a few days in its company, I can only attest to the fact that the music becomes more addictive and satisfying. Songs like ‘They Silently Await’ and ‘Where Slowly Life Fades’ are both perfect examples of this, the latter capturing my imagination through its blend of ferocity and elegance, not to mention a lovely dollop of crushing groove. It’s odd because on the one hand, the heaviness and the brutality really appeals to the 17-year-old me, whilst the subtleties, melodies, and clever variations hit the spot for me in the here and now. Mind you, such is the power and quality of ‘The Lighthouse’, that had it have been released twenty years ago, I am left in no doubt that it would have had the same effect on me as it does today.

Every time I listen, I’m unable to wipe away the goofy grin that appears unbidden on my ugly mug. That, above all else, proves to me that I’m listening to a very good album indeed. If you are searching for a melodic death metal album that’s as nasty, dirty and heavy as it is melodic, then your search is over. ‘The Lighthouse’ by Eye Of Purgatory is the record that you require. Buy it, listen to it, and thank me later.

The Score of Much Metal: 91%

Dessiderium – Aria

Cynic – Ascension Codes

TDW – Fountains

Hypocrisy – Worship

W.E.B. – Colosseum

Navian – Cosmos

NorthTale – Eternal Flame

Obscura – A Valediction

Nightland – The Great Nothing

MØL – Diorama

Be’lakor – Coherence

Hollow – Tower

Doedsvangr – Serpents Ov Old

Athemon – Athemon

Eclipse – Wired

Swallow The Sun – Moonflowers

Dream Theater – A View From The Top Of The World

Nestor – Kids In A Ghost Town

Beast In Black – Dark Connection

Thulcandra – A Dying Wish

Omnium Gatherum – Origin

Insomnium – Argent Moon EP

Kryptan – Kryptan EP

Archspire – Bleed The Future

Awake By Design – Unfaded EP

Cradle Of Filth – Existence Is Futile

Seven Spires – Gods Of Debauchery

Sleep Token – This Place Will Become Your Tomb

Necrofier – Prophecies Of Eternal Darkness

Ex Deo – The Thirteen Years Of Nero

Carcass – Torn Arteries

Aeon Zen – Transversal

Enslaved – Caravans To The Outer Worlds

A Dying Planet – When The Skies Are Grey

Leprous – Aphelion

Night Crowned – Hädanfärd

Brainstorm – Wall Of Skulls

At The Gates – The Nightmare Of Being

Rivers Of Nihil – The Work

Fractal Universe – The Impassable Horizon

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails

Thy Catafalque – Vadak

Terra Odium – Ne Plus Ultra

Hiraes – Solitary

Eye Of Purgatory – The Lighthouse

Crowne – Kings In The North

Desaster – Churches Without Saints

Helloween – Helloween

Fear Factory – Aggression Continuum

Wooden Veins – In Finitude

Plaguestorm – Purifying Fire

Drift Into Black – Patterns Of Light

Alluvial – Sarcoma

White Moth Black Butterfly – The Cost Of Dreaming – Album Review

Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen

Bloodbound – Creatures From The Dark Realm

Nahaya – Vital Alchemy

Frost* – Day And Age

Obsolete Theory – Downfall

Vola – Witness

Acolyte – Entropy

Dordeduh – Har

Subterranean Masquerade – Mountain Fever

Seth – La Morsure Du Christ

The Circle – Metamorphosis

Nordjevel – Fenriir

Vreid – Wild North West

Temtris – Ritual Warfare

Astrakhan – A Slow Ride Towards Death

Akiavel – Vae Victis

Gojira – Fortitude

Hideous Divinity – LV-426

Benthos – II

Evile – Hell Unleashed

Ninkharsag – The Dread March Of Solemn Gods

Bodom After Midnight – Paint The Sky With Blood

Morrigu – In Turbulence

Mother Of All – Age Of The Solipsist

Throne – Pestilent Dawn

Sweet Oblivion (Geoff Tate) – Relentless

Exanimis – Marionnettiste

Dvne – Etemen Ænka

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined

Arion – Vultures Die Alone

Maestitium – Tale Of The Endless

Wode – Burn In Many Mirrors

Everdawn – Cleopatra

Unflesh – Inhumation

Mourning Dawn – Dead End Euphoria

Wheel – Resident Human

Wythersake – Antiquity

Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn

Metalite – A Virtual World

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm

Ghosts Of Atlantis –

Memoriam – To The End

Aversed – Impermanent

Secret Sphere – Lifeblood

Enforced – Kill Grid

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3

Turbulence – Frontal

Iotunn – Access All Worlds

Warrior Path – The Mad King

Stortregn – Impermanence

Mariana’s Rest – Fata Morgana

Orden Ogan – Final Days

Witherfall – Curse Of Autumn

Plague Weaver – Ascendant Blasphemy

Ephemerald – Between The Glimpses Of Hope

Paranorm – Empyrean

Einherjer – North Star

Epica – Omega

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde

Simulacrum – Genesis

Forhist – Forhist

Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix

Empyrium – Über den Sternen

Moonspell – Hermitage

Infernalizer – The Ugly Truth

Temperance – Melodies Of Green And Blue EP

Malice Divine – Malice Divine

Revulsion – Revulsion

Demon King – The Final Tyranny EP

Dragony – Viribus Unitis

Soen – Imperial

Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida

Oceana – The Pattern

Therion – Leviathan

Tribulation – Where The Gloom Becomes Sound

Asphyx – Necroceros

W.E.T. – Retransmission

Labyrinth – Welcome To The Absurd Circus

TDW – The Days The Clock Stopped

Need – Norchestrion: A Song For The End

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews


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