Just when I thought no one was going to give Disma a run for their money this year in the sweepstakes of monstrous, old-school death metal, Entrails has arrived with The Tomb Awaits. But the tomb is not awaiting. Entrails has already sealed us inside, and decaying undead things are starting to crawl hungrily in our direction.
The appeal of old-school, Swedish-style death metal never seems to wane, and you don’t have to look hard to find newer bands embracing the music as their own. But it takes more than retro affinity, old HM-2 distortion pedals, and guitars tuned to drop-Z to summon up the black spirits of old Dismember and Grave, Unleashed and Entombed. Authenticity is what we want, and Entrails brings it, while adding a special flair that also keeps the sound fresh (or freshly desiccated) without sacrificing the essential aura of festering putrescence.
Originally taking shape in 1991 in a small converted woodshed outside of Växjö, Sweden, Entrails have roots that sink deep into the morbid scene. The band died out by 1998 without ever releasing a demo of their material, but circa 2009, guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist resurrected some of the band’s old tapes and began to re-record the songs in a home studio, eventually recruiting Jocke Svensson (Birdflesh, Litania, Devilry) to provide the ghoulish vocals.
After producing a pair of demos and adding members to the band, Entrails finally released their debut album, Tales From the Morgue, in 2010, after mixing and mastering by the almighty Dan Swanö. As it happens, Mr. Swanö did the mix and master on the new album, too, in addition to contributing guest vocals. (more after the jump, including a song premiere from The Tomb Awaits . . .)
And now we have The Tomb Awaits — new songs, but still authentically rotten to the core. The music is a gargantuan beast, dripping with the remains of its last grisly meal of suppurating human flesh — and it’s a headbanger’s delight, too.
Entrails shift the tempos throughout the album, moving from the old-school chainsaw thrash of songs like “Eaten By the Dead” or “The Slithering Below”, to the maggot-ridden, doomy crawl of tracks such as “To Live Is To Rot”, to the rolling gallop of “Undead”, to the titanic stomp within”End of All Existence”.
And although massive distortion is (of corpse) the name of this game, Lundqvist enhances the morbid fascination of the music with near-clean, Dismember-ish, reverberating guitar solos that alternately slither, writhe, and moan seductively. Indeed, all of the multi-faceted guitar tones and riffing techniques on this album, and the way in which they’re balanced in the mix with the gut-punching bass and the drum-kit attack, are near-textbook representations of how this genre of music should sound.
Dynamic vocals that are deliciously horrible, perfectly toned guitar-and-bass combos that sound like giant earth-moving equipment scooping up disease-infested masses of corpse meat, the booming assault of heartless drums, a surrounding aura of voracious evil — what’s not to like? The answer: Nothing. It’s all good. If we assigned numerical ratings to albums here at NCS, The Tomb Awaits would get 5 blackened skulls out of 5. Oh, wait, did I just give a rating?
Everyone here knows that whenever we can, we provide a song stream to accompany our album reviews. In my case, it may be the result of a deep-seated insecurity about the adequacy of my written descriptive powers. Plus, when it comes to music, hearing is believing. So, in the case of this album, I pleaded for the chance to stream a track, and my wish was granted.
We now have the privilege of premiering a song from the The Tomb Awaits called “Remains in Red” (and a big, heartfelt thank-you goes out to the band and their label for allowing us to do this):[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/10-Remains-In-Red.mp3|titles=Entrails – Remains In Red]
The Tomb Awaits will be released on September 9 by Dark Descent Records in North America and by FDA Rekotz in Europe, and it’s available for pre-order through those sites now. The awesome cover art for the album is by Daniel Devilish.
For more news and info about the band, check out their facebook page. The track list is as follows, and for an additional taste of the delicious putridity of Entrails, listen to the collection of samples from the album below that:
1. The Tomb Awaits
2. Unleashed Wrath
3. Crawling Death
4. Eaten by the Dead
5. To Live is to Rot
7. The Slithering Below
8. End of All Existence
9. Collection of Cracked Heads
10. Remains in Read
11. Total Death
12. Unspeakable Obscenities
P.S. If you pick up this album, as well you should, be prepared for a big surprise on the opening track. When I first heard it, I thought I’d been sent the wrong promo for download. It’s beautiful. I might even use it to lure the unsuspecting into this musical tomb, right before the door to the vault slams shut on them and the undead things begin to crawl forward . . . .