(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Sweden’s Entombed A.D., which will be released on August 30 by Century Media.)
There are a LOT of albums being released this week, from underground underdogs like Witch Vomit to mainstream monsters like Tool.
But, what with time being both limited and linear, we’re unlikely to be able to cover everything in the next few days, which means some difficult choices need to be made.
If there’s one album I wasn’t going to let pass by without comment though, it’s the new Entombed.
You’ll note that I said “Entombed” and not “Entombed A.D.” there because, despite all the ongoing legal shenanigans, I still consider this version of the band to be the legitimate one.
Put it like this, you don’t get to leave a band and then decide to reclaim the name later on (in some cases decades later) just because someone offered you some of that sweet, sweet reunion money.
Of course, you may not agree with me on that, which is your prerogative. But, after listening to Bowels of Earth you might just change your tune…
Heck, even if you don’t consider the A.D. version of the band to be the “real” Entombed, you’ll still probably come to agree that this is not only the best record released under the A.D. moniker, but most likely the best album released by any version of the band since Morning Star.
Oh, sure, there are a few missteps still – the heavy Motörhead homage of “Bourbon Nightmare” lacks the impact and intensity of its immediate predecessors, while the pretty much pure Death Metal of “Through the Eyes of the Gods” makes for an oddly awkward fit on the other end of the scale, proving that Petrov and co. do their very best work somewhere in between these two extremes – but I think you’ll be both pleasantly surprised, and surprisingly pleased, by just how good this record is overall.
Take the opening quartet of killer cuts, for example.
Both “Torment Remains” and “Hell Is My Home” immediately take the listener back to the glory days of Left Hand Path, wielding their buzz-saw riffs, brutish vocals, and breakneck beats in a way that somehow makes everything old new once again, while the bombastic grooves and chunky, chugging guitars of “Elimination” and “Bowels of Earth” resurrect some of the classic Death ‘n’ Roll swagger of Wolverine Blues, albeit with the emphasis still firmly on the “Death” part.
The second half of the record is just as rich in deathly delights as the first, from the thrashy, neck-wrecking pace of “Fit For A King” and the shred-heavy, Clandestine-esque “Worlds Apart”, to the unexpectedly meaty cover of Hank Williams’ “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”, which manages the rare feat of not only capturing the spirit of the original in a different form, but which does so while feeling like an integral part of the album.
Climaxing with the dark and doomy strains of “To Eternal Night”, which finds the band shifting down to a pace more suited to a Black Sabbath or Candlemass album without losing that classic, grim and gritty Swe-Death flavour, Bowels of Earth may not change the world of Death Metal as we know it, but just one listen should remind you exactly why you fell in love with the genre, and with Entombed (A.D.or otherwise) in the first place.