Review Summary: Entombed steer off the ‘The Left Hand Path’ and produce an album with much variance against a sub-genre they helped to create in the first place.
Since their inception as early pioneers of the Swedish death scene during the early 1990s, Entombed have come along way since their primitive beginnings as a straight up death metal band. 1990 saw the band release Left Hand Path
to an array of metal fans who embraced the bands traditional death metal styling. Entombed quickly followed up a year later with their album Clandestine
which didn’t exactly break any ground, but rather tightened up their existing death metal bolts. Wolverine Blues
(1993) saw Entombed throw in a different element that had never really been experimented with before in death metal; Rock n’ Roll! Yes we all know that heavy metal is derived from some form of rock n’ roll and that’s not the point. Entombed have found a way to channel what makes rock so enjoyable to listen to and have created a brand of death metal that could appeal to generations of music lovers. This rock element took their music in a whole new direction and it wasn’t until this release, Uprising
, that the band fully utilized their groovy rock vibe that put a creative spin on their sound.
Before Wolverine Blues
was released, Entombed had always been known for their speedy guitar attacks, traditional death metal rhythm sections and barely audible bass lines. Most of these elements have been thrown out the window for a more straight forward approach, hinting at accessibility. Right from the get-go, ‘Seeing Red’ draws the listener in with a quick little ‘rock’ lick that is followed up by a monstrous thrash attack that owes as much to punk as it does to hardcore from the 80s. ‘Say it in Slugs’ finds Entombed mustering their death metal past while still incorporating that ‘rock’ groove that has become so prevalent in their newer albums. It’s not until ‘Scottish Hell’ that the band puts the brakes on and gives us a doom laden song that could have been lifted from a Black Sabbath record or two. Fortunately, the band puts their own spin on this track and throws in a short drum fill that quickly picks up speed, leading back into the heavy plodding riff. ‘The Itch’ gives us the best look at what this band has become. The songs traditional rock structure is coupled with lead guitar fills and a few mini solos thrown in for good measure, equalling up to a good headbanger of a song. When the guitars aren’t charging ahead, songs let up and let the bass lead the way, allowing us to catch our breath from the onslaught of the albums fast paced nature. To put it simply, the album is chock full of stellar riffs, leads, and solos produced in an old school, metal fashion.
With as many positives to the instruments as there are, there are also a few drawbacks. In particular, lyricist and vocalist L-G Petrov comes across as kind of an arrogant prick. Even though his vocal delivery matches the gritty feel of Entombed’ sound, his lyrics are laughable at best. His tough guy impersonations come across as quite frankly, a jock who talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. His first person rants about hatred and anger sound something like this (from Seeing Red), “I’m seeing red/ It helps me set things straight/ I’m doing everything/ For the purpose of Improvement/ Don’t ask me why/ Cuz it don’t faze me one iota/ I’m the alpha and omega/ The beginning and the end
”. This macho attitude doesn’t pop up in every song on the album, but its enough that when it does, you want to call him out on his macho, bull*** gimmick.
Sure, Entombed doesn’t sound like they used to and sure they don’t cater to the tr00 death metal heads anymore. Only those who enjoy the same monotonous album over and over again, might scream foul on the band for creating such a groove oriented sound instead of a steady dose of speedy guitars and repetitive ‘snare-bass-snare’ rhythm sections. Lyrics aside, the albums strength lies in its fresh approach to recapturing some of that energy that a lot of rock bands have accomplished in the past. Its departure from typical death metal is certainly an asset to anyone looking to find a gateway album into more inaccessible types of thrash and death metal. Uprising
is solid album from beginning to end that really needs to lay off the macho attitude.