Regardless of what your stance is on metal, you can?t deny Entombed and among other greats, have created one of the most distinctive time frames in metal. There are a huge amount of genres and sub-genres to metal. Hundreds of them. And yet if I were to have randomly played 100 songs from each genre respectively, brutal death metal, black metal, doom metal, grind and whatever else, the early Swedish death metal scene would stand out like a sore thumb. It?s just so distinctive. While yes there are numerous shared pioneers to the Swedish death metal scene, none of them would have been around if it had not been for Entombed and their pure classic, ?Left Hand Path?
Bio (Taken from Yahoo)
Conceived during the late '80s when death metal did everything it could to gain credibility as a substantial niche, Entombed instantly championed the eerie variation of brutal heavy metal, giving it credibility before quickly abandoning the style in the early '90s. In their post-death metal years, the band retained the niche genre's most alluring attributes as they ventured into uncharted territory, ultimately becoming a controversial, yet undoubtedly innovative, group unable to stop evolving. Throughout the '90s, their albums illustrated a visionary group who didn't even themselves seem sure of their ultimate destination. This blind drive toward instinctual growth garnered Entombed substantial critical acclaim and an increased fan base, yet it also drew almost as much criticism, as the group abandoned a particular style just as they had mastered it, alienating their more stubborn fans. Still, whether or not fans chose to accept the band's continual evolution, there was little denying Entombed's role as an inventive and pioneering band operating in a notoriously close-minded genre.
Before the Swedish group was Entombed, group members Alex Hellid (guitar) and Nicke Andersson (drums) anchored the band Nihilist, with L.G. Petrov (vocals) and Uffe Cederlund (guitar) in and out of the band for a period of two years. Not even into their twenties yet, the group members recorded a series of demo tapes that were well-circulated around the burgeoning late-'80s death metal underground, inspiring plenty of hype. After Hellid and Andersson broke up Nihilist, despite the acclaim, they soon re-formed a few months later as Entombed with Petrov and Cederlund as full-time members.
The title track kicks off in a big way. It contains a memorable and dazzling structure filled to the brim with riff changes and arrangements. When Entombed drone out that distinctive guitar tone you cant help but stand up and notice. It?s captivating. The song at 3 quarters breaks away and slowly fades into a clean section. This is classic. I love it. At 6 minutes and 34 seconds ?Left Hand Path? is a definite standout track not just in the case of entombed, but just in general. It?s a brilliant song.
?Drowned? again acquaints us with the Swedish death metal sound pioneered on this album. While not a shining star compared to ?Left Hand Path? Entombed still retain a great level of heaviness with this song. The double pedal kick drums are also used a bit more in this track than the first, adding a nice early change.
?Revel In Flesh? is just plain crushing. The song has a great low end that has spawned a million copycats trying to duplicate this sound. But no one has done it better than Entombed. At 3 minutes 59 seconds this still holds up well compared to the magnificent opener and brings some very cool riffs to the table.
?But Life Goes On? is probably the standout track in the middle portion of the album mainly because it retains the same properties of ?Revel In Flesh?. It?s heavy and crushing. A Shorter song yes, but no less devouring.
?Bitter Loss? and ?Morbid Devourment? fair in the same light, still being extremely heavy and raw, yet varied enough in its approach to not get boring. Each song transcends a level of care and planned out heaviness, something that is simply missing from a lot of death metal albums today.
?Carnal Leftovers? probably has the coolest couple of riffs on the entire album. Nicely arranged with a great use of dynamic changeovers keeps this an interesting and well-done song for the last portion of the album. A predominantly faster song than the rest to, this is a standout track.
?Premature Autopsy? closes the proceedings, in an again crushing fashion. Again like the rest of the album, this song has a well thought out structure with some while not overly complicated drums; they do the job and hit the listener at every part of this track.
You know there?s just something about this album. I cant quiet describe it. Entombed have managed to craft 12 pieces of music, each in a lot of respects similar to each other, but still manage to be captivating for the entire 47 minute run time of this album. Their sound is incredibly heavy and raw but its done in a way somehow that, as a listener you just absorb it all up and take it in with ease. It?s an incredibly hard thing to pull off in my book because from personal experience, I?ve lent my fair share of metal and particularly death metal albums to friends who wouldn?t always listen to that sort of music. And a common occurrence is that they listen to 2 or 3 songs then shut it off because of the monotony or sheer heaviness of it. Yet I?ve lent this album out to those exact same people and they?ve gotten through the whole album. Its funny too because to me this is death metal that is?.cool. I can?t say I listen to death metal to be ?cool? but this album for some reason works on that level.
As distinctive as Entombed?s sound is on this album, reading the linear notes in the album reveal that the ?Stockholm? sound they have was far from planned. Amazing too because Nicke Andresson said at the time ?Left Hand Path took about a week to record and cost us just over 1000 pounds.? As well as a little tidbit on how they got the sound. ?We have peavey amps, we have a distortion pedal and a Heavy Metal pedal and everything on ten?it?s not hard really. The amp is actually very little, only 40 watts!? Astonishing.
What about the drums? Just like the guitars, the drums are pretty distinct for the time period. Unlike a good portion of bands through the years (particularly through 96?) who choose to jackhammer the drums through most of their songs, Entombed alternate and never overuse the double bass drum. Making its impact felt that much more when they do. Overall the drums are quiet complicated (albeit not on a level of say Dillinger Escape Plan) and are suited for the music quiet well.
Lars-Goran Petrov handles the vocal duties and while not an outstanding performance, gets the approach and point across with ease. Again just of the time period, the vocals are predominantly one dimensional but don?t detract from the music at all unless your one of people who simple MUST focus on the vocals of any song you hear and ignore the rest of the music?
Are there any flaws with this album? Well no. Not musically anyway. I give props to earache for reissuing this classic album and the artwork and inlay and like is perfectly set out, but my complaint comes from the print on the actual cd. ?Left Hand Path? is particularly pixelated and while not taking anything away from the music, is still a bit annoying.
But in the end, this is still a classic. Entombed?s ?Left Hand Path? still holds up today and in retrospective is the first and most important album in the evolution of Swedish death metal. There may be a million of duplicates trying to re-create what Entombed have on this album, but never will. Any death metal fan, and music fan in general need to have this classic in their collection. Entombed have done something here that?s never going to get topped. I guess it was just the right time, where everything falls into place perfectly. As it did on this album.