REVIEWED: Entombed A.D. - 'Bowels of Earth'
Back in the 90s, we could be certain of a few things, but one of the best things was the prospect of a new Entombed album. Yup, you know them, the Swedish fivesome who battered their way out of a Stockholm basement with nothing more than a few HM Distortion pedals to become one of the best Swedish musical outfits ever. And in a nation that has produced Opeth, Meshuggah and ABBA, that's a pretty big ask. From the very first 'Left Hand Path' they tore through death metal with a slew of albums with the kind of rough finesse and no small of amount of rock 'n' roll groove that acted as the hairy, louder and infinitely exhilarating big brother to the many imitators who we nauseatingly call “melodic death metal”. Sadly, around the time that was rising up in the early 2000s, Entombed were petering out to a close, and their own end came in the early 2000s.
Happily enough, for the last five years we've had Entombed A.D., led by leather-lunged L. G. Petrov and some great mates who also don't own the Entombed name, and pretty much dealing in the same hairy-arsed take on death metal that Entombed made their own. Those familiar with the Entombed canon will know they had roughly two stages to their discography: the first was pure nasty death metal with a unique buzzsaw tone. Then there was the other, also excellent stage, where they brought in more boogie and - oh, fuck it, you know it was called death 'n' roll, as well as other grungey, slower alt rock on the intriguing 'Same Difference'.
If you still need telling what period the A.D. affixed Entombed favour for their songwriting after 'Torment Remains' has hit the 10 second mark, you've some serious gaps in your musical knowledge. The frantic riff kicks off like a bar brawl, with a production job that's filthy and magnificent, ugly and no frills whatsoever. If anything, 'Elimination' is even more filthy, sounding more like an artillery barrage played over loudspeakers attempting to drown out another carpet bombing going on nearby. 'Worlds Apart' is a late album highlight, with a filthy pounding rhythm and ominous bridge that spirals ever tighter and then explodes into a Motörhead-esque finale that would have the great god Lemmy tucking his thumbs into his belt and nodding approvingly. Perhaps unintentionally, closing track 'To Eternal Night' sounds knackered after the exertions that were hammered out before, but it's a noble end to a great album: continuing the solid groundwork laid by 'Back To The Front' and 'Dead Dawn', this year's 'Bowels of Earth' is chockful of D-beats like a jackhammers, Petrov's pipes being filthier than ever, and yes, THAT buzzsaw tone.
'Bowels of Earth' is out now on Century Media