Entombed - Dead DawnEntombed A.D. suggests a great return to glory for the Swe-death greats: Entombed is dead, long live Entombed A.D.! When it came out two years ago, Back to the Front was more like Back to the Middle, a good if not workmanlike record that wasn’t offensive but wasn’t the grand comeback the band and record name seemed to imply. Now L.G. Petrov and his A.D. crew are back with Dead Dawn, and only the most naïve of optimists could have possibly expected Left Hand Path II: HM-2 Boogaloo. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be good stuff here though, so let’s ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth about this new platter.

Surprising approximately zero people, Dead Dawn has a lot in common with Back to the Front. The sound here is a hybrid of one part Clandestine with two parts Wolverine Blues as it was there and on Serpent Saints and Morningstar. This means the songs are still pretty standard and predictable in structure, and the riffs stick mainly to alternating between rock-tinged Swe-death tremolo-based standards, or groovy midpaced chuggery, both with the end goal of being catchy. If the band died after 1993 for you, the dead still dead remain. If a far groovier, more simplistic, and hard rockin’ Clandestine sounds like the sort of thing that would float your boat though, consider your dinghy one record heavier.

A strange influence worth noting here is Sir Mix-A-Lot, because the back end of this record is mighty fine. “Silent Assassin” is exactly what I’d hoped for with this record, with a stellar drum performance, quality riffs, L.G. Petrov’s unmistakeable vocals in fine form, and great chorus melody that doesn’t venture into latter-day Dismember and Amon Amarth styled triumphalism (see: Lik, Demonical, etc.). There’s a cool groovy death-blues tinge in “Black Survival” that rears its head in the main riff, while the title track has a convincing swagger to it emphasized by the occasional speedy outburst. “Total Death” rides a d-beat well, and L.G.’s shouting of the title right before a nifty solo makes the whole thing an obnoxious kind of fun, although the simple and catchy riffs didn’t exactly suggest it was trying for anything else. The death-doom infused “Hubris Fall” sounds like a cross between a funeral and victory march, and this musical ode to Pyrrhic victory stands on the capable shoulders of guitarist Nico Elgstrand, who puts on a measured and subtle performance that’s praiseworthy enough to warrant a mention.

Entombed A.D. 2016

As is my opinion of basically every Entombed record excluding the first three, there’s quality stuff here peppered amongst decent if not unremarkable tunes that are solid while they’re on but don’t encourage tons of replays. “As the World Fell” goes on too long for its own good, overextending its few ideas and relegating itself to background noise that made me perk up sometimes with a good solo or drum beat. It isn’t a bad song, just not a particularly good one. Entombed proved everything it had to prove on Left Hand Path, Clandestine, and their paradigm shift on Wolverine Blues; Dead Dawn, like most of their other stuff, comes across as a victory lap. Not a worthless victory lap by any means, but not the sound of a band out to dominate their scene or even bother with aiming for greatness; this is fun and overall well-done metal straight from the comfort zone. The production isn’t HM-2 worship, and like Back to the Front uses a chunkier mid-period Obituary tone for one guitar and a more traditional Swe-death tone for the other. It sounds fat, which works for the plentiful burly grooves, but serves to slightly dull the edge on the sharper riffs that appear in “Midas in Reverse” and other tracks heavier on the tremolo stuff.

If you like Entombed’s style after Wolverine Blues then Dead Dawn will make you happy. As for me, I’m left contented with a record that I’ll probably throw on again in the future, enjoy it, and shelve it again without a second thought. Entombed A.D. isn’t out to change the game; they’re playing it by the rules they helped create (again) after 1993 and having fun while they’re at it. I’m of the belief that it’s mutually accepted among the band and their fans that we’re not getting a new classic out of them, so why not enjoy the tunes on the ride? They’ve given fans more than enough to like, detractors enough to continue to ignore, and those on the fence enough to remain largely on the fence about. For better or worse, your opinion on this incarnation of Entombed won’t change after Dead Dawn.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Century Media Records
Websites: facebook.com/entombedAD
Releases Worldwide: February 26th, 2016

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  • Dethjesta

    Nice review. It’s seems from the songs I’ve heard that one of those ‘on the fence’ – still probably gonna buy the record. Entombed (along with early Sepultura) basically got me into death metal.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      No shame in that. Slayer got me into metal, so I own a copy of all their stuff, including Repentless. I’ll probably pick this up too, actually. It’s fun.

      • Dethjesta

        Yeah, I think I’ve got everything Slayer up to Christ Illusion for much the same reason (grew up on US Thrash).

        • Matt slatz

          Yeah, I’m with you on that except the title track on world painted blood can stand with any single song in their catalog (opinion)

  • I like this. It’s almost a copy of the last one but better than a lot of what they did after Wolverine Blues.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      A bit less good than BttF but yeah, this is definitely one of LG’s better eras.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    “A strange influence worth noting here is Sir Mix-A-Lot, because the back end of this record is mighty fine.”

    I spat my tea all over my monitor.

  • Wilhelm

    I don’t think Entombed really have done anything great in years, it would be a blast to hear an un-rocknrolled version of the band again like LHP or Clandestine. It would be interesting to see how they measure up to the cloned genre they created.

    • Dethjesta

      It would be interesting, but sadly I think in the past 25 years they may have forgotten how to make that kind of record.

      Few bands are able to go back to the urgency and aggression of their youth successfully.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It doesn’t seem to be in the cards, honestly. If they did it chances are it would turn out like Death Magnetic, a pale attempt at self-plagiarism that was a shadow of the classics. Though I like what they’re doing these days enough their old stuff was much better, but this seems to be what they’re into now, for better or worse.

  • [not a Dr]

    Anything Clandestine floats my boat (and my brain).
    My kids are amongst the detractors who will suddenly be unable to continue to ignore.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s less clippy than the last one, so it’ll sound nice in it’s natural habitat of loud too!

  • Embedded track feels like a death version of Nickelback.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      At least they’re not asking you to look at a photograph though right?

      • King Midas in reverse would not deign to do so!

  • SegaGenitals

    Album art/title is swell.

  • AndySynn

    I actually really enjoyed “Back to the Front” but have yet to give this one the time it deserves.

    Also my favourite Entombed album is “Morningstar” any day of the week.

    • Dethjesta

      Morningstar is a great album, but as I heard Clandestine and LHP first, they will always be my favourites.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s basically a companion to that, but a bit less good.

    • Mr Binky

      I love Morning Star. I’ve always considered it the real high point of their career.

  • groverXIII

    Thus far, I like this one more than I like Back To The Front. I’m okay with knowing that they’ll never replicate the glory of their first three albums (especially Left Hand Path, which is a top three death metal album for me).

  • HammerofThor

    LHP and Clandestine are two of death metal’s finest releases. I never understood just wtf happened between Clan and Wolverine. All these years later I’m still scratching my head over that decision. Why?….just why?

  • If we’re explaining our terrible taste in bands/albums, I have to admit that I deeply love Wolverine Blues as it was the first Entombed record I ever heard, which means I gave the next album an initial pass but I can’t listen to it now.

    Morningstar however was a (late?) career highlight and it feels like it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

    However, as I’ve become older, I’ve lost faith with old bands churning out sub-par albums and I just don’t buy them any more.

  • junkyhead

    Enjoyed it quite a bit after the first listen. Just the sound alone is great. The songs are interesting also.

  • Dead1

    Not as good as Back To The Front or Serpent Saints, but still some good stuff. Those two albums were far more catchier and memorable.
    I don’t hear much Clandestine in it though – it’s lacking in energy and crustiness or again memorability.