Entombed A.D._Back to the FrontEntombed is the All-Father of Swedish death metal and their Left Hand Path album stands like a black obelisk at the epicenter on the genre map, guiding all pilgrims onward to the next musical waypoint. Although only their first two albums were true death and they morphed into something like death rock on subsequent outings, the oversized legacy of their formative years looms ever large. Their last full length release was 2007s Serpent Saints and since then they’ve been embroiled in internal strife and various litigations. As a result, the faction of the band led by vocalist L.G. Petrov have adopted the moniker of Entombed A.D. and without founding guitarist Alex Hellid, they’re poised to begin the next phase of their careers with Back to the Front. With so much drama and lawyers running rampant behind the scenes, it’s natural to wonder what to expect and whether Entombed could be relevant in today’s music scene. Well, this is pretty much typical Entombed (A.D.) material, based off their Wolverine Blues template of punky D-beat death. It might not be a full return to their early death roots, but it’s heavy and you can certainly  hear the simmering resentment and hostility of a band going through tough times of late (lawyers will do that to ya). What surprised me was just how solid of a comeback this is considering all the crap going on while it was under construction.

If you heard any of their post Wolverine Blues platters, this won’t seem all too new to you. While songs like  “Bait and Bleed” and “Second to None” aren’t very far from Inferno or Serpent Saints in overall style, tracks like “Pandemic Rage,” “The Underminer” and  “Bedlam Attack” feel much more death-centric and remind me of the Death Breath debut and the Bombs of Hades material, complete with blast beats and wicked thrash riffs scattered about. And that’s pretty much how the album goes: a death rock tune and then a more straight up death metal one and yet things feel cohesive and it all flows well.

The best tune to my ears is “Eternal Woe,” which mixes a heavy, grinding approach with varied guitar styles and some interesting playing. L.G. sounds positively savage and when contrasted with the sometimes melodic leads, it creates a unique dynamic. Also quiet addicting is opener “Kill to Live,” which has a nifty swing and swagger to the riffing, and the somewhat out of place Amon Amarth-like battle metal of “Soldier of No Fortune.”

Entombed A.D._2014

Most of the songs are pretty quick hitters at four to five minutes and the writing is solid with most of the songs leaving an impression after one or two spins. Only “Digitus Medius” feels unnecessary and a tad generic. Not too shabby for a band on forced hiatus for seven years, huh?

This is essentially the same line up that appeared on Serpent Saints, with Hellid being replaced by former bassist Nice Elgstrand, who does a uncanny job of capturing the classic Entombed vibe and riffing style. He does go outside the lines at times to include ideas from thrash and even NWoBHM, but these mostly serve as accents to the traditional bulldozing, crushing riffs you’d expect. L.G. sounds as good as always and manages to dial up the nastiness on many of the songs. He does less of the shouting he did on albums like To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth and sticks much closer to the death roar we all know and love, frequently harkening back to the Left Hand Path days with his delivery.

While it isn’t the return to their glorious death days of yore, Back to the Front is a good and nearly very good frolic through the fields of death rock and essentially a career retrospective touching on all phases of their varied discography. It’s nice to see them back in the game again, especially with something worth hearing and musically relevant. Hail the All Father and get back to the front!


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5  |  Format Reviewed: 192 kbps MP3
Label: Century Media
Websites: Facebook.com/entombedofficial
Release Dates: EU: 2014.08.04  |  NA: 08.05.2014

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  • http://www.metalvortex.net/ [HKK] Hell³

    I guess we can expect some really gritty shit from Tool if they ever get out of their legal troubles and actually put out something around this time next year. Like, Suffocation levels of brutality.

    And the embedded track really got me to say “Yep, that’s Entombed alright”. I’m actually curious of this.

  • Excentric_1307

    You’re right, it’s good to see them back in the midst of it, I I have a nagging question in the back of my mind: Are they even relevant anymore?

    • http://Angrymetalguy.com Steel Druhm

      Fair question. I think they still have something to offer since few bands do what they do.

  • AndySynn

    I really liked this album. For me THIS is my Entombed. It’s the sound I want, post-Morning Star, with enough threads of LHP still there to maintain continuity.

    But what I wonder is… what exactly happened with the whole name fiasco? As far as I can tell the band who have been playing together and writing as Entombed the longest… are now being forced to call themselves Entombed A.D. because some ex-members jumped on the nostalgia train and plan to capitalise on all the people who just want another LHP and have taken the name for themselves.

    Which… just doesn’t seem right to me? Am I reading this wrong?

    • http://Angrymetalguy.com Steel Druhm

      Age old story of “creative differences” I suppose.

  • http://www.metal-fi.com/ Alex

    The All-Father! That was a good one Steel.

  • http://tomegapsonion.blogspot.gr/ Apostolis Zamparas

    I think this album capture the all things Entombed.Some good death ‘n’ roll moments,some swedeath moments land these huge vocals.The fact that, after 7 years and the line up changes, they make a decent album worth of many listens is more than enough for me.

    P.S: I think that Back to the Front has many similarities with Esoteric Warfare by Mayhem in terms of core members leaving the band, the 7 years between the releases and the going safe to what we do best direction both legendary bands took.Also the 2 huge vocal performances by Attila and L-G.

  • Bob

    Very nice comeback album.
    Bands like Carcass, Massacre and hopefully At The Gates go back to their glory days and put forth stuff that makes the old school crowd very happy. This is to me better than most of the new stuff that comes out these days…I guess I’m just old now…

  • Al Tatts

    Lawyers. Bastards. Nice one Steel.

    Always look forward to a new Entombed and pretty happy to hear it doesn’t suck after all the legal issues. I’ve got three tracks through the iTunes which I’m relatively happy with. Now just for the cd to arrive.

    Hopefully a round peg/round hole metal moment. Been a good year so far.