Entrails – An Eternal Time of Decay Review

An OG band from the golden era of Swedish death metal that spawned the likes of Entombed, Grave and Dismember, Entrails mastermind Jimmy Lundqvist didn’t manage to release an album until 2010’s impressive Tales from the Morgue debut. Along with powerhouse follow-ups Tomb Awaits (2011) and Raging Death (2013), Entrails elevated themselves to the upper echelon of the throwback Swedeath scene. The last several albums have got the job done solidly, however, the band has been coasting in a comfort zone and struggled to reach the heights of their earlier trio of prime platters. A line-up shake-up occurred in 2019 and now the band returns with their anticipated seventh LP, entitled An Eternal Time of Decay. Within a crowded scene with strong competition, can Entrails regain the fire and edge that elevated them into the big leagues?

As expected, Entrails stick to the tried and true formula that has served them well. Big, beefy, buzzsawing riffs, featuring a polished modern take on the classic HM-2 guitar tone, pummeling percussion, and throaty growls define an expected collection of retro Swedeath tunes. Drastic stylistic shifts or experimentation is not on the agenda. Originality or imaginative twists is not what retro Swedeath exponents generally offer in the modern era, although Jimmy would probably argue he was doing it when it was first cool and cutting edge. However, to succeed, a bevy of quality riffs, bulldozing grooves and hooky writing is required to sustain interest while adhering to the classic Stockholm formula.

The opening intro wastes a couple of minutes before the album kicks in proper with the meat and potatoes rumble and unsubtle crunch of “Die to Death.” It’s a boneheaded blast of solid death with horror staple lyrics, a fun if rather silly chorus, driven by the meaty decipherable no-frills growls of bassist Penki Samuelsson. An Eternal Time to Decay features a combination of elements and dynamic shifts expected from both Entrails, and the style of death in general. Mid-paced pummels and beef-injected grooves collide with faster segments, thrashy d-beaten frenzies, occasional blasts, and the familiar melodic leads, lowbrow lyrics and sinister, horror-drenched atmospheric turns. Mileage varies from track to track, with the 46 minute runtime a little overdone, with some stock standard Entrails-in-auto-pilot-tunes present. However, there are certainly moments where Entrails sound more vital and inspired than they have in recent times.

After a solid if unspectacular handful of songs, it’s on fifth cut “Slayed to a Pile of Flesh” where Entrails up the ante, featuring darker, heavier tones, hammering blasts, and memorable hooks, both musically and vocally. “Open Casket Feast” serves up a meaner, thrashier template, boasting a violent thrust and doomy climax. Despite solid fare preceding it, this is where the album generally kicks up a couple of gears. Other later album standouts include the crushing weight and headbanging stomp of “Inverted Graveyard,” showcasing their heavier wares, while “Autopsy” boasts killer riffs and an equally authoritative, groove-laden heft.  The sweet dynamics and punky death hooks of “Possessed” closes the casket in style. Performance-wise Entrails do not dish up surprises nor flashy musicianship, however, they sound a little hungrier, and the riffs and stronger songs hit harder than the last couple of albums. On the flip side, they also sound like a band past their peak and running low on creative juices. The writing is uneven, production is certainly fat and polished, though feels a little too sanitized, dulling the serrated, ugly tones sonically important for the style.

Entrails’ trusty formula is both tried, true and difficult to strongly dislike. They have plugged away admirably for many years and it is easy to admire their stubborn dedication to their well worn craft. An Eternal Time to Decay improves upon Entrails’ past couple of albums, while lacking the addictive, gnarlier edge of their earlier works. End result is a modestly entertaining offering that should appease their fanbase without blowing anyone away. Entrails scrape a pass, yet they will need to step up their game again to match it with their peers.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hammerheart Records
Websites: entrails666.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/entrails666
Releases Worldwide: June 24th, 2022

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