The Dutch death squad known as Entrapment named their sophomore release Lamentations of the Flesh presumably because a) that’s the title of a song on the record, and b) Swe-death Riff-fest 2014 is an incredibly unwieldy album title. While some of you may already be groaning at the prospect of another Swe-death record, guitarist/vocalist Michel Jonker’s band is at the top of the heap of modern musicians approximating this classic sound, and Lamentations of the Flesh is the best Swe-death album of 2014.
As my esteemed colleague Steel Druhm said in his review of the latest Revel in Flesh album, it’s pretty damned hard to write about Swe-death albums. We all know what Entombed, Grave, and Dismember sound like, what the “buzzsaw” guitar tone is, and how awesome well-written Swe-death riffs still are to this day. Lamentations of the Flesh sounds like it was exhumed from the genre’s glory days, and that’s meant entirely as a compliment. Instead of the deep growls used by Demonical, Entrails, and Revel in Flesh, Entrapment opt for a higher pitched LG Petrov-esque growl that works incredibly well with the music behind it, and it sets them apart from the myriad other bands running with this style. Entrapment also has some of the best leads in the Swe-death resurgence: the solo over the minute-long clean guitar break in “The Faithless” is just astounding, and the solos in “Seditious Dreamers” and “Proclamation” are expertly composed gems as well. It’s not often death metal has such memorable solos, so Entrapment‘s leads are a real treat.
Another highlight of Lamentations of the Flesh is the riffs. I have no idea how these guys can come up with so many awesome Swe-death riffs in a time when it feels like everything in the genre has been done already, but songs like “Perpetual Impudence,” “Abhorrence of the Unborn,” and the title track show there’s definitely some life left in the zombified Swe-corpse, and Entrapment is intent on feeding it more brains to keep it going. While it’s decidedly old-school, Lamentations of the Flesh never feels tired, irrelevant, or irritatingly familiar, and that alone is a huge accomplishment for a band playing a style of music in its third decade.
Unfortunately, the production of Lamentations of the Flesh isn’t so great. Although it’s refreshing to hear something outside of the Demonical/Revel in Flesh/Entrails blueprint production-wise, I can’t help but wish the sound was a little better here with the less than hard-hitting drums and sometimes over-distorted guitars. Thankfully, when the songs are this good, a mediocre production job can’t ruin them. If you’re going to make room for one more Swe-death album this year, make room for Entrapment; their ever flowing stream of great riffs and leads following the left hand path might just rekindle that old flame for Swe-death entombed in your metal heart [Stop that. – Steel Druhm].
Tracks to Check: “Perpetual Impudence,” “Abhorrence of the Unborn,” “Seditious Dreamers,” “The Faithless”