Ah Ok! Alex Hellid has been left alone while the other four members of Entombed decided to leave the band to form Entombed A.D. with a new [ugly] logo and some new music. Entombed, the band that has always stood as one of the greatest Swedish Death Metal acts of all time is an important band, not only in their genre-bringing country but in the whole world of Metal. Many fans recognize Entombed with their early ground-breaking albums such as Left Hand Path, Clandestine and Wolverine Blues, which have all been released in the early 90s and gained some huge success for the band. In later years Entombed decided to add some rock vibes to their music and turned to Death ‘n’ Roll, which also gained some serious attention.
Now, seven years after releasing the acclaimed Serpent Saints – The Ten Amendments in 2007, the wait is over and Entombed returns with a brand new album Back to the Front. Entombed which is now identified as Entombed A.D. (better to skip the story behind this transition) has the same Entombed line-up minus Alex Hellid and consists of L-G Petrov (Vocals), Nico Elgstrand (Guitars), Olle Dahlstedt (Drums), Victor Brandt (Bass). For some reason “Back to the Front” can be marked as a love-it-or-hate-it album. But for old-school fans it could still be a decent experience. The first obvious thing that comes from the album in the first listen is Entombed A.D. wants to start a music project that sounds heavy, which waves the flag of old school Death Metal. It looks like a great decision that Entombed A.D. has made. Listen to uncountable bands that have come aboard in recent years, who want to keep the sound of old school Death Metal alive. To name a few Slaugherday (Germany), Monumentomb (UK), Bombs of Hades (Sweden), Ignivomous (Australia) and Entrails (Sweden), out of which the last one is highly inspired by the early Entombed. So there would be no better choice for Entombed A.D. to pack their instruments, having some time-travel to their roots of face-breaking Death Metal.
Back to the Front is an 11 tracks, 51 minutes album and in comparison to a typical Death Metal album is a bit long. The album is divided into two parts where the first five songs are around 4 minutes long each but after the 2 minutes long fast Thrashy song “Waiting for Death” album includes some longer songs that are 5 to 6 minutes. Back to the Front is far from Entombed’s Death ‘n’ Roll era and is close to their early years. Maybe it doesn’t clearly resemble those golden years but it still sounds rough and rude. When most of the album is filled with mid-tempo sludgy heavy songs, there is an opportunity for a few fast shorter songs like “Waiting for Death” and “The Underminer” to balance the album’s speed. These two songs truly resemble some great old Entombed tunes like “Severe Burns” from Clandestine and “Eyemaster” from Wolverine Blues.
Back to the Front suffers from overly loud and raw production, which brings the listeners’ attention to the drums, kicking so hard and so loud, it makes you feel like your speakers are going to explode. It pales the guitar sound and guitars sound too fuzzy themselves. Louder than these two is L-G Petrov’s voice. Without any doubt Petrov is one of the greatest Death Metal vocalists to ever grace this planet. Generally Petrov’s voice is loud and his vocal style is more like he’s shouting when singing and by this loud production Petrov’s voice has swallowed everything and left nothing for the other instruments to show! Back to the Front somehow resembles Nicke Andersson’s “Death Breath” and its crust/punk sound-alike Death Metal. There would be so much attention and joy for this album if the production wasn’t this fuzzy, raw and loud and surely it would be a great new experience for [old] fans to enjoy the new music that sounds exactly like the great old days. Back to the Front is produced by Roberto Laghi (In Flames, Hardcore Superstar and Evocation).
Songwriting and performances in Back to the Front is pretty dynamic, solid and powerful. Riffs are massive and Petrov’s voice is still as gigantic as Godzilla’s roars! Instead of examining new tunes that bring some high risks to the band at this point of their career, Entombed A.D. didn’t drift off and did something they’re really good at. Maybe it’s a bit unpleasant for some fans that Alex Hellid isn’t in the band and that he didn’t participate in songwriting and recording sessions but this album completely shows how these four members of Entombed A.D. are working well together.
Overall, Entombed A.D.’s Back to the Front satisfies both their older and newer fans. The absence of Alex Hellid didn’t harm Entombed A.D.’s music as much as many fans were expecting. The band strikes with everything they had created in Entombed, breathing and shaping it into the body of Entombed A.D.
by Arash Khosronejad | Twitter: (@arashkh)
Label: Century Media
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/05/2014
Band info: Facebook