The first band to explode the world importance of Swedish death metal, Entombed have after their first album mixed dark rock n roll with death metal but on "Left Hand Path" produced an album influential enough to transcend both death and black metal genres.

Stranger Aeons

Production: Electric blitzkrieg of digital overdrive distortion gives this its unique sound but a backup production of roomy vocals and bass-heavy but somewhat indistinct guitars over crisp percussion instruments gives this release a mural upon which to graffitti.

Review: A transition between the two styles that each indicate a world-view radically different than the other through their use of structure and harmonic contexture in assembling the still-nascent form of death metal from the vantage point of being the most visible progenitors of a new subcategory of the style and ideology of death metal.


1. Stranger Aeons
2. Dusk
3. Shreds of Flesh
Length: 8:10

entombed stranger aeons 1992
Copyright © 1992 Earache

Where the first track, "Stranger Aeons," showcases a smooth and consistently energetic interpretation of rock music in the death metal style, the older tracks "Dusk" and "Shreds Of Flesh," while using fragments of riff and structure that would later be applied in radically different construction on the album which bore "Stranger Aeons," emerge from a sequence of rhythmic structures with a compositional style based on a sublimated melody embedded in varying intensities of architecture that serve lucid communicative goals from introduction to counter-theme to revelation. Their elements and style are clearly different, but what is most staggering about this release is to realize how these earlier two tracks express a different intent and thought process than the slick but less-satisfying "Stranger Aeons."

Guitars ride percussive riff patterns to interrupt a melodic progression established through the use of tremelo power chord passages joined with references to a collective structural center, which in a style similar more to thrash bands than to death or speed metal acts serves as a unification for a central motif which emerges in several variations of the same riff, including inversions and semi-retrograde interpretations, often for two or more paradoxically oppositional but structurally harmonizing riffs. The potency of an architecture of rhythmic and melodic fusion supports each song as highly articulate textures of rhythmic lead guitar define each song through moments in which all divergent patterns are unified into a single urgent, possibly even delicate, idea.

For no misbegotten praise was this band celebrated during their time as innovators of style and substance; for the collector or casual viewer, this sidewise glance into a juxtaposition of past and future shows a band at the crux of discovering their own worldview shifting from the nihilistic lucid structures to to a coherence with expectations that despite its ongoing cloak of anger does not address a resolution in the same way the earlier, more abstract works do not fail to.


Production: Amazingly clear representation of both electrically abrasive guitar and pounding drums without sacrificing or overmixing the almost swallowed gutteral roar of vocals.

Review: Intensely rhythmic derivations propel an otherwise rather rock-n-roll styling to a formerly evil death metal band, creating a more palatable aesthetic that rocks along on the basis of one or two rhythmic centers per song which carry the complexity of the more death metal augmentations: the essence here is harmonic and rhythmic return based around the simplicity of rock n roll and adding the chopping speed metal styles of riffing in an almost funk context - with more direction toward key and rhythmic centers in the style of death metal - to produce an engaging release with a hidden bankruptcy in its entertainment rather than elucidation of the paradox of death metal.


1. Living Dead
2. Sinners Bleed
3. Evilyn
4. Blessed Be
5. Stranger Aeons
6. Chaos Breed
7. Crawl
8. Severe Burns
9. Through the Collonades
Length: 43:41

entombed clandestine a swedish death metal album from 1992
Copyright © 1992 Earache

With the shouted and often half-obscured vocals in a neo-death style coughing alongside a domineering rhythm of guitar synchronization in the Swedish style, with fast tremelo interlocking in pattern to produce an overall effect of simultaneous motion, the propulsion that unifies this release is the accentuation and synchronicity of the precision blasting of multiple drums in concert, emphasizing rhythm through an invisible counterpoint. Musicality overall is highly excellent, but rooted in rock harmony and in the styles explored by the previous and not next generation of death metal.

Left Hand Path

Production: Sturdy Sunlight Studios sound in vast space.

Review: An early death metal band that utilized the blistering electric guitar roar of the Swedish style to make tremelo melody streaming in the architectural riff sculpting that is the defining trait of metal music, Entombed thrust their hybrid of heavy metal/death metal to its extreme with a shredding fast and percussively excessive album that creates atmosphere in the resonant textures of riff progressions (a similar technique to that of Discharge) in order to bowl them over with a domino effect of similar structures collapsing in sequence.


1. Left Hand Path (6:39)
2. Drowned (4:01)
3. Revel in Flesh (3:44)
4. When life Has Ceased (4:11)
5. Supposed To Rot (2:04)
6. But Life Goes On (3:00)
7. Bitter Loss (4:22)
8. Morbid Devourment (5:26)
9. Abnormally Deceased (2:59)
10. The Truth Beyond (3:25)
11. Carnal Leftovers (2:59)
12. Premature Autopsy (4:25)
Length: 47:17

entombed left hand path earache 1990
Copyright © 1990 Earache

Riffs are basic shards of motion joined by momentum as rhythms converging on a tone of neutrality or resolution, slamming through extension phrasing of even or chromatic intervals for recursion, indulging several speeds of double picking including a redline strum of humming, resonant hatred; power chords are done in the death metal style of a few essential shapes but mostly standard form. Lead riffing laces melody in a stream of singular notes through the charging rhythm section and associates tone with emphasis in shape, while lead soloing angles around points of harmonic significance to background riffing and provides a resonant space of interaction.

Thematic in the simplest sense, these songs loop through a series of riff progressions to support anthemic verse/chorus alteration and will then break for devolution or exegesis of narrative, for the most part following the Slayer style of riffs introduced by transitions and repeated in layers to break to final chorus development. Hardcore influences in the pulsing rhythm and broad tonal jumps of these long power chord phrases, hearkening back to a previous generation, with rock influences taken into account recall the convergence of ideas that formed the death metal genre.

Of savage and violent tension and blasting focal buildup, these songs are epic and defining for their era of the evolution of metal yet speak consistently to the cause and inspiration of the same, fomenting the immediate identification this band has among fans even after several albums outside the death metal genre. For influential vision and infectious energy these dark tapestries are immersion in the nihilism of death metal.

to ride, shoot straight and speak the truth
1. To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth
2. Like This With the Devil
3. Lights Out
4. Wound
5. They
6. Somewhat Peculiar
8. Parasight
9. Damn Deal Done
10. Put Me Out
11. Just As Sad
12. Boats
13. Uffe's Horrorshow
14. Wreckage
Length: 39:52
To Ride, Shoot Straight, And Speak the Truth! (MFN 1997)
Merging rock and death metal Entombed have created an emotive and roughshod rock-n-roll alternative to alternative, grunge, and other neo-punk hybrids in the same way that Glen Danzig's later experimentation reinjected blues into the punk-based rock music artform. These songs rock through verse and chorus and little else, but in the style of Motorhead know how to recombine their pieces and overlay guitar solos for effect, while the romantic nature of melody in the vocals (delivered in a gruff mortician monotextural chant, like later pop punk or grunge) propels these anthemic songs through their spaces of obscurity and light. Where it is excellent is in fusing the atmospheric nature of alternative rock with the thunderous romantic urges and structures of epic sludge-rock, but what is often forgotten is the metal, which here is really only a vestigial organ of heavy distortion and a few strumming techniques. If you feel like an album in the postmodern collage of styles that is alternative, but with the minor-key monster chord goulash of grunge or metal, and featuring the powers of a lyrical vocal/compositional style, Entombed might feed your beast, but for those expecting metal - beware!

entombed live in london monkey puss 1998
1. Living Dead
2. Revel in Flesh
3. Stranger Aeons
4. Crawl
5. But Life Goes On
6. Sinners Bleed
7. Evilyn
8. The Truth Beyond
9. Drowned
10. Left Hand Path
Length: 46:54
Monkey Puss (Live in London) (Earache, 1998)
The silly title might not appeal to metalheads, which is unfortunate, as this album is a pristine - as much as live performances by death metal bands can be unblemished and clear - recording of much of the back catalogue that made this band legendary. Their rockish death metal emerged from the primitive pugilism of European thunderous death, and picked up from its Swedish heritage a tendency to use melody and finely textured tremolo picking with the trademark blistering electric double distortion for which Nordic death metal is infamous. Songs from the first two albums, the aggressive "Left Hand Path" and the more rock-rhythmic "Clandestine," explode in sound that while thinner than studio captures the anarchic harmony of musicians collaborating on the fly in a live setting. Although the cover art, name and cheesy marketing of this CD reflect the grunge-metal-bluesrock hybrid that Entombed later became, in that bid for greater audience losing their devoted fans, the contents grasp what this band was when they contributed to the experience of metal in the early 1990s.

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