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These Stranger Aeons will force you to Crawl - 100%

Rivalry, February 13th, 2014

Oh dear lord is this album amazing. Let me start off by talking a bit about the drastic turn the mighty Entombed takes with their sophomore release "Clandestine". The first thing you may notice, that is, if you've spent some time with their equally monstrous debut, is the vocals. Instead of the guttural bellows of the great LG Petrov or the corrosive, goulish growls of the always enjoyable Orvar Säfström, we are presented here with some of the most emotional, intense and rage-inducing vocals ever recorded. The man behind both the microphone, drums and I would suspect, most of the riffs is the main character of swedish death metal himself (as author Daniel Ekeroth puts it), Nicke Andersson. These growls are so unorthodox and are immensely different from the standard growl performed by someone like Christofer Johnsson or Jörgen Sandström. They are otherworldly for lack of a better term and there are countless moments on this album where they act as the centerpiece, perfectly illustrating the caustic terrors expressed within both the lyrics and the riffs.

In addition to this masterful musicianship, this is the first album where the band is a stable and cohesive unit with the addition of Lars Rosenberg on bass guitar, and while I feel it's an instrument that's not as prominent as it was on "Left Hand Path" it fullfills its purpose to a great extent and provides the guitars with a much appreciated warmth. As for the guitars... this is perhaps a perfect blueprint of the "swedish sound" as it is known. This is the album that perfected that full, meaty, chainsaw-like distortion that few bands can achieve. In recent years, retro-death groups such as Bloodbath, Evocation, Smothered and Entrails have attempted to emulate this exact sound (with Entrail's second release coming closest in my oppinion) and this just shows the impact of this very album. While I prefer the all-encompassing warmth of the guitars on "Left Hand Path", I believe the sound is used best here because it perfectly highlights the endless guitar-battling held within. In addition to this, this is the first Entombed release where we can see clear traits of the rockier sound that they incorporated later. This can be heard in the really melodic sections. We are given more of a collage of brutal yet eerie riffs more than an album and there are so many different styles and sounds incorporated within. You got your rockier, up-beat and more accessible songs such as "Evilyn", "Stranger Aeons" and "Crawl", your more brutal, tremolo-riddled tracks such as "Living Dead", "Blessed Be" and "Chaos Breed" and then your classic eerie, diminished tracks like "Sinners Bleed", "Severe Burns" and "Through The Collonades". In fact, I jest mentioned every damn song on the album, you know why? Because they are all worthy of being mentioned and listened to.

There you have my exploration of Entombed's awe-inspiring "Clandestine" but I have one last point to make. This album sounds nothing like what you'd expect from a band similar to Grave or Unleashed and I believe this has to do with the very melodic atmosphere and musically aware tone o the album. The clarity of the guitars allows for better variety in musicianship and this allows for both an element of melody and harmony, something that is usually lacking in old school swedish death metal, and for a reason, but this nevertheless does achieve what it set out to do. The synergy that is created on this album is beyond brutal and it is a definite riff-fest that should be enjoyed and appreciated by any death metal enthusiast.

Finally, of there was one song I'd show to sum up the album it would no doubt be "Chaos Breed". Why you ask? Well, because it demonstrates every single moment of utter brutality on the album. It begins with an eerie graveyard tremolo riff and gradually builds up amazing harmonies until around the 1 minute 15 second mark, the drums hammer down relentlessly and Nicke Andersson delivers one of the most collosal verses in the realm of metal. Pretty damn brutal stuff, and I'll leave it at that.