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In many interviews you can hear the question “what are you favourite albums ever?!”. And usually I agree with the answer that technically it is damn hard or even almost impossible to name just five or ten favourite and very best LPs, simply because there are many, many more. But I think I can say that there are several titles, which are like a 100% sure candidates to be on this “best ever” list… Mainly they are the albums, which I have known for many, many years, probably since the days of early 90’s, when I started to listen to this noise. So, speaking only about death metal I would certainly mention such “Altars of Madness”, “Deicide”, “Like an Ever Flowing Stream”, “Testimony of the Ancients”, “False”, “Into the Grave”, “The Nocturnal Silence”… and this one; Entombed’s finest piece and their debut record “Left Hand Path”. Yeah, this certainly is one of the best CLASSIC albums, which I’ve been worshipping for over 20 years now and will do so until I die. No matter how much everything around me is changing; the life, world and even the metal music… albums like “Left Hand Path” remain brilliant and perfect.
I’m not going to write about the importance of Nihilist’s demos and later also of the Entombed’s debut album on the creation of the scene, the sound – or even the whole movement, which was the Swedish death metal. There were so many publications, which described everything perfectly, that there is simply no point. Everyone should know by now what happened back then in Stockholm and what “Left Hand Path” really is standing for. I guess that instead I should rather write how important is this album for me… But again, would I write anything new? No, this LP has marked a sign on thousands of maniacs and it still does, I guess, seeing how many new bands and new fans are praising Entombed from this period of their career. I was only 11 years old, when I got a pirate cassette of “Left Hand Path (released by Polish pirate label Baron – good old days hehe)… And I guess that in the beginning I didn’t even like it so much, because it wasn’t as brutal and fast as Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide or Sinister. But obviously later, with years passing by, I started to like it more and more and nowadays I see this LP as simply amazing, one of the best death metal materials ever released. No doubt about that!
When I listen to “Left Hand Path” nowadays it feels like listening to “the best of…” kind of thing, as basically almost every song is a killer and immortal classic. It’s the same with all these albums, which I have mentioned above, they all are complete and contain only killer stuff… “Left Hand Path” is no different; every song is so memorable, so fantastic… And obviously Entombed has never even got close to repeat and write such excellent material again; even their second LP “Clandestine” – which obviously is also very good – isn’t as great as the debut. Why is that? I don’t know why the debut albums of so many bands are their best ever. Was it the passion and enthusiasm of the young band or they simply had more time to prepare killer material, which was often selected from various demo recordings? “Left Hand Path” for that matter contains some songs from the Nihilist era and obviously also from Entombed’s only demo “But Life Goes On”. No surprise then that there are so many brilliant and instantly recognisable classics. Anyway, the truth is that the whole “Left Hand Path” with all its ten songs is perfection. A perfection in every aspect. Starting with the artwork… Damn, look at their killer logo and that bloody excellent painting done by Dan Seagrave… Not only the music turned out to be the most influential and immortal ever, but even the artwork for the album is like that! Seagrave did many excellent paintings for death metal bands, but this one is in my top three favourites, if not even his best one ever. Plus that logo… Entombed’s photo with that cross in the background? OK., maybe Dismember had more blood on their photo session for the debut LP, but this one is also great. The production… Damn, this is the band, which created the whole fuckin Swedish sound! Thanks to them we had a chance to hear this fat, crunchy, powerful and so characteristic guitar tone, very low tuned… rough, but clean hehe! Even the vocals of L.G.Petrov are kind of unique and different to the typical death grunts.
“Left Hand Path” is filled with brilliant songs, with absolutely no fillers to be found anywhere. The opening song is their best EVER, with some amazing guitar riffs, great eerie, horror atmosphere and that finishing motif, where Entombed used that awesome melody from “Phantasm” horror movie… It sounds… well, I dare to say it is one of the best things, which I have heard in my life. But then we have more monsters: “Drowned”, “Revel in Flesh”, “Supposed to Rot”, “But Life Goes On”, “Morbid Devourment”, “When Life Has Ceased” – isn’t that a dream tracklist? They all have something significant, something memorable, some hooks / riffs, vocal parts… whatever, what makes you remember and love them. More so, if you have a CD version then you get two killer bonus tracks, also composed in the good old Nihilist days. Yes, definitely this album is brilliant. It sounds damn vicious, it is dark and aggressive, often fast, but with lots of diversity and it has this classic D-beat, which originates from bands such as Amebix, Discharge, etc... and Autopsy! Yes; this is how the Swedish death metal was born; after several demos “Left Hand Path” came and nothing was the same anymore. I cannot believe it’s been so many years since this LP was released and that it still sounds so damn fresh, so damn awesome and is still so influential, now for new generation of death metal bands. This is what you call a “cult / classic record”! No collection is complete without “Left Hand Path” in it, it is a fact.
Rest in festering slime!
Standout tracks: “Left Hand Path”, “Drowned”, “Revel in Flesh”, “Supposed to Rot”, “But Life Goes On”, “Morbid Devourment”, “When Life Has Ceased”
Final rate: 100/100
Left Hand Path is what Discharge would've sounded like if they'd innovated death metal the same way they innovated crust ten years earlier. In other words, a mega-ton bomb that erased all around it. With these ten songs, Entombed released an album no less seminal and game changing than Discharge's Why?, Slayer's Reign In Blood, and Repulsion's Horrified, taking those blitzkrieg rhythms and cranking them up to an even more demented level: guitars more distorted, vocals more evil, impact more imminent. Yet just before impact, a slowing, a realization of death as a deep blues wish for one more chance that is swiftly denied. Left Hand Path sweeps all that was before it aside and strides over the remains of all and laughs. Almost twenty-five years later and it is still the single most imitated death metal record ever. Yet all those imitators never once captured even an inch of its overwhelming power.
The sensation this band caused in 1990 might be hard to fathom in the contemporary imagination but nothing sounded like this then. No one was heavier. No one was crazier. Death metal was still mostly in the thrall of thrash and the template was Death: the morning star rising over Florida until Entombed shifted the spotlight to Sweden. To start, the guitar tone was the filthiest, nastiest thing unleashed up to that point. To follow, the rhythm section was blunt force trauma in the d-beat tradition, eschewing the formalism of death-thrash and focusing on a more raw and traumatic experience. To finish, LGP's unique primal roar wasn't indebted to any previous vocalist. He found his own voice and honed it, singing songs that encompassed a vast swath of philosophical musings about the nature of death and the primacy of horror. And the entire album was suffused in gloom, reeking of the tomb, and as bleak as the sunless landscape portrayed in the iconic group photo. Nothing could compete.
Every track is a fuckin' monster too. Right out the gate, the title track just rips you to shreds with distorted screams and eerie synths segueing right into an absolute face-melting riff and LGP's titanic bellows. Can't forget to mention the "Phantasm" tribute they snuck in too, cheeky bastards! "Drowned" follows this up full-throttle, revealing the Discharge influence but also showing an uncannily Scandinavian ability to suffuse so much adrenaline in so much gloom as well. "Revel In The Flesh" gives us our first foreshadow of Entombed's later death'n'roll style with a bruisingly rollicking riff that would come to dominate their later oeuvre, though coupling it to some blast beats keeps all thoughts of the future mostly at bay. "But Life Goes On" is probably the highlight, finding time to be obscenely catchy as well as obscenely heavy. Catchiness is often seen as weakness in metal but Entombed know how to bait a barbed hook that goes deep. There isn't a single track here that isn't memorable in some fashion. Whether it is a riff, a chorus, an attitude, or an atmosphere, there is much that lingers long after the run time is over.
Bands have ripped this album off left and right for decades but some essential ingredient has always been missing. Entombed even found this out to their detriment with Clandestine, an excellent record but not quite on this one's level. No wonder they changed up their sound. If they couldn't top, or even match this, no one else was going to either. Left Hand Path is forever.
First impressions, as they say, can mean everything. Along with a few other of my personal favorites, I remember very clearly the first time I heard this masterpiece of a record. That descending scream, the unceremonious arrival of that solid, bass-heavy sound, and that wild thrashing riff... I heard eighteen seconds of "Left Hand Path" before I took off my headphones and purchased the album. You see, it didn't matter to me that I knew absolutely nothing about the band. It didn't matter that I had no idea about the remaining 40+ minutes of music on the CD. The only thing that mattered was that the minuscule sample I had heard very clearly communicated to me that this record was no joke and that I was in for one hell of a ride. What I discovered, to my immense joy, was that what lay beyond that brief introduction was nothing but death metal among the highest quality ever written, and nothing but EXACTLY what I wanted to hear around every twist and turn. The phrase is used far too often these days, but this album really did blow my mind. In fact, it still does.
I could probably write a five-page review about the opening track alone, but that's not my purpose here. It is important, though, for me to stress its significance. The title track is a legitimate contender for the award of best death metal song ever written. Mixed with audio samples from the horror flick 'Phantasm', the song is a roller coaster of riffs, styles, and emotions. The skill with which it is delivered cannot be understated. Entombed displays a level of mastery of their craft that seems inhuman for them to have achieved by the time this record was released. And of course, it only keeps on going from there.
Left Hand Path is characterized by its bass-heavy sound and warm production, a sound that was vastly different from those sported by the New York and Florida crews of the day and one that would become the trademark of Sunlight Studio. Whereas many of death metal's early offerings had thin production with clamoring drums, shrill guitars, and completely absent bass, the mix you'll hear on this album is full and balanced. It's a pleasant sound. Perhaps that's odd for such unpleasant music, but I think there's untold value in clarity. The other vital trait of this music is its close relationship with thrash metal. The thrash influence is strong and undeniable here, with one foot boldly plunged into death metal's pool without any fear of how cold it was back then, and the other slowly starting to emerge from the stale water of thrash metal's swimming hole.
Every song has some kind of hook, some kind of little twist in the sound that gets the listener's attention. Although the album can wear you out because of its sheer force, it doesn't get boring. If you're a veteran of the genre, you'll hear various riffs throughout the album that dozens if not hundreds of bands have ripped off in one way or another. In that way, and perhaps a few others, Left Hand Path paved the way for death metal to expand, setting many of the genre's conventions and helping to build a bridge that spanned the gap between the land of thrash and the land of death (I'm not suggesting that's what the cover depicts, but it's still an effective metaphor).
Standing out from much of the death metal of the early 90's, before technicality became standard in the genre, many of the songs featured here have wild patterns of ascending and descending riffs, abrupt transitions, and a general tendency to not dwell in one place for too long. Sure, those things are shared by most death metal to one degree or another, but it's often done just for the sake of sounding crazy. Here, it's done with purpose. Everything on the record is done with purpose. For twenty-two years this album has stood up to all scrutiny it has ever faced. Not even one thing is out of place. It is flawless. Period. Buy it, cherish it, worship it - and the next time you come to a fork in the road, you know which path to take.
When a random metalhead opens their meaningless mortal mouth and says something bad or neutral about this absolute masterpiece of human race called "Left Hand Path" I have two opportunities - either to start screaming or crying. You just don't talk about that album with disrespect. I don't know how to call it - album, record or a spell? That's how holy it sounds to my ears. Even if the latter albums of the band are not that perfect, LHP is a cornerstone of death metal.
When I put aside the endless influence of this MASTERPIECE on the death metal scene, which of course is not something you put aside very easily, it'd still be better than most death metal albums ever created. Why am I talking with such devotion?
To start with, this music is how death metal should sound in its best - morbid, stinky, rotten, hateful yet absolutely magical and even trippy..you'd ask me how is death metal supposed to be trippy? Hear the second part of Left Hand Path and you'll see. If "Left Hand Path" was to be a person I guess it would be a loner one, the kind that stands with pride and doesn't talk nonsense.
I am about to write some words about my favourite death metal song (yes, I know it's kind of dumb to have ONE favourite song, I like many but this is like.. THE ONE). This is the fantastic 06:39 out-of-space opener LEFT HAND PATH. The word "perfection" sounds like "crap" when you think of this song. It starts off with the familiar and emblematic scream "aaaaaaaaarh" and then the coolest, never-slowing guitar kicks in, in a perfect unison with the drums. You start headbanging immediately. It continues in its craziness up to minute one. How perfectly heavy is it? And yet, at the same time it sounds as if the band is not doing anything extraordinary, as if it is absolutely normal for them to sound that HEAVY, like a child game. The first of the slow downs helps you to hear the vocals easy and emphasizes on their coldness. Man, when I hear these screams it's like HEAVY cold wind blowing me off. The temperature in the room is 23 C and I feel the chill running down my spine as if it was winter in the graveyard. When the guitar solo goes on you feel like all the abysmal, abnormal creatures of the abyss are running out from their holes in hell reaching to grab your soul. THE SECOND PART. One minute silence here before I start typing. This is so good I can die. The remaining part of the song is heaven - heaven as you imagine it. It transports you to some higher place, somewhere you can gather everything magical.
Drowned, the second track is another huge favourite of mine. It is shorter and really groovy. The guitar tone is still pretty smashing all the time, the vocals continue to tell their amazing story. It is again the same feeling that you get - that outer space awesomeness that the album possesses. If I have to describe this song with only one word it will be "Beyond". Which is Lars Petrov's intention - 'to travel beyond'. At 02:45 you hear the chills again as the guitar slows down. Then you hear the highlight "I DROOOOOOWN" and it starts to cut you to pieces. What a perfect guitar, man.
The production of the record is flawless to me. It is not perfect in the generally accepted way, yet it doesn't sound as a garage-recorded crap like many albums of that time. You can drown in the atmosphere without obstacles because of the production - it in no way ruins the instruments/vocals and at the same time it is not fucking modern crap metal.
My ABSOLUTE favourites are "But life goes on" and "Bitter Loss". "But life goes one" has one of the best lyrics. It is about the stupidity of humans to think that there is any redemption after death and someone to tell you which way to choose. It is about our willingness to buy ourselves coffins and to decay in them. This song declares that your body might stay, but your soul is what will win and float freely. And the song itself sounds like that. REAL DEATH METAL PRIDE. I felt really hooked to that, because the general idea is very much to my liking. “Bitter Loss” has one of the coolest riffs on the record, along with “Supposed to rot”. Guitars are tuned so low, which is what makes for the grave-like feeling of every song.
Entombed released many good records after this one, some great some decent. "Clandestine" is a good follower, another amazing child of that band, though still not that classy. For some apparent reason, Entombed never reached the excellence of the first album and I don't think they will ever reach it. So now, please leave me to close the door of eternity and leave me with this record in the void. It is a loyal companion.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhh!!! Who could forget that opening to an album, as the horror chords of a synthesizer part ways like a funeral and the ears begin to rupture to some of the sickest, ooziest guitar tone that has ever been recorded emits from the speakers. Entombed have arrived from the ashes of Nihilist, and death metal could never be the same. This is the face that launched a thousand ships, if ships were Scandinavian death metal bands.
The crushing tones are delivered in blitzkrieg fashion, owing as much to early grinders Discharge and Repulsion as it does to the few death metal forebears that existed by 1990. But there is considerably more to Left Hand Path, the album is truly dark, from the psychological imprint left by the cover image to the morbid, erupting cemetery vibe contained in the riffs. The title track opens the record, 6:39 of fast, crisp riffing that winds down into massive grooves, blistering leads, and even a creepy breakdown with more horror flick synthesizers.
'I dip my forefinger in the watery blood, of your impotent redeemer
And write over his thorn torn brow, the true Prince of Evil
What man's created, man can destroy
Bring to light, that day of joy'
But that track was simply the icing on the grave. "Drowned" grabs your ankles and pulls you back into the band's festering morass, with some punkish hardcore fury and old school brutal guitar lines under Lars-Göran Petrov's echoed barks. "Revel in Flesh" radiates more hardcore/punk influence, with a churning, mid-paced thrust. "When Life Has Ceased" weaves more complex riffing into a violent momentum, and "Supposed to Rot" has that amazing, emotionally descending rhythm. "But Life Goes On" was one of the breakout tracks here, memorable for the pattern of chords behind Petrov's chorus, and the frenzied grinding guitars.
"Bitter Loss" is one of my personal favorites, even among such standout peers, for the shadows cast by the melody over the dense, opening chords. The verses are total d-beat grindage that bands are getting paid today to copy. "Morbid Devourment" is pure slugfest, and "Abnormally Deceased" uses its guitars like hammers on your spine. "The Truth Beyond" is the original closing track to the album, with some evil guitars and more of the band's flattening chords, but if you have the CD version then you've also got the punk flavored "Carnal Leftovers" and the sadistic "Premature Autopsy", with its freaky vox (I wish they had used these more often).
The influence of this album upon decades to follow is monolithic. I can rattle off the names of many bands whose entire sound and career relies upon their ability to copy Left Hand Path, changing the notes and song titles but shoveling you the same shit you had already known. It's also the album most responsible for the proliferation of Skogsberg's Sunlight Studio guitar tone, which many other death metal bands adopted (even those that weren't cloning this band's riffs). It's one of the most important death metal records, one of the cornerstones for the foundation and survival of the genre into the 21st century. It's spotless.
Chances are the title of this review will sound a tad exaggerated. ‘Left Hand Path’, a record so disgustingly rough and raw it sounds like death metal gone through a disastrous abortion – a pinnacle in extreme music’s history? A record not washed in the progressive and technically-inclined wells of many other forms of death metal but in punkish bursts of noise that provided the genre with its foundations – a piece of recorded art with genuine depth and relevance and influence? Surely not?
Yes, very much so. ‘Left Hand Path,’ in fact, is possibly one of the greatest and most important death metal albums ever yet laid down.
Having captivated and influenced an innumerable myriad of bands with its unpretentious and fearsomely direct driving power, the record has become legendary in death metal circles for its flawlessly powerful coupling of stripped down grime and an innate ability to conjure atmosphere on a whim, absorb the listener in its nightmarish world, and send them howling down The Left Hand Path with loathsome creatures out of hell clawing at them on all sides. Few are able to achieve that transcendent state whereby they send a listener headfirst into a world summoned to the imagination by music – that Entombed achieved it with music of such an uncomplicated nature has to be heard to be truly understood.
The album, as mentioned, largely owes more to the likes of Discharge and their basic-to-a-fault ilk that sowed the early seeds of the extreme metal scene – while the speed and naked aggression of their death metal compatriots across the open sea is present, Entombed jettisoned the more high-minded tendencies that Morbid Angel and Death were openly indulging in. An attitude that did them great credit in the grander scheme of things, as this album draws it’s great strength and influence from being so very drastically apart from ‘Altars Of Madness’ or ‘Leprosy’, in its indulgence in a far more primal violence.
What first hits about the album is that infamous guitar sound. Now a staple of many a death metal band from Sweden and beyond, here it is at the moment of birth, a demon-possessed chainsaw grinding out gruesomely distorted chord progressions at a fantastic pace, persisting it’s single minded goal of mutilation. What sets this apart from the slimy sounds already exhibited by Repulsion and Napalm Death is that the production here is extraordinarily professional, clear as a bell but never polished, free of clutter but never absent of that feral edge. As players the band are exceptional considering their youth at the time – guitarists Alex Hellid and Uffe Cederlund turn out superb riffs and blistering solos left, right, and centre, backed up solidly by Nicke Andersson’s exceptional and extremely powerful drumming, with everything topped off with L.G. Petrov’s uniquely gravelly death metal roar.
In songwriting terms, it is unwise to think of Entombed as punks plucking the same note over and over. Every song takes on a life of its own, from the thrashing brutality of ‘Revel In Flesh’ and ‘But Life Goes One’, through the deathly groove of ‘When Life Has Ceased’ and the doomy atmospherics of ‘Bitter Loss’, right up to the grinding assault of ‘Supposed To Rot.’ The album, as mentioned, captivates the listener totally, because with each song it seems to be showing the listener some new horrendous sight on the route of The Left Hand Path – which brings us straight to the eponymous, opening track itself. Sweet Satan below, doctoral dissertations should be written about this six minute masterpiece, a song truly deserving an accolade as one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time.
Setting the tone for the whole record with that agonised scream, it smashes the listener across the face with slamming chords and crashing cymbals, rips the breath away with an astounding solo courtesy of Mr. Hellid, descends into scintillating brutality, seques into a creeping, doom-inspired mid-section, then melds seamlessly into a stunningly ethereal closing passage, touching upon haunting melodies and a grandiose, magnificent final solo, sealing the song’s legend as a work of epic, genuinely inspired musical genius.
Without doubt one of the most important, respected, influential and downright amazing albums you will ever come across in the entirety of the death metal genre, ‘Left Hand Path’ is an astounding experience to listen to. Fully deserving of all the plaudits bestowed upon it, it is Entombed’s definitive masterwork, and all faithful warriors of the metal cause would do well to walk it’s dark track to see what hellish wonders are in store for them.
I was reading a swedish rock magazine simply called "Sweden Rock Magazine" (it's written by the same people that arrange "Sweden Rock Festival") & I got a description of how Death Metal guitars sounds like. I liked the description & on the next day I went down to the record store to buy this as my first album of this genre. When I went home I plugged it into the DVD player (my computer wasn't working at the time & I don't have a real stereo) & when I heard the legendary opening track I just went through a lot of thoughts. I heard this scream & I was totally freezed, didn't move a muscle & then all hell broke loose. I'll never forget that feeling I had when hearing "Left Hand Path" for the first time ever, I stod up playing air guitar while banging my head totally mad.
I would say that every track on this album is great, "no fillers, only killers" as you say although the title track has become my all time Entombed favorite. After being totally exhausted I went to the couch to relax while "Drowned" went off. I still thought it was one hell of a track even though it wasn't as good as the first track but at least it gave me hope that these kind of bands don't just have 1 good song & later I found out they had a whole big bunch of great songs. Next is 2 more average tracks which still is awesome but not as amazing as the first 2 but on the 5th track "Supposed To Rot" it's all back with one of the coolest riffs I've ever heard. The rest from now on is also pretty much awesome average songs but I founs something special in "Morbid Devourment" that I liked.
Before hearing this album I had also read about how this minor guys got their contract so I was expecting a production that would be so bad that you barely would hear anything at all but man I was wrong. I was really surprised when I heard how good the production actually was, not the best but you hear anything & it's a true raw-as-hell Metal production. It sounds very much like Carnage's "Dark Recollections", pretty much exactly the same production. L-G Petrov's growl is awesome & I like the drum sounds very much. The guitar solos sounds pretty much influenced by Metallica's Kirk Hammeth & are better than I expected too.
A 3rd surprise I didn't expected was that the cast would be too good musicians but I was surprised by that too. These guys can really play & Nicke Andersson is a big influence for me as a drummer myself. They all do a great job & if you play an instrument then you'll hear something that you'll be playing afterwards. Riffs, solos, drumming whatever, I promise you, there's on thing that all musicians love with this album.
The best song (Entombed ever made) is defenitely "Left Hand Path", a true Death Metal classic with the same feeling as Dismember's "Dreaming In Red". All the tracks are great though, especially "Drowned", "Supposed To Rot" & "Morbid Devourment".
Finally, this is an excellent piece of Metal history that every headbanger should own. It has it all, literally. The only thing I can come up with that would have been cool was if these guys made a cover of Dark Angel's "Death Is Certain (Life Is Not)". I think that one would have been great if they performed it with a even more satanic approach.
Get "Left Hand Path", you won't be dissapointed!
Entombed’s first album is still regarded as milestone in the Swedish death metal scene along with Carnage one that came out in the same year. Already from their early incarnation, Nihilist, those guys showed a non common sense of brutality and groove. Lots of other bands took inspiration from this album during the years and listening to it you can understand why this is so original.
The intro to the title track has made history along with the use of some obscure synths and the rotten mid tempo, followed by a long, gloomy solo. “Drowned” is fucking heavy with the guitars so low tuned and at the same time, very groovy. The vocals are something incredible for the period in Sweden; they are directly from hell in their inhuman growls. The drums are quite essential but extremely catchy and thrash inspired in their continue up tempo.
“Revel In Flesh” is my favourite one in this album…incredible in the up tempo, stop and go and fast blast beats. The guitars are so crunchy in their down tuned style and the vocals even more obscure. The musicians are always very good at creating rotten melodies, violent and catchy at the same time; every song has its well cast riff that helps you recognize it among the other ones.
“Supposed To Rot” is unbelievable in speed, brutality and songwriting. The few solos are always weird, obscure and the one on the great “But Life Goes One” is a good example. The main riff on “Bitter Loss” stenches of early grindcore (It has been said that Repulsion were one the greatest influences for these guys and surely you can hear that anywhere in this album). The mid tempos at the beginning of “Morbid Devourment” are awesome but the up tempo after, is even better with the chainsaw guitars in the first place.
The riff at the beginning of “Abnormally Deceased” is awesome and tthe fast parts are really blowing. Several times, the most violent part in a song is introduced by the only guitars sound and then when the drums enter the sound, hell’s unleashed.
I cannot say that I recommend this to any Swedish death metal fan out there because you should know it very well for his importance and beauty. A piece of history for everybody. Neverending violence for my ears!!
Quite one of the most cult releases ever! This release made Entombed one of the most famous bands in Europe, although they released after 'LHP' only mediocre records, but this one made them a symbol for crushing Death Metal, with ultra low guitars and simple, but battering drum work. From all the bands from Sweden, and all the releases (which so many suck), Entombed's 'LHP' is one of the few that really made a significant mark on the metal map, and set standards for future releases and bands. This Swedish Old School Death Metal sound will be incorporated in a variety of other bands from Sweden, but none of them making such a great effort, which is Entombed's answer to the US metal - we will fuck you up with our bare hands, bitches!
The title song, and its intro, which was then wuite frightening, show what Entombed was all about in 1990 - ultra low guitars, that had power behind every played chord, but also with amazing melodies and solos, drums that can only inspire to a greater drum work, and fucking old school vocals by L.G. Petrov, fucking harsh and non-gay. This all together with the deep bass sound creates a certain sinister ambient; the sound is simply massive and full, no holes and no gaps to be filled, it's just one of the best done releases then. Nowadays bands like Incantation and Funerus still play this kind of music, only in the US way. Funerus was more than just influenced by Entombed's sound, they also made their guitars sound like Entombed's, to become a full sound.
If you just listen to the lead chords and the solo in "Revel in Flesh", you will go off. "Supposed to Rot" - groove pure. "Morbid Devourment" - that's what inspired Dismember to them up-tempo rhythms. Obviously Dismember took some good and groovey parts of Entombed and made like 10 releases out of it, wasting the ideas totally. Fuck Dismember; Entombed kicks ass with any release, compared to them Swedish plagiators. "The Truth Beyond" - early Hypocrisy, the best Hypocrisy actually. So you see, without this release, most bands in Sweden would have just played Blekk Metal or have been ABBA tribute bands, like The Project Hate (well, this band couldn't even be a good ABBA cover band, they just sukk!). Simple as that, Entombed's 'Left hand Path' is one of the corner stones of not only todays European Death Metal, but also in the fucking world.
To start, I'd like to give a disclaimer that I am completely and hopelessy biased towards the old school Swedish Death Metal sound. That being said the first album that ever truly made me a devotee of both the death metal genre and the Swedish sound was Left Hand Path. Quite honestly one of the finest if not *the* finest Death metal albums in the history of the genre.
The first thing that made my heart pound in my chest (most elatedly) when I first heard this masterwork was the guitar tone, that rabid chainsaw sound just so beautifully clear and dirty. LG Petrov's pained and animalistic vocal style on this album is perfectly complimentary to the hellish cacophony of riffing. The drums, what can one say? Nicke had some of the catchiest drumming in death metal, everything he did fit so well and created some of the most neckbreaking music imaginable.
Left Hand Path in and of itself (the song) is an encapsulation of the whole album. The sinister keyboard strains, massive wall of guitars and pained vocals contained therein perfectly mesh every aspect of this album into one track. But unlike the last reviewer it seems I have listened to *every* track on this album and I can comfortably tell you every-single-one is worthy of praise. Bitter Loss, But Life Goes On, Revel in Flesh, Supposed To Rot.. these tracks are the corner stone of the classic Swedish Death Metal sound, and are not only catchy but extremely dark and sinister in both concept and music.
To conclude, if you are looking for one classic swedish death metal album to own... this should be your choice.
At a time when death metal was still looking for recognition, Swedish band Nihilist changed their name, grabbed some old demos and proceeded to recording an album. The result was yet one of the most influential albums in the history of swedish death metal, or even the whole death metal scene. Left Hand Path mixed the relentless thrashy aggression and riffage of floridian death metal with a healthy dose of groove and a bit of experimentalism. The album kicks in with a scream, followed by a powerful solo and then... then you hear it... that GUITAR TONE. Damnit, this album has one of the best guitar tones ever heard in death metal. It's heavy as fuck, really low-tuned and sounds more evil than any DM band could ever dream to do. Then the album carries on, with sheer brutality attacking you from every corner, while singer LG-Petrov vomits his inhuman old-school growls without allowing you to breathe. Riff after riff, there is no stop to this monster of an album. The drumming is top-notch as well; Nicke Anderson is one of the few drummers who can write great songs and also play really well. Really powerful and aggressive blastbeats that go along with a great technique. Incredible.
However, there's still one thing that makes this album stand out above all the other DM releases that came out at the time. First of all, it has a small sense of melody not present in most USDM; second, it has all that evil atmosphere that Entombed's american peers so hard tried to achieve (and mostly failed). Entombed manage to be relentlessly aggressive and atmospheric at the same time, without decaying in melodic death metal. The guitar work is not very original (except for that great tone, of course), but it's still damn good.
Overall, Left Hand Path is an essential piece on the death metal puzzle, influencing an entire legion of swedish bands that later showed up in the scene. You like death metal? Then OWN IT! Stand-out tracks: Left Hand Path, But Life Goes On, Abnormally Deceased, Supposed to Rot. Some versions of the album have two bonus tracks: one of them, Premature Autopsy, is done quite differently than the usual Entombed sound, but it's still amazing. If you like Cannibal Corpse, you'll recognize the initial riff from a very famous tune of them... CC, you little rip-offs!
It doesn’t get much better than this. Everything about this album is done perfectly: the guitar tone, the vocals, the lyrics, the drumming, the song writing, even the goddamn cover artwork. This is my favorite death metal album from what I have seen so far. It’s an album that Entombed never really topped either. They came close with the next one, then had a decent album, then have been putting out crap ever since.
The infamous sunshine studios guitar tone sounds perfect, as is the rest of the production. Unlike many other death metal albums, for better or for worse, this album really has a sense of space, which is reflected in the cover artwork. This is accomplished by the song writing, different instrumentation, and most importantly the vocal effects and techniques. L G Petrov uses what I like to call an “atmospheric growl” for lack of a better word. It was being used before this, at least by Obituary, but this album really perfects it. Essentially, it starts off soft and gets louder and then echoes. The guitars also have an echo to them which adds to the effect of giving a sense of space.
The lyrics are very good as well. Unfortunately, only a few of them are available. I really wish these guys would publish the lyrics as well as the tabs! They also have a sense of humor about the whole thing, but never come across as goofy or just plain silly. They were originally called Nihilist and some of the lyrics really reflect nihilistic values in a humorous sense. In the song “But Life Goes On,” the lyrics right before the chorus are “Continue to seek and you will see/Life is your worst enemy!” This rivals “Wanting to die is your reason to live” (Slayer – Postmortem) in terms of being nihilistic in a funny way.
Let’s have a look at each individual song since each one has something to contribute to the album:
Left Hand Path 10/10 – What a way to start off an album. This song is an epic classic. It starts off with a scream followed immediately by a snare drum hit, giving the impression of someone falling down into the depths of insanity, or perhaps the chasm on the cover. This also sets the precedent for the sense of space the album has. Immediately after, the listener is crushed with power chords that introduce you to the guitar tone and then two mini solos right off the bat to let you know that these guys mean business.
The song continues at a fast pace for a minute and then slows down. This album is full of tempo changes to keep things interesting. Soon after this, we hear the first atmospheric growl, giving a sense of space and atmosphere. Then we hear somewhat of a hardcore breakdown (at least to what my sense of an actual hardcore breakdown is!) Basically, the guitars get really chunky. After another atmospheric growl, we hear a guitar solo, which unlike the lyrics or most other death metal bands, isn’t really nihilistic in an atonal sense, but is rather thoughtful and has a feeling to it, instead of being just plain fast and brutal.
After this the song picks up it’s pace again, throwing little solos at you one after another. Then it slows down again, giving you an atmospheric growl. This is where things start to get interesting. The band introduces the melody which is actually the theme from the movie series “Phantasm.” I believe it’s played on a synthesizer or something, but it doesn’t sound artificial. It sounds eerie and has a latent evil quality to it. This is where the cover comes in handy. They have really captured the feeling of this part of the song in the cover; it’s atmospheric, eerie, spacious, evil, rich vibrant. Take a look at it when you are listening to this part of the song. The left hand path beckons. Apparently the left hand path is a metaphor for the way of the devil or something like that. A close look at the tombstone reveals the epitaph “REST IN FESTERING SLIME.” We are really just beginning going down the left hand path. We are about to find out what hidden pleasures lie beyond, over the bridge, through the strange blue mist and over the horizon.
While we are drawn in by the Phantasm melody, a guitar suddenly slams with a power chord, which gives a different, slower melody over the Phantasm melody with plenty of pick slides, creating an interesting harmony. Soon the guitar takes over and the synthesizer is taken out. This is where the epic solo starts. Once again, it’s not really atonal, but has a real feeling to it. It isn’t technically self indulgent either: it has slow parts and fast parts, but is never difficult just for the sake of showing off. When it’s over, the melody is continued by the guitars, which fade out, but only slightly, so there is actually a last note which gives you a sense of closure and completeness, rather than fizzling out like some 80s pop song by fading into oblivion.
Drowned – 9/10 – This song starts off with a fast jarring riff to snap you out of the trance the last track put you in. Then just as suddenly as it started, it stops for a moment. One guitar comes in with a fast, descending riff which is joined by the second at the end. They play a slower, more open, and not as percussive riff after this. At the end there is a nice pinch harmonic and of course the atmospheric growl. This sense of space created by the slow open riff and growl is contrasted by the suffocating fast riff played at the beginning. This is where you really start to settle into the record.
The song basically switches back and fourth between the fast and slow riff, making things interesting. Near the end it gets really slow and heavy with plenty of atmospheric growls, once again making a sense of space, followed by some good solos. After this the song picks up at full speed again. All of the elements of the song, the vocals, drums, guitars, are going at full speed but then suddenly stop to end the song. I guess you could say at this point the metaphorical drowning is over. After the fast thrashing parts of you trying desperately to swim, and the slow parts of you slowly suffocating to death, your brain has finally died.
Revel in Flesh – 10/10 – This song has such a great groove to it. The simple alternating drum beat is the basis of the song, but it departs from this so many times is various ways that it sort of entices the listener to want it to come back. This is probably one of the best use of alternating tempos and song structures I have ever heard.
The song starts off with some power chords, then the main riff, and then they both come together with the drums. Just try not head banging to this part or at least tapping your foot (I find myself doing the later more, not that it makes it any worse.) The slight stops, the palm muting of the guitars, and the use of the drums are thrown at you in a different way at the end of almost each time the riff is played. This great sense of groove continues into the chorus, followed by a usual brief pause, and then goes back to the verse, back in the same groove.
At the end of the second verse, it repeats the chorus, and then gets really interesting. There is a great atmospheric bridge, supported by the atmospheric growl, then some great guitar effects with an overdrive pedal, some whammy bar, and reverb. After this, we have another great hardcore breakdown for the second part of the bridge. It’s really chunky, then gives a power chord in place of two chunks of guitar, followed by some melodic riff work to round it out. This interestingly makes your head hang on the down swing, since there is an emphasis on the last part.
At the end of the second part of the bridge, Petrov growls REVEL IN THE FLESH which is a great way to kick off the awesome solo. Just try and not play air guitar to this one. At the end of a thoughtful and melodic, yet uncompromising solo, it once stops for a moment. Then it stops for another moment. They are just playing with you now. They know you want to hear them main riff again, since it has such a great groove. It finally does and Petrov reinforces it with a perfectly used grunt. Yet they still make it interesting. After you hear the riff three more times, they use more palm muting and a different drum pattern to make things interesting, and then it falls back into the groove. The groove continues to the end, giving some different drum patterns and then finally a scream by Petrov and then the song ends with a tremolo bar crushing the last note and then letting it back up again.
When Life Has Ceased – 9/10 – A drum fill starts off this song followed by a great sense of groove similar to the last song. Just try and not head bang to this one either. Once again, the atmospheric growl is used. The first line of the lyrics is “when life has ceased” which just seems delightfully morbid to me and is repeated at various points in the song. It then goes to the chorus which is moved on by some great grunts (“ye-uh”.) It goes back to the verse again, then the chorus. The bridge is up next which is slow and heavy. It gives you six notes, and then plays them again with the drums reinforcing them to make them more brutal, a technique really used best in track 8, “Morbid Devourment.”
The song then picks up a bit, then slows down even more, with the usual atmospheric growls. It then picks up the pace again, followed by some good solos. After the solos it continues on, seeming like it could end at any second and then finally does with a grunt that is echoed and gives it a good sense of finality.
Supposed to Rot – 8/10 – This song if pretty short (only about two minutes long) and has a pretty good sense of groove like the last two songs. It starts off with the drums then an interesting riff, then a little fill, followed by the main riff. The verse continues on followed by the chorus, which is introduced by Petrov growling “you’re supposed to rot.” Once again, Entombed show their slightly humorous take on death metal. He says it again to introduce a sort of non solo, which is just a trill note on the guitar. It then goes back to the verse, followed by a brief pause, then Petrov growling “your supposed to rot…yea”, which ends the song, sort of. The tremolo bars are used to modulate the pitch and show off the guitar tone at the end, much like the end of Revel in Flesh. I think they mainly used this to put the song over the two minute mark though.
This song doesn’t have as much to offer as the songs preceding it, but it’s certainly not annoying or boring by any means. It’s still has a good feel to it, and is kept short since the ideas behind it are relatively simple. It’s strategically put here because the next song is so damn good.
But Life Goes On – 10/10 – This is one of Entombed’s first songs. It’s really simple, but it’s a lot like Mutilation by Death, or Black Magic by Slayer, or Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath, in that it’s not the most complicated or even best song that they have written, but it really gives a great sense of the band’s sound in one song.
It’s one of those no nonsense songs that doesn’t start off with a drum intro and doesn’t have any time changes, but is great in a simple way. The riff is chaotic in a way and is basically a lots of notes play really fast in an atonal fashion reinforced by power chords at the end. For the most part, it follows the traditional verse/chorus song structure and doesn’t have many tempo changes.
Most of all though, the lyrics make this song. Fortunately, they are readily available on this site. “But why should I go to heaven /And who's to say I'll enter HELL”, with the two power chords emphasizing HELL! This is followed up by the first chorus, which doesn’t give you the best part of the song right away, but then goes back to the verse, and then the chorus again. This time at the end, the phrase “Continue to seek and you will see/That life is your worst eneMY!” It’s so cheesy, but there is such an eerie sense of calm in the moment between the two phrases, and such utter conviction in how it is said. Sure it makes no sense, but you can still get the idea of what he is saying. It can also be viewed as nihilistic since it makes no sense. Petrov also screams the last syllable, which I am having trouble replicating really, but is still fun to sing along with. This line can really be seen as the apex of the whole album, which is pretty much in the very middle of the middle song. If there was an Entombed shirt which said “Continue to seek and you will see…” on the front and “Life is your worse enemy!” on the back I would buy it.
After this, there is a great bridge, with the obligatory atmospheric growl, followed by the solos. At the end of the solos, the main riff is reintroduced and the verse starts again, it ends again with instead I’ll enter HELL” and then the chorus with “Life is your worst enemy” again. This time, the last syllable is sort of turned into an atmospheric growl, since it starts off soft and then gets louder. This is followed by a quick interlude with four ascending riffs and then a satisfying grunt to end the song.
Bitter Loss – 10/10 – This song starts off with some power chords, joined in by some melodic riffing, and then, like some many other death metal songs with were probably influenced by this, the obligatory bass mini solo, which is used perfectly. It is followed by a power chord, and then it gets into a great groove. I always get this song confused with Revel in Flesh since they both have the same great sense of groove.
There are plenty of small little halts in the tempo, just like Revel in Flesh. It does this through the first verse, then also in the chorus. It settles back into the second verse. Once again, the lyrics aren’t available and hard to decipher, but I know one of the lines in the second verse is “rip you all to shreds!” which is delivered particularly well.
After this it goes into the bridge, which has a few good grunts here and there. It then goes into three or four more different bridges which shows the complex winding song structures this album has. Over one of these, it gives a good solo, then lulls for a moment, then gives a really great melodic solo. During this solo, I find myself equally intrigued by both the solo and the riff that supports it so I find myself listening to on and then the other.
After this it settles back into the verse, after a brief lull, which basically brings it back home. At the end Petrov, keeps repeating what I think is “It’s just a momentary loss,” but of course I am probably wrong since the lyrics aren’t available. This is followed by some melodic riffing. At the end off each riff, it seems like the song is going to end, and then after three times it finally does with an extra power chord at the end.
Morbid Devourment – 9/10 – The song starts off slow and heavy with an atmospheric growl, then it suddenly stops completely for a second, then it comes back with the tempo increased by the slightest amount. Once again, you want to headbang to this since it has such a great sense of groove. It eventually slows down, then speeds up. Next it pauses and gives us nine notes played twice each in so it’s more of a tremolo type thing, which set us up for something interesting later. It then goes back to the main groove, and then back to the same nine notes again. Right after the nine notes are played the way it was the first time, two each, and then Petrov yells GO and the notes are now power chords played once each and supported by the drums so it gives you more of a sense of getting punched in the face. They go back to playing them tremolo a couple more times, with a good scream, and then suddenly slow it down, then pick up the pace slightly and add a blast beat. This is followed by the solos ending the song, then an interesting “bleh” which is echoed to give a sense of space and an ending to the song.
Abnormally Deceased – 8/10 – This song starts off slow and then picks up the pace. This song doesn’t have as much to offer really, but a nice “DIE!” keeps you engaged. It’s pretty much the typical verse/chorus/solo structure, and isn’t really bad, but it doesn’t have much going on that is special like the other songs.
The Truth Beyond – 9/10 – This song is somewhat epic, like the first one and is a good serves as a bookend like the first to keep things memorable. It starts off a little slow then has some nice dual pick sliding action and then picks up the pace. This song gives an intelligent critique of organized religion, and fortunately the lyrics are available, but it sort of shoots itself in the foot when it talks about dissecting Jesus Christ, which is fine by itself, but I was hoping that the whole song would keep the theme of being critical but instead mixes in some brain dead gore, which once again is fine on it’s own, but sort of undermines the song here.
Carnal Leftovers – 8/10 – Here we have the first bonus track. This song has some time changes and is pretty good, but doesn’t nothing really worth pointing out.
Premature Autopsy – 9/10 – ATTENTION CANNIBAL CORPSE FANS: This song has the riff that Cannibal Corpse ripped off for their number one hit “Hammer Smashed Face!” Listen to the two songs and compare the main riff. They are damn near identical. This album was released AT LEAST two years before Tomb of the Mutilated, so it’s obvious that Cannibal Corpse ripped this song off, like they rip everything off. It’s also interesting that it’s pretty much Cannibal Corpse’s best, most notorious song and for Entombed it’s just a bonus track. Yet at the same time Cannibal Corpse is more popular. Life’s not fail I guess.
I do appreciate how CC did give actually point out that the riff sounds like you were actually pounding someone’s face in, but Premature Autopsy is still a pretty cool name. Entombed also use a different vocal style here. The vocals sound more processed and it gives some nice variation from the same voice you have been hearing the whole album. It’s a pretty straightforward song with an interesting scream at around 2:05 that gives the album a great sense of finality. It continues on for a little more, with some good grunts and some good solos and finally ends with a lull and then a crushing power chord.
So there you have it. Looking at the other reviews, it seems that not enough people have this album, so more people should get it. It’s pretty much a buy or die situation.
The guitar sound on this album still ranks as one of the most eeeeevil tones ever put to tape! And it was done with a cheapo Peavey amplifier and a Boss Heavy Metal distortion box, recorded for the equivalent of $8,000 US dollars (!) they've said--proof positive that high-end gear is not always necessary to make classic sounds. And Entombed made one hell of a mighty ruckus on this classic debut with those unearthly guitars and an airtight rhythm section that sincerely raised Old Scratch himself.
With a vicious blending of mid-paced to thrashy death metal and UK '82 punk, this was unique and still is to this day. The riffs are catchy and well-structured, making for memorable somgs--amazing considering how young they were when they recorded this album--and they go right to the heart of the matter on every song. The crushing riff salvo in the title track's first five seconds alone after the harrowing intro noises is the aural version of a concrete boot to the head! From there, after that tune, they mix up metal riffs with punk tempos and vice versa, with the odd thrash and blast beats thrown in for good measure, and the resulting stew is a thick, murky, and altogether nutritious mmm-mmm good one! The keyboard section that leads to the rideout of that title track alone is so majestic and fits so perfectly, I want it played at my funeral! Evil occult/horror lyrics only add to the atmosphere of impending doom on every song. L.G. Petrov's ugly vocals will scare your parents into premature white hair, too, it bears mentioning.
What the hell are you waiting for? Quit reading this review and get this damn CD and see what made all the other Swedish bands decide they just had to sound like! Literally, this is true--every Swedish band (at least the Stockholm bands) worked with the Swedish Scott Burns, Tomas Skogsberg--why do you think most of 'em from that era sound alike?