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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.