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OK, first thing you have to do when you listen to this album for the first time is to decide whether you want to listen to “typical” Entombed material or not. If you know that Entombed released some damn good old school Swedish death metal material (“Left Hand Path”, “Clandestine”) and pioneered the death’n’roll movement with pretty good quality (“Wolverine Blues”, “Uprising”, “Inferno”), you might pick this one up and expect something in between. Well, if you do, you’ll be completely wrong. “Same Difference” is an album which carries the name Entombed, but is absolutely far off any sort of death metal sound. This is an album that you do not keep alongside other Entombed albums, because this is a groove’n’roll metal album. If you listen to it expecting death metal related stuff, you’ll be bitterly disappointed. If, on the other hand, you approach this album for what it really is, a groove’n’roll metal piece, then you’ll see it isn’t that bad of an effort.
Why is it groove’n’roll? Well, because there is that rock and roll feel throughout the entire album, provided by the paced drums, the pummeling repetitive guitars and the swingy mood they convey. Apart from that, there is that heavy down-tuned feel portrayed by the atmosphere created around every single track, one that will resemble something in the vein of a slowed down The Haunted from the “The Dead Eye” era (the songs “Clauses” and “Kick in the Head” being fit examples), or even a spaced out Pantera from their mid 1990’s works (in songs like “Same Difference” or “High Waters”). You will eventually find yourself nodding confidently to these tunes, because they invade your brain and linger inside addictively.
The oddest element in this album, and the one that reminds you that the band playing is actually Entombed, is L-G’s voice. He does what he does best, screaming his lungs out in a strong fluent shout, eventually using a clean discursive speech tone like in “Kick in the Head” or “Smart Aleck”. The problem is that a good number of songs have a paced down tone and slow tempo which render quite unfit L-G’s otherwise excellent vocals – it’s as if he were doing the right thing, but the instruments were not getting where he wants them to get.
The riffs are catchy and groovy throughout, even though there are some songs in which the choruses and bridges eclipse the riffs. The solos are short lived and tend to flow naturally into the progress of the rhythmic sections, which turns out to be a dynamic factor is some songs, like “What you need”. The bass is very active and stands out quite often, not just following the guitars, helping to envelope the whole atmosphere in a groovy and heavy enough spirit – never running, always methodic and encompassed. The drums are pure groove, no double bass stand out, no high speed anywhere; instead, lots of blasts and mid or slow tempo sections. They don’t bring anything new to the album, but fit perfectly the rest of the instruments.
The lyrics are quite plain. The main focus is on personal struggles and subjective themes, which, again, fits the groove mood of the album.
All in all, this is a fun album to listen to if you want something heavy enough to help you cope with some raw energy within, but within certain controlled range of rage and fury. “Same Difference” is an album to listen to on the go, alongside The Haunted, Pantera, The Defaced or Corporation 187.
With 'Same Difference', the Swedish death metal legends Entombed managed to surprise an old fan once again. Drummer Nicke Andersson left the band in 1997 to form a rock group The Hellacopters. I always thought he had pushed Entombed towards more rocking output after 1991's 'Clandestine', and previous album 'To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth' (1997) being the clearest death 'n' roll effort from the band, but... Mr. Andersson was out, but 'Same Difference' was something else than death metal. The change of the band name would have been in order, believe me.
'Addiction King' sounds like English punk, played dejectedly as one would expect from Entombed. The storm warning had been given... 'The Supreme Good' is a relaxed piece reminding me of Helmet, especially their 'Betty' era (1994). A linefrom the lyrics: "I'm the tickle of butterflies that temptation brings". "Butterflies" plus Entombed?! Yep, here it is. 'Clauses' continues in North American vein with its slide guitars and shit. 'Kick in the Head' sounds, without any surprise anymore, American alternative rock. Guitarist Uffe Cederlund is wearing a Amphetamine Reptile Records t-shirt on one of the photos, so maybe the influence is somewhere there. Anyways, the title track is pretty stoner rock-ish affair. The rest of the album continues in the similar style as these mentioned songs.
L-G Petrov's voice fits fucking well with this kind of stuff, too, but he does not sound the usual ugly L-G, mind you. No growling to be hear, but a bit more human voice. Otherwise, the album sounds rawish, which fits well here, and still the instruments are very well balanced.
I have to admit, that Entombed knew how to pen this kind of pieces, too, and who knows, maybe I'd praised this album like hell if it wasn't by Entombed. I might have been a happy bastard if this was a Helmet recording after 'Betty' back then... But, this just isn't true Entombed! Besides, the songs aren't anything too good or special. 'Addiction King', 'The Supreme Good' and the title track are the sole songs I really like to listen from this platter.
(originally writen for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2008)
The cover for the previous Entombed might have been a little unusual, but at the least it was visually appealing enough to intrigue you as to the album's contents. The cover for Same Difference is the same lackadaisical photography I might expect from some 90s alt rock or alt metal band like Clutch or Paw, but from fucking Entombed? But this is really only the first of many complaints for what is easily the most loathsome direction the band would take in their career, the sodden pits of quality which don't even function properly in their intended context: a full on heavy blues rock & roll album with a dash of punk and only the faintest trace of the mighty Swedes that once were.
Perhaps Clutch or Paw are good references, because this is the same type of blues/alt metal that those bands spun off into (though Clutch did a damn fine job of it, and the existence of an album like Elephant Riders only renders this one that much more irrelevant). I'm also reminded of how Corrosion of Conformity went from their excellent spastic crossover roots to a tamer thrash metal, and then to their gelded, polished stoner rock. While I'm no natural enemy towards change, I would ask you, should this album ever darken your day by crossing your path, to do a point by point comparison with Left Hand Path. Hear what Entombed had been, and then check out what Entombed had become. It is truly fucking sad. All that being said, had Same Difference possessed a catchy song or three, hell, even a catchy pop song, there might be something to forgive. But this the worst kind of experiment...the antithesis of 'progression', because it makes even the bland To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth seem mildly exciting by comparison.
"Addiction King" opens with a guitar melody that feeds off the pummeling bass below, and then a rolling chug rhythm and driving punk sequence which sadly represents the best the album will have to offer. Yes, Same Difference blows its wad within the first 3 minutes, with a track on the level of the previous album, decent but not enough so that it beckons a replay. Still, it almost gives an impression that this album might be an improvement over the prior, until "The Supreme Good" rolls across like some lost jam session between Soundgarden and the Snapcase vocalist, straight through your hearing pipes into the bargain bin. "Clauses" is a crashing heavy metal blues, and though the chorus attempts to build power, it simply lapses back into the bluesy rhythm with ringing melody which you've already grown tired of. "Kick in the Head" is more bouncy, forgettable alt rock, and for the title track they break out another of their Zeppelin/Hendrix inspired groove rhythms with a very "Albatross" verse riff and vocals (again, I refer you to Corrosion of Conformity who performed a similar castration to their career).
Surely, there is a diamond in the rough somewhere within the bowels of this album! It's not "Close But Nowhere Near", another Zeppelin groove with a semi-memorable chorus. "What You Need" slams pretty hard, like a chugging post hardcore that breaks into a filthy punk rock bridge rhythm, and it might just rival "Addiction King" for the best song on the album, due to big bass chord anchors. "High Waters" is reasonably atmospheric, with the lurching swamp bass, but offers no punchline, and "20/20" also wants hard to be a winner, but aside from the catchy notes played alongside the chorus, and the big bass strikes during the breakdown, it's just not that good.
By this point, at least the band are writing songs that don't put you immediately to sleep; they simply do not capitalize on their potential strengths. "The Day, The Earth" is fairly fluent as it stalks through the verse, with a big bass line grooving through, but all you've got to look forward to is a repetition of this same rhythm, with a chug thrown in for pacing. "Smart Aleck" and "Jack Worm" are dirty and aggressive, and both might have fit in with To Ride, To Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth, with the latter the more promising of the two, and the noisy, thumping rocker "Wolf Tickets" elongates its muddy blues into a mannerism that might have Monster Magnet fans' hands in their pants, but again, 30-60 seconds into the track, and you've heard al you need, with no important escalation or surprise awaiting you.
Same Difference reeks, but if I have to give it some credit, it at least tries to save face later on. The entire latter half of the album seems more strongly crafted than the first, but not strong enough to pitch the remaining salt water from the hull, to save the sailors from drowning. There is enough dark and brooding to subtly identify it with the Entombed of the past two albums, but it feels like the sort of 'filler' album which might have been better faced with a rejection notice. Still, the Swedes had enough punch and pull to do whatever amused them by this point, and never a band to recoil at change, this cartload of poo is now forever besmeared across their discography. Like a bad hangover, it lingers on, crushing at your patience. My advice would be to listen to the tracks in reverse, at least that way you'll only be bored to tears by the time you shut it off, and not livid with anger and confusion.
Highlights: knowing where to turn when you next run dry of firewood.
This album marks the beginning of a new era for Entombed, one of the great originators of death metal as we know it. There is not much death metal about this album though, but rather an insight into a band that is trying to figure out what to do after losing one of its founders and main songwriters, in this case drummerboy Nicke Andersson, who decided to focus his efforts on his more commercialy successful rock n´ roll outfit The Hellacopters. His replacement was as you know Peter Stjärnvind, known from bands like Merciless and Face Down, a man who would later help steer Entombed back into the heavier branch of metal once again, but that is a different story. "Same Difference" instead displays the band in their most unheavy moment ever, something that could be sensed by simply looking at the cute dog on the cover, and is confirmed by the songs themselves. Entombed, at the time of the album´s release, recieved a lot of criticism from a rather large portion of the fans for mellowing as well as selling out, but have they really? Does the lack of heaviness (note, though, that this isn´t pop music, it is still heavy by "normal" musical standards) make for a bad album? I think not.
To begin with, this record clearly shows that the bands´ songwriting abilities did not go out the kitchen door together with Nicke, since there are some truly great tunes on this disc. The album is also great productionwise, with a more crisp and clean vibe than anything ever before heard by this band. It wouldn´t, of course, fit on records like "Left Hand Path" or in fact any of their other efforts, but manages to add significantly to the feel of "Same Difference". L-Gs voice isn´t as low-pitched as it usually is, but works great in songs like "Addiction King" and the title track. The songs are all rather slow and sometimes groovy, with the exception of "What You Need", a moderately fast number which add diversity to the record. This isn´t the way Entombed should sound, but as a one-off experiment, it stands as a nice, different album for the band, something to relax to when you are temporarily fed up with their otherwise intense music and just want to relax on the sofa. The feeling of this album makes it something you maybe want to listen to on a hungover sunday, instead of at a booze party two hours before you hit the town, which is where I preferably listen to other Entombed material. The only thing from keeping this a really solid effort are a couple of unnecessary filler tracks, but they´re not particularly bad either, just somewhat uninspired.