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This, for my money, was the last great album Entombed released before they slid into a morass of garage punk wannabe nonsense. This is still recognizably METAL, through and through. That trademark grating guitar roar still will annihilate your face with its uber-heavy sandpaper edges and L.G. Petrov's triumphant return to the band was no joke, as he bellows his way through this album with conviction. Yes, they tuned up to C# instead of down to B as per usual, yes, no blast beats...but it still is METAL as FUCK.
Tomas Skogsberg outdid himself on this album with his exceptional production, as it is crisp and clear and still very full, very dense. Their punk influence was still coexisting with the metal, and they slowed it down to deadly effect on several songs--most notably "Demon" and "Full of Hell", two of my fave tunes on this album--and damn, it works and works well. And L.G. is da man to express the barbed and angry lyrical sentiments present, lyrics condemning humanity's idiocy, expressing interestingly abstract occult themes here and there, roaring away with spit flying all over the mic. The cast-iron-piped bellow he lets out in the beginning of "Demon" is especially convincing!
Nicke Andersson was always a good, precise drummer before he became Nicky Royale and jumped on the garage punk bandwagon, and Lars Rosenburg's bass growls away underneath that nightmarish guitar assault like a caged tiger. You can actually hear him well in the mix, and he does not disappoint with his rock-solid performance. Check out "Blood Song" for a good example of his gritty tone in the breakdown in the middle.
Standouts...hoo boy, too many good tunes on this one! "Eyemaster" shreds you awake right away with its furious slabs of riffing, "Contempt" expresses just that for humanity ("Humanity is the biggest cancer ever to be seen!"), "Demon" starts slow and builds into a powerhouse of riffdom with its frenzied soloing at the end, "Full of Hell" settles into more of a slow grungey groove thang but not in the cheesey funk sense--I'd call it more deliberate than anything else, and the title track is just plain menacing, featuring the lowest-tuned guitars on the album (back to B)--that opening riff makes me want to start busting heads! "Blood Song" is the only thing close to a duffer, as the lyrics are pretty silly, but the music makes up for that with its sinister verse riffing and its powerful bridge, solo section, and breakdown.
This was a breakthrough for Entombed, as it showed a deepening of their musicianship and a growth not seen in a band as young as they were at this time ten years ago. And screw all the naysayers who insist that they sold out after "Left Hand Path"--I wouldn't say they sold out after this one, but they weakened and diluted their approach to an unpalatable level for my taste. Too much time listening to punk and such instead of just cranking out the metal, I think. Whatever the case, this is a most worthy CD, most worthy of adding to the collection.