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At first glance, many people will think that Entrails is a "caveman" death metal band. The album cover is gory and old school as fuck, and a glimpse at the lyrics will showcase, quite literally some of the stupidest and most ridiculous shit you are gonna see all year in this genre (the chorus of the song "Entrails" is "Entrails - a tasty entrail - flesh and blood - dinner for two"), but this image really does not warrant the music within. While yes, the album is loaded with psychotic riffs and guttural death growls, it is also filled with melody and passion that many people will overlook.
"Triumph of the Sinners" is a 7-minute opus that contains some very unique and interesting guitar interplay, whereas "Voices" combines the band's gritty, dirty aesthetic with an Iron Maiden-influenced lead riff which creates something you would hear in a song by At the Gates, Dismember, or many of the modern American "metalcore" bands. However, even when doing these more melodic moments, the music is still very bottom heavy and equally as powerful as the brutal moments. A good comparison would be Dismember on the album "The God that Never Was". The Dismember influence is very notable on this album, with lots of melodic leads and such being apparent in the music, but in my opinion Entrails are a very unique band with their own sound and take on this style (they formed in 1990 anyway). This is not an album that will be revolutionary or change anyone's mind about the legitimacy of the death metal scene in 2013 (but if you are one of those douchebags who criticizes old school bands for being "unoriginal" and also criticizes modern bands for being trendy, then you are a hopeless poser and your opinion is meaningless), but people who are true fans of this style will enjoy listening to it.
It cannot be a mistake. If I see an album with statement in the booklet such as "in the shape of Entrails, this pure old school Swedish death metal will tear your soul apart", then it means I have to check it out, because more likely it's going to crush also my skull. And "Tales From the Morgue" fuckin did it perfectly. Whether you like such playing or not, one thing is certain – here’s another quality death metal band from Sweden and the fans of this scene will definitely have to check this LP out. Besides, just take a look at that cheesy front cover – an autopsy made by a zombie? It’s almost as tasteless as the cover of Centinex’s “Subconscious Lobotomy”, but the maniacs of horror gore splatter movies will definitely love it hehe! Anyway, Entrails is not so newcoming band, as some of you might think. OK, their name is pretty much new to the scene, but they’ve been existing already back in the glorious days of the early 90’s and supposedly almost entire material from "Tales From the Morgue" has been written back then, only now it has been exhumed and refreshed (read: rearranged, reworked and re-recorded). So, that’s yet another reason why I was sure that Entrails will really tear my soul apart.
The albums starts with an intro, which might have easily been taken from some old gore horror movies, like "Helloween" or "Friday the 13", it's got absolutely similar, creepy atmosphere. And then the first riffs start and from the opening second I've been possessed by Entrails. This is yet another fantastic piece of traditional Swedish death metal. I know that some of you may vomit already when hearing this, but I don't give a flying fuck about it. I've been a fan for 20 years and still haven't got enough of that kind of playing and definitely Entrails belongs to the best bands, which resurrect that death metal slaughter. Just listen to their sound; it's simply classic, and with that buzzy guitars and roaring growlings it brings only the legendary albums to my mind and I want to scream in joy. I may not like the drums sound in 100%, but that’s just a detail, which definitely doesn’t disturb me massacring the Entrails! Honestly, there’s not even a second on “Tales From the Morgue”, which I wouldn’t enjoy. This is excellent, very constant LP, but of course I’ve got some favourite songs. They’re: "Blood Red" with that great Dismember-esque riffing, "Voices", which reminds me Evocation a lot, then "Entrails"… And "Euthanasia", which is an epic in my opinion, with fantastic opening theme. "The Curse of Death" also starts with amazing, epic melody and then it smoothly switches into real headbanger, similar to some of the Bloodbath riffing... And I love also that slow part in the middle of that song, with the sample from "The Exorcist" movie. That sounds just fuckin amazing. And finally there's "The Morgue", which probably is the fastest and most aggressive song from the entire album. But as I already said, there's no single part of "Tales From the Morgue", which I wouldn't enjoy. The whole album is perfectly written and arranged, equally catchy and brutal, melodic and furious, just as I like it.
Any complains? No, I don’t think so. I’m not going to say that Entrails rips off the old riffs – I would never accuse them for doing that – but "Tales From the Morgue" sounds like someone have picked up all the best parts from my favourite Swedish albums and glued them together. But as I said, they do so without any plagiarism, I guess it’s just more of a tribute – which I remind you also, was mostly written 20 years ago, so can there any more original death metal than this one?! To conclude then, "Tales From the Morgue" is just excellent LP (how many times do I have to repeat that?) and if you haven’t checked it yet, do so immediately, otherwise you will end up on that autopsy table from the front cover, cut and eaten by some gruesome living dead.
Standout tracks: "Blood Red", Voices", "Entrails", "Euthanasia", "The Curse of Death", “The Morgue”
I wasn’t overwhelmed by my first encounter with Entrails, the Reborn demo from ‘09. I heard the potential, but the sound issue and programmed drums ruined what chance it had to actually make an impact. That was the first released material since the band’s original formation back in 1990, and despite some recording sessions nothing was released and the act disbanded in 1998. But since the reformation (not entirely sure when that actually happened) the band’s definitely been going strong with the release of two demos, and now a debut fullength.
One of the first things I notice is that the sound’s definitely improved a lot, and the productions sounds quite typical for nowadays active old death metal bands. Luckily the drum machine’s gone, and session drumming was done by Fredrik Widigs, known for his blasting in acts like Soils of Fate, Vomitous, MP5K and Repulsive Dissection. But since Entrails is an actual old school death metal band you won’t hear any of his typical ultra-blasting here, but he actually keeps quite true to the original recipe.
Musically anyone will find similarities to Dismember, Nihilist and Entombed, which feel like the most commonly mentioned acts when discussing Swedish old school death metal. And well, this is just that; old school death metal, Swedish style, and the fact that the band has roots from back in the days make the traces of the early days blatantly obvious. But I think Entrails brings slightly more melody than ordinary, in the ways of guitar leads. Tales from the morgue is jam-packed with sleek and slick leads. Right from the get go we get thrown into one of the greatest and catchiest melodies in death metal history with Blood red, just fast-forward to 1:16 and you’ll know what I mean.
Voices isn’t really my cup of tea, simply for the slower tempo and too reminiscent feel of Dismember (I tell ya, I’ve never been as sold on them as everyone else). But the short blasting moment and the general fast-paced tempo of Entrails is enough to make me forget all about it. The morgue is the only other track to carry blast beats, and I can’t help but love it. And to showcase exactly what riff-machine Entrails is, you’ll find yet another wicked guitar lead and yet another wicked melody in the very same track. But I still have to say the closer The curse of death wins the battle of spookiest lead – the first minute is just unsurpassed.
The riffing really is top-notch from start to finish, and the guitar sound is chunky and sharp, with a buzzing undertone that brings a very heavy touch to the music. Mixing and mastering was handled by Dan Swanö, and he’s definitely done one hell of a job here as the sound is absolutely awesome all-around. And the vocals of Birdflesh’s own Jocke are top-notch as well. Truth be told this is undoubtedly one of the best Swedish old school death metal album’s to be released in ages, right up there with Interment’s latest. Fans of said band, alongside God Macabre, Bloodbath, the aforementioned Dismember and even Revolting should do themselves a favor and look up Entrails. I’m sold.
Originally written for My Last Chapter