Thursday, 8 March 2012

ENTOMBED - Left Hand Path (1990)

01  Left Hand Path
02  Drowned
03  Revel In Flesh
04  When Life Has Ceased
05  Wasteland Of Terror
06  Suppose To Rot
07  But Life Goes On
08  Morbid Devourment
09  Abnormally Deceased
10  The Truth Beyond
11  Carnal Leftovers
12  Premature Autopsy

The debut album from Entombed was quite a hit in the metal world when it was unleashed back in 1990. The Stockholm based band from Sweden had created a new sound for the country by mixing their old punk/hardcore roots with the brutal death metal of Morbid Angel. It wasn´t just in Sweden that the new musical direction was appreciated and it was soon named the 'Stockholm sound' and known all over the world. In general Swedish bands are more melodic than others and this is also the case with Entombed. Even though they play very fast and brutal death metal the music is still a lot more melodic and dynamic than many of the American bands, therefore also more entertaining and not too repetitive. Compared to the situation of today this album is not extraordinary since there are so many new bands who have adopted this sound. What separates this first release from Entombed from their later works is that they were even this early in their career very talented and technically skilled musicians who made the very best out of the possibilities given by the musical genre. The "death n' roll" sub-genre they seemed to create and play their trade with, though still good, isn't really on par with their first record. I wouldn´t go as far as saying that this is one of the best albums ever made but Entombed were one of the first extreme Swedish death metal bands of high quality and thus this is part of metal history. Highlights include "Drowned", "But Life Goes On", "Supposed To Rot" and the eerily epic title track. The album was produced and engineered by Tomas Skogsberg at the famous Sunlight Studio in Stockholm, Sweden, in December of 1989.

Left Hand Path is an unstoppable when it comes to overall sound. It has two elements, guitar tone and riffing style aided by the barks of vocalist LG Petrov. The tone is the famed “Sunlight sound”, using the Boss HM-2 pedal with all knobs turned up. The riffing style is one of metal’s most recognizable, full of sharp angles and evil trills. (It has a bit of Slayer in it.) Together these elements coalesce into “the Entombed sound”. It oozes through the album like hot lava. The Entombed sound is so powerful that it has spawned not one, but two revivals. The first is the so-called New Wave of Old School Death Metal, in which bands like Fatalist and Demonical carry on Entombed’s torch. The second is more unlikely. Hardcore bands like Black Breath, Nails, Early Graves, and Trap Them have appropriated the Entombed sound. Whether they do anything new with it is up for debate. But they are keeping its energy alive after Entombed abandoned it long ago. Left Hand Path is still an essential addition to any DM collection, ranking alongside the best offerings from the likes of Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation and of course Death...

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