Thursday, 5 April 2012

ENTOMBED - Clandestine (1991)

01  Living Dead
02  Sinners Bleed
03  Evilyn
04  Blessed Be
05  Stranger Aeons
06  Chaos Breed
07  Crawl
08  Severe Burns
09  Through the Collonades

Clandestine is the second album by Scandinavian death metal band Entombed, released on November 12th 1991. Clandestine offered something of a clean slate for Entombed as they sought to record a follow up to their stunning debut, with drummer Nicke Andersson stepping in capably to replace vocalist LG Petrov who would return for the bands next release. This album has asserted itself as an important and influential release in its own right, from a time when Death Metal was staring to bed down and establish its place amongst the multitude of genres battling for the discerning listener’s attention.

Entombed wastes no time in commencing the punishment - the opening track, "Living Dead," defies any claims of Swedes lacking the balls of their American counterparts, by striking nonbelievers down with an opening riff that is easily as heavy or heavier than anything done in the same era by Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide or any other big-name American death metal act of the era. Yet it is not without a high level of melodicism and catchiness. The guitar work throughout this album is ingenious and difficult to emulate, without resorting to "technical" clichés of bizarre manipulation of time signatures (not that there aren't bands which did this well). It's also very subtle - one would be very hard-pressed to pick up on all the nuances of Alex Hellid and Uffe Cederlund's twin assault upon first or second listen. This isn't to say that the melodies are buried (they're actually quite prominent and memorable), but some of the techniques used here are nothing short of intriguing. The production of Clandestine - always a crucial aspect of music this overpowering, is a notch or two better than that of Left Hand Path. Tomas Skogsberg produced both albums, as he did all of Entombed's early recordings, but he got a more cutting sound this go-round, with the guitars particularly standing out, along with the multi-tracked vocals.

Clandestine might be a better album than Left Hand Path, some fans favor it, if not as historically significant nor as raw-sounding as that monumental debut. After "Clandestine" Entombed's career took a downward slide into the murky world of "Death n' Roll", almost completely deserting their death metal roots. There may be some hope in the future though, as Entombed seem to have rediscovered the "Left Hand Path"..…

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