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Left Hand Path

Entombed - Left Hand Path ©1990 Earache
1. Left Hand Path
2. Drowned
3. Revel in Flesh
4. When Life Has Ceased
5. Supposed To Rot
6. But Life Goes On
7. Bitter Loss
8. Morbid Devourment
9. Abnormally Deceased
10. The Truth Beyond
11. Carnal Leftovers
12. Premature Autopsy

When Entombed came roaring out of Sweden in 1990, their departure from the prevailing thrash and speed metal world helped kickstart a burgeoning death metal scene and helped create a template for many other bands who would follow in their wake. Left Hand Path, their obviously well known debut, caught the attention of many ears at the time and is still regarded as a death metal classic. The album, enthusiastically recorded by youthful Swedes, does (at least to me) sound a tad dated a couple decades later, but the timelessness for most can't be denied.

Unlike a lot of death metal that got caught up in whirling time signature changes, technicality and belched vocals, Left Hand Path retains a lot fluidity in the songs. The guitars are given an ugly blur that still managed to somehow avoid sounding muddy while vocalist L.G. Petrov offered up a solid roar that didn't sound like a car's transmission giving its last gasp of usefulness. The album's songs tend to bleed together as the songwriting approach didn't allow for a massive amount of dynamics or differing approaches to the band's overall sound. Naturally, one can point out that these songs were written by some young kids just getting their feet under them in the metal world.

Left Hand Path, especially heard in retrospect, does sound like a template for later bands. It's rather obvious bands like, say, Edge of Sanity heard this album, instantly became super stoked on the sound they heard, and rushed to their practice spaces to come up with their own ugly death metal. So as a result, Left Hand Path is indeed a classic. For my ears, this release does sound a bit dated and lacks overall variety to keep me interested for the full duration, though it does still command respect for what it was at the time. Fans who are exploring death metal and its emergence in places such as Scandinavia are of course required to find this album. It may not be the greatest death metal album of all time, but it occupies a place of importance due to its influence.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2013

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Entombed - Clandestine ©1992 Earache
1. Living Dead
2. Sinners Bleed
3. Evilyn
4. Blessed Be
5. Stranger Aeons
6. Chaos Breed
7. Crawl
8. Severe Burns
9. Through The Collonades

Now here's a mean slab for those unfortunate (or is the word 'fortunate'?) souls who've never encountered effectively written and well-executed Swedish death metal. While Clandestine remains pristinely brutal throughout its pummeling duration, there's always a slight hint of melody and song craft present, genuine musicianship shining through even in those particularly ugly little sections littering the album. Clandestine is imbued with an amazing degree of catchiness, given its prized position within the metal underground. Fast chords (muted and chugging varieties) and ever-shifting percussion keeps the energy flowing, while bluesy solos and intricate, apocalyptic leads keep the listener surprised and attentive at ever turn. Songs are simply bursting with energy and aggression, at once distorted noise and kick-ass hookery. Vocals are shouted in an amply gruff voice, but we're also treated to absolutely absurd (but entirely fun) screams-o-agony and the occasional espousal of rhetoric. Apocalyptic doom tempos are present in abundance, adding a wonderful horror movie (I'm talking about the faux religious ones from the seventies) atmosphere, and who can resist that classic Swedish groove that Entombed more than mastered? As much as I would like to sit here and pretend that Clandestine is great, influential art of untold ramifications for rock music, I simply can't without rolling on the floor guffawing at my utter bullshittery. The album is fun beyond measure and about as self-serious as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with about the equivalent amount of "serious" content. It is, along with the profoundly influential Like an Everflowing Stream (Dismember) and Dark Recollections (Carnage), a sick slab of exploding metal fury in the classic Swedish school. Or something along those lines.

Review by James Slone

Review date: 04/2001

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