Fans of the original wave of Swedish death metal are in for a treat, from Entrails‘s latest release, Obliteration. As the band says, it’s ten tracks of “death metal and nothing else.” Entrails formed around the same time that bands like Entombed and Grave were just beginning to garner some momentum and media attention with their Left Hand Path and Into The Grave major label debuts, respectively. Despite being recorded in 2014 for Metal Blade Records, Obliteration offers a genuine taste of what has past and yet remains timeless. Swedish death metal aficionados will hear a lot of that time period coiled into these venomous tunes. The band doesn’t remain mired in the past, opting to update their sound and bring their listeners into the present at times.
Obliteration‘s recording has some updated components (such as vocals both forward in the mix and fairly intelligible, plus sparing use of melody) but for the most part, this is what melted extreme metal fans’ faces off in the late ’80s through early ’90s. Subgenre benchmarks played towards include the Sunlight Studios-esque buzzsaw guitar distortion, mid tempo songs, relatively uncomplicated songs, and gritty to guttural, atonal vocals. Rather simple riffs and a sparse, fairly unlayered songwriting style both permeate and compliment the disc. The dual guitar attack allows each to explore a different tonal subset (only one player has the Skogsberg/Sunlight buzzsaw effect; the other sticks with standard issue heavy distortion), adding depth to the overall presentation.
The modern recording techniques allow for a little bit less ear fatigue for those trying to pick out elements of the songs. Tracks are clearer and more defined. While combining a Walkman, cassette tape, and high listening volume with younger ears sure was fun, there were still occasions where the tape hiss was slightly fatiguing. Those flashes were where you thought “I wish I could turn this up a little louder.” Not so with this disc – there are no buzzy or ‘missing’ moments. The drum sound is especially clear on Obliteration, so for fans who are looking for the old-school guitars and vibe, coupled with a contemporary drum sound, this will do it. The only bone(storm) to pick with this disc is that the bass guitar could be a bit more prominent. It isn’t inaudible, just not as lifted through the mix as it could be.
“Beyond The Flesh” has an especially modern sounding passage, with the near-constant double-bass drum line, the slightly more complex or ‘produced’ overlays, and use of melody. It does make up for that transgression with a five-note descent that will rip your eyeballs out. “Obliteration” takes no prisoners from the outset, with a searing pick slide intro to raze the roof. “Skulls” incorporates early thrash metal as well as the usual cudgel of death. Brief intro samples mark several songs: a creepy church bell for “No Cross Left Unturned”, a thunderstorm for “Skulls”, and some odd and distant voices for “Midnight Coffin”. Many of these songs have thrashy, crushing, genuinely mean and biting mid-tempo breakdowns. The dissonant, disorienting coda in “Reanimation Of The Dead” serves as a fitting end to the disc.
Channeling everything from anger to rage to despair, Entrails’s Obliteration makes no attempt to be anything other then a subgenre elevator, accomplishing this with ease. Creepy dichromatic cover artwork features a city ablaze; a fiery inferno with a malevolent spirit reaching for those perishing in the flames. This is a mammoth listen. Produced and engineered (mixed / mastered) by Dan Swano, the band got what they bargained for: a monstrously heavy, ten tune throat slitter.
No Cross Left Unturned
Epitome Of Death
Beyond The Flesh
Abyss Of Corpses
Reanimation Of The Dead
Jimmy Lundqvist – Guitars
Pontus “Penki” Samuelsson – Guitars
Jocke Svensson – Bass Guitar and Vocals
Adde Mitroulis – Drums