ENTOMBED A.D. – Back to the Front
Once upon a time in Sweden, there was a band called Entombed. Sometime in the last few years, it fell apart and all the King’s horses and all the King’s men could not put it back together again. Or tried to at least. What they did manage to do is get L-G Petrov to front Entombed A.D., basically a band formed from former/current touring members. Back To The Front picks up where Entombed left off, or at least where Entombed fans feel they left off. The loss of Alex Hellid is not as pronounced as one would have thought, with Nico Elgstrand doing an outstanding job on the guitars.
Back To The Front opens with ‘Kill To Live’, and L-G Petrov’s vocals stand out as the highlight of the song. Death metal at its finest. Everyone plays their part to perfection and the song is definitely the most suitable to kickstart the album. ‘Bedlam Attack’ has a weird, yet catchy infusion of thrash and death and the band just rides into ‘Pandemic Rage’ where everything is a guitar frenzy, including an extremely marvellous guitar solo. L-G Petrov, however, seems to have adopted a more sustained vocal style and hence the punch that should be delivered in this album is found lacking at times. ‘Second to None’ has a hardcore driven heart to it and is a perfect example of how hardcore propelled the need for faster, more extreme forms of music. The song is a perfect blend of Petrov’s barks and pacey guitar transitions. ‘Bait And Bleed’ then bridges the hardcore Entombed A.D on this album with the sludgey Entombed A.D of ‘Eternal Woe’. ‘Waiting for Death’ is a song written to open up the pit at a gig and maintains a fast tempo almost throughout, slowing it down most likely to give you a break between the moshing. ‘Eternal Woe’, a personal favourite track, is melodic, sludgey, doomy and simply out of this planet. Petrov, intentionally or otherwise, makes it even creepier than it probably should be. ‘Digitus Medius’ is dark and doomy, a perfect follow up song to ‘Eternal Woe’. ‘The Vulture And The Traitor’ is a risky venture and ups the tempo, which is what this album is all about. Speedy riffs, followed by sludge and then back to speedy riffs again. ‘The Underminer’ is proof of such transitions. Lovely guitar riffs nestled in out and out thrash and blast beats. ‘Soldier Of No Fortune’ is a fine, powerful ending to the album. Everything blends in and leaves one wanting for more.
Back To The Front is lacking on some fronts. Petrov could have done so much more and yet, what he delivers is just about enough to keep everyone hooked. The variations in the musical styles from song to song is not new, but one would’ve hoped for a more definitive concept. Extreme, it isn’t. Mellowed, most certainly. However, such nuances are what make this record an audacious and thrilling release. Hardly as impressive or mind blowing as Surgical Steel, Back To The Front delivers sufficiently to make the average death metal fan happy that (s)he still gets to hear Entombed (A.D.). Elated would probably be pushing it. Or maybe not. Confusing, isn’t it?
“Now you’re completely insane”.