Sunday Old School: Entombed
Going through the Sunday Old School archives, it’s notable that most of the death metal we’ve covered tends to focus on American bands such as Obituary, Morbid Angel and Deicide, but the country that arguably has one of the most respected death metal scenes in the world, is the northern European country of Sweden, and one of their most notable contributions was Entombed. Entombed began life from the ashes of another acclaimed extreme metal group, Nihilist, who formed in the Swedish capital city of Stockholm in 1987 and quickly established themselves as one of the most important names in the then burgeoning death metal in Sweden. After bassist Johnny Hedlund left to form, Unleashed, the rest of the band carried on as Entombed and soon signed a deal with Earache Records, who had recently released such seminal works from Napalm Death, Carcass and Godflesh, through which they released their debut album, "Left Hand Path" in the spring of 1990.
The album was an instant favourite among the extreme metal crowd, and has gone on to be described as the blueprint for Swedish death metal, thanks primarily to the guitar tone used and is now regarded as one of the best death metal records in history. This tone was used once more on their sophomore album, "Clandestine," which again received rave reviews from the metal media and established the group as one of the most exciting, in a genre that was at the top of it’s game. "Clandestine" was also seen as more accessible than "Left Hand Path," and as a further step towards the unique Swedish take on death metal.
Despite receiving acclaim for their first two albums, Entombed took the surprising step of changing their sound somewhat, incorporating a more rock and roll vibe into their death metal roots, to create a genre known as "death and roll." This change in direction resulted in the 1993 album, "Wolverine Blues," which caused a rift between the band and Earache after the label agreed a deal with Marvel Comics to use images of their famous character of the same name, to help Entombed reach a broader audience, without consulting the band. This included featuring the Wolverine character on the front cover of the record, and even including a mini Wolverine comic inside the album. The Marvel version of "Wolverine Blues" was also heavily censored, going as far as to remove the song, "Out of Hand" completely. The album itself received a very mixed response, with some fans not to keen on the change in direction, while publications such as Guitar World hailed it as the best death metal album of the year.
Following the dispute with Earache, Entombed left the label and signed to Threeman Recordings, through which they released their fourth album, "DCLXVI: To Ride Shot Straight and Speak the Truth" in 1997. Like "Wolverine Blues," reactions to the album were varied, thought it was ranked at number two on Metal Hammer’s Albums of 1997 list, where it was controversially kept off the top spot by Welsh rock outfit, Feeder. The same year, the band released a self-titled album, which was a compilation of previous EPs and covers from the likes of KISS and Stiff Little Fingers.
They were dealt a blow soon afterwards when drummer and founding member, Nicke Andersson left the group to concentrate on garage rock band, The Hellacopters. Entombed replaced him with Peter Stjärnvind for their next album, "Same Difference," which received negative reviews and featured a more hard rock sound than previous releases. They redeemed themselves somewhat with 2000’s, "Uprising," which shed the hard rock sound in favour of a return to the death and roll genre. They then took the very unusual step of collaborating with the Royal Swedish Ballet to work on a production called "Unreal Estate," which was not released until 2005.
After the lengthy death and roll period, the band fulfilled the wishes of old fans in 2002 by returning to their death metal roots with the album, "Morning Star," which received the best reviews the group had had for some time. They continued the death metal sound on their next album, "Inferno," in 2003, though they mixed it in with the death and roll genre. Reception to the record leaned towards positive, and it was re-released the next year with seven bonus tracks. Following the re-release, Entombed were finally able to release the live record, "Unreal Estate," as well as an EP on June 6th 2006 entitled, "When in Sodom," which served as a precursor to the 2007 album, "Serpent Saints – The Ten Amendments." Release wise, the band has been relatively quiet since then, concentrating more on live performances, though the band have been hard at work on a new album, their first in six years, which is expected to hit the shelves sometime this year.
Entombed - "Left Hand Path"
Entombed - "Stranger Aeons"
Entombed - "Wolverine Blues"
Entombed - "Addiction King"
Entombed - "I For An Eye"
Entombed - "Retaliation"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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