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Entrenched - "Preemptive Strike" (CD)

Entrenched - "Preemptive Strike" CD cover image

"Preemptive Strike" track listing:

1. Intro (Mobilize)
2. Bred to Kill
4. Landbrecher 666
5. Frenzied Amputation
6. Anesthetic Death
7. Burnt and Destroyed
8. Tooth and Nail
9. Dropping the Tsar Bomb

Reviewed by on August 20, 2011

"Gloomy sound clips and guitar solos, radioactive guitar tones and intermingling styles are just some of the elements that make 'Preemptive Strike' a solid record."

Fads die and are reborn about every twenty years. Right now, there is a major return to death metal’s golden, formative years. Bands have never quit worshipping at the altar of Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse, while a new interest in Stockholm, Sweden’s underrated style of death metal has appeared. Entrenched, the two-man group from the shores of New Jersey, do not follow those well-trodden pathways on their debut recording “Preemptive Strike.” Sure, their influences are obvious, but the way they mash them all together in such a skillful manner makes the album an anomaly.

“Preemptive Strike” relates nine tales of battle, ala Bolt Thrower, Hail of Bullets and Jungle Rot. Without looking at the song titles and cover art, the Bolt Thrower (maybe a little Obituary, too) influence becomes apparent on tracks such as “Landbrecher 666” and “Anesthetic Death,” at least during the churning, mid-paced beginnings. Entrenched produces plenty of catchy groove, but they don’t beat these parts to death. They pick up the pace, often in a grinding fashion, and add wild, whammy bar solos. Following this course, Entrenched seems to be storing energy that explodes, causing massive casualties.

Low growls combined with gnarly screams and speed-barrier-breaking drum blasts makes these Joiss-ey boys grinders in the tradition of bands such as Terrorizer, but there is also an element of thrash. Their guitar tones alone don’t resemble the drop-tones of modern death metal. The group’s guitar sound will get listeners dusting off their copies of Slayer's “South of Heaven” and “Arise”-era Sepultura. “ICBM” opens with a film clip detailing the horrors of nuclear weapons, which sets an ominous tone for a runaway-train-chugging thrash riff. Check out the end of “Bred to Kill” for more Slayer-isms.

Gloomy sound clips and guitar solos, radioactive guitar tones and intermingling styles are just some of the elements that make “Preemptive Strike” a solid record. Sure, the group becomes dangerously close to stealing sounds, but the ingredients in their musical cocktail tastes much different from what everyone else is making.

Highs: Wild guitar solos, blasting drums, sound clips and a mixing of style.

Lows: The vocals are nothing extraordinary.

Bottom line: "Preemptive Strike" is a solid record with crossover appeal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)