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ENTOMBED A.D. Bowels of Earth

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Monday, August 26, 2019 @ 7:05 AM


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ENTOMBED A.D.
Bowels of Earth

Century Media Records




His ex-bandmates may have won the battle over the “official” ENTOMBED moniker, but former frontman Lars-Goran Petrov is arguably winning the war with his ENTOMBED “B team”, as it were. Since forming from the ashes of the “original” ENTOMBED in 2014 - following the exit of founding guitarist Alex Hellid, who owns the band “trademark”, and some subsequent legal wrangling – ENTOMBED A.D., and Petrov in particular, has been rather busy.

While his ex-mates have largely sat idly by - despite having reformed most of the “classic” ENTOMBED lineup – performing the odd nostalgia concert and issuing the recent live Clandestine album from one such show, ENTOMBED A.D. has pumped out a couple new albums and toured in support of them. Petrov has also issued three albums with his more brutal second band FIRESPAWN, including Abominate in early July.

Bowels of Earth is ENTOMBED A.D.'s third album in five years, and offers plenty of the old school death 'n' roll gnarliness the band brought back to the table with 2014's Back To The Front, after the sonic vacillations of the original ENTOMBED over its last half-dozen releases. The vintage snaggle-tooth guitars, d-beat pummel and Petrov's raspy bellow are there in spades on Bowels, recalling the Uprising era of ENTOMBED when the band regained its footing after some dubious experimentation, only to then wander off again later.

“Torment Remains” sets the tone with a full-frontal, crusty chug, and the band largely keep up the attack throughout. There is certainly no lack of aggression or raw-boned energy here, which perhaps owes something to the band's newish blood, as touring guitarist Guilherme Miranda – from Brazil of all places – joins the fray and fattens out the sound in tandem with Nico Elgstrand. As a result, there is friskier guitar work all around, more pronounced soloing and even some slide guitar on “Bourbon Nightmare”.

The songs are relatively simple, direct and abrasive, with a few very old school nods, as on the haunting guitar passages in “Elimination” and “Through The Eyes of the Gods” that recall the scope and majesty of Clandestine. But the band also works to steer the album clear of just making a mere nostalgia trip, taking the old school and giving it some new, or at least a bit different, twists.

The production is denser and beefier than the trebely, bonesawing “Sunlight Studio sound” that defined Swedish death metal back in the day – and which a lot of modern bands have co-opted ad nauseum. And the music here often owes as much to Bay Area thrash in its consistent chugginess and punchy melodies as it does to “Swe-death,” as the catchiness of ENTOMBED's divisive Wolverine Blues is given a swift kick in the ass. The surging “I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” would fit quite comfortably in the TESTAMENT song book, even if it is barely two minutes long.

The album limps to the finish just after “Alive” with the lumbering, six-minute “The Eternal Night”, which only picks up the pace over its crunching final 30 seconds, which is a shame, because it's the only real dud of a song here. Perhaps if it had been stuck in the middle, it would have been easier to overlook.

But that said, Bowels Of Earth is as satisfying and lively an album as either version of ENTOMBED has produced since the aforementioned Uprising. And it would seem to indicate that Petrov and company at least have the vision to keep moving things forward while his old bandmates retain the old identity but don't really do anything with it. Which, in the end, just makes them look like dicks.

3.5 Out Of 5.0


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