Explaining the relevance and influence of ENTOMBED is probably as superfluous as pointing out why Slayer rule, Lemmy is bigger than God and Dio the greatest loss in metal history. A legend is a legend. Fullstop. F**k off!
If you still require a proper explanation that is less shot from the hip, well…let us start with this: The Swedish Death Metal forefathers and genre innovators have inspired tons of bands all around the globe with their invincible trademark sound. However, as the band’s last album “Serpent Saints - The Ten Amendments” dates back to 2007, there is definitely more than a good reason for a bit of catch-up and ask why it took so long to finish the band’s superb 10th opus, programmatically titled “Back To the Front”, vocalist extraordinaire L-G Petrov states:
“”Serpents…” was a fairly good album but a little weak compared to previous works and the distribution wasn’t that great yet we continued playing shows throughout the past years but never really got going with new songs. At some point we decided that it was time for a new album, so we sat down and played riffs that we had from before as well as many new riffs and started putting them together which really sparked our motivation. That really gave us a push! We feel that this is the best album so far in many years and I think you can hear it on the album!”
Thematically, the will and determination to back up such words with fantastic songs is reflected in the powerful album title and part of the concept of the record as guitarist Nico Elgstrand describes:
“A lot of the album is about being at war in different ways and struggles/shortcomings of mankind, so we felt that “Back To The Front” fitted really well. It has a military reference obviously and we also feel like a platoon (ha ha, a small platoon) that has been behind the frontlines for a long time anxious to get back into battle. Not mean and lean but rather fat and bored and really keen on getting back to what we do best, which of course is to kill! Metaphorically speaking needless to say, ha ha. Also it is a very direct way of saying we’ve been away for way too long, we know and that we will now aim to stay at the front until the friggin’ battle is won! The cavalry has finally arrived if you will (without horses though, ha ha)!”
Well spoken, Sir, yet expectations will be incredibly high on this one as ENTOMBED’s roots and legacy goes way back into the year 1987 when they formed under the name NIHILIST. In 1989 the formation changed its name to ENTOMBED and together with Morbid (for whom singer LG played drums), Treblinka/Tiamat, Grave and Dismember, ENTOMBED/NIHILIST established themselves among the earliest bands to forge the immortal Swedish death metal sound that became really popular and unique due to its punkish roots and especially that chainsaw guitar sound, today inseparably linked to terms like “Skogsberg”, “Sunlight Studio” or just “Stockholm sound”. Inspired by such diverse acts as Autopsy, Motörhead, Discharge or Kiss, over the years ENTOMBED did not shy away from thinking outside of the coffin resulting in a style some fans called Death’n’Roll but in the end it was, is and will be just a band with a style and impact entirely their own.
So, what awaits the listener on “Back To The Front”? Produced by Roberto Laghi (In Flames, Hardcore Superstar) at Studio Bohus (Abba, Europe) in Kunälv, it’s 666% true to the ENTOMBED everybody loves. While not falling for total regression back to the early classics “Left Hand Path” or “Clandestine”, it is a total bone-crushing opus that will have fans of all periods cry tears of joy and even the most stubborn fan of the early days join in shame. “The goal was to have riffs that felt fresh and exciting, to make an album that felt old school as well as fresh and up to date, showing who ENTOMBED are today,” L-G puts it quite simply and Nico continues: “I thoroughly enjoy the fact that I find it super hard to pick 2 or 3 songs as the best of it, because i really like ‘em all. I think that they all have something new and fresh yet it feels very old school in some way. “Kill To Live” with its surprising ENTOMBED-intro turned out very cool and the track also has an almost cinematic yet classic metal feel to it, dunno why, but it just invigorates me. “Second To None” kinda makes me wanna drive a tank while listening, and that to me is how proper metal should sound! It makes you wanna do mighty things so to speak!”
From the morbid, pissed-off lyrics over detuned, massive riffs to the inimitable brick-heavy groove and LG Petrov’s titanic roar, “Back To The Front” not only musically but also visually with its stunning painting by Necropolitus Cracoviensis Zbgniew Bielak II (Watain, Ghost, Vader) seems to send a respectful nod to the old school as L-G confirms: “The skull will always be a part of ENTOMBED. I totally agree, we have taken away some of the "rock" parts and gone with more metal, and I think fans new and old will appreciate that.”
With European touring under way in December with label mates and black metal genre leaders WATAIN – vocalist Erik actually penned lyrics for the song “Carnage” (from “When In Sodom” EP, 2006) – and former band member Nicke Andersson contributed parts to the new song “Vulture And The Traitor”, the Swedish metal platoon ENTOMBED anno 2013 has all its weapons polished and reloaded and is ready to shatter the entire music scene with an uncompromising full frontal assault. So, let us all enjoy “Back To The Front” and celebrate the fact that the legend called ENTOMBED has finally returned. Goddamn!