Monday, February 8, 2016

Entombed A.D. - Dead Dawn (2016)

These Swedish death metal legends are already hitting us in the face with another album, this being their second since reforming with 2014's Back To The Front. Much as you'd expect, you're getting another exercise in classic death metal that sounds much closer to the band's earlier efforts in Entombed. It's not Left Hand Path, but it's definitely among the same territory. Make no mistake, there are no keyboards, orchestras or clean vocals to be found and certainly no punk elements. Dead Dawn literally sounds like the kind of record that Entombed fans have been craving, regardless of the new edition in A.D. Some people apparently don't like L. G. Petrov's vocal approach on the previous album though, which they may additionally despise here. It just depends on the listener and how they feel about death metal that is delivered with more of a rusted bellow than a downright growl. Petrov obviously seems to be saving his vocal chords on the disc, but I suppose I can't blame him as one can do serious damage to their vocal chords over time when performing this kind of music, especially for as long as he has. Aside from your normal death metal pummelers, there's a real gem in “When The World Fell” which features some tremendously eerie, yet awesome leads from Nico Elgstrand. Without question, Elgstrand is playing these riffs with as much fright and bite as we'd expect from old, crusty death metal and that seems to be what really sets this album on fire – along with Victor Brandt's pounding bass riffs and Olle Dahlstedt's calculated drumming. All of these men were in Entombed before and they're definitely playing like they're in it again (which they technically still are) and you certainly won't hear me complain about it. From what I've heard from these guys in their years up to this point, something like Dead Dawn just seems goddamned refreshing. I mean, this is death metal whether you like it or not. Perhaps there are some lighter riffs used on tracks like “The Winner Has Lost” and “Hubris Fall” but for the most part, you're getting a burly death metal disc with bone crushers like “Silent Assassin”, “Black Survival” and the title track, which the band can truly be proud of.

When you first listen to Dead Dawn, you may need to listen to it again. It's just not the kind of disc that fleshes itself out on the first listen. It's definitely the kind of performance that you'll appreciate more with repeated listens and you might even discover new things each time as well. I most certainly did. The record comes in and goes out at about the same speed, so you'll definitely want to keep that in mind. It's also only about forty minutes long, which makes it a disc that you'll definitely have to pay more attention to. These Swedes had no intention of sticking around, instead preferring to go in and out with a vengeance that conquers all in their wake. While it's true that some might not be able to get through the vocals, especially during the lighter riff melodies on the disc, there's still enough meat here for those willing to sit down to it. If it's not your thing, I understand. But it definitely sounds more like classic Entombed to me and is a huge upgrade over some of the other records we've heard from them in the past. At least they're still playing death metal this time around, which I think we can be thankful. Swedish death metal is certainly far from dead.

(11 Tracks, 57:00)


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