Entombed AD – Back To The Front


Review by Paul Castles

Century Media

Release date: 4 August 2014

Sometimes when relationships screw up those involved put it down to various things such as ‘wanting different things’ and part amicably, albeit with a tinge of sorrow and regret. On other occasions hostilities are much closer to the surface and the warring parties need to be kept at arm’s length at the very least. In the case of Entombed versus Entombed AD it appears that the latter is the case. Entombed have been Swedish melodic death metal pioneers stretching right back to their breakthrough debut full length album in 1990, Left Hand Path. A further eight studio albums have followed over the intervening years but this latest release, Back To The Front, is distinguished by two small – but significant – letters after the band’s name.

Following a parting of the waves between original band members singer LG Petrov and guitarist Alex Hellid we now have the unsatisfactory scenario of the latter continuing under the Entombed banner while Petrov embarks on a new venture, less than subtly labeled Entombed AD. Petrov has taken the other band members with him so I guess for now Entombed AD is the real deal and Hellid will have to come up with a whole new line-up, although messy legal wrangling suggests this might take a while to resolve. For now though we can only focus on what’s before us and the overall feel and tone of Back To The Front is not that dissimilar from previous Entombed albums – which is hardly surprising with the split being still pretty fresh.

Opener ‘Kill To Live’ wades straight in with some impressive riffs, a steady swagger and Petrov’s distinctive earthy vocals rasping out the title. A pounding drumbeat dominates ‘Bedlam Attack’ against a chugging rhythm section with some background vocals adding some extra weight during the chorus while ‘Pandemic Rage’ is more melodic death metal although delivered with even more pace and intensity. Entombed have always been more than just a brutal death metal band and their melodic touch is retained on songs such as ‘Bait and Bleed’ – although the more death/thrash approach can still be found on songs such as the blistering ‘Waiting For Death’.

Entombed AD then slow the pace down to a deep rumbling mid-paced grind on terrific tortured throbs such as ‘Eternal Woe’ with the quartet pulling together to punch out some monstrous melodic metal. There’s little doubt that Entombed fans will take to this album although it probably has more in common with some of their more recent work than the seminal debut Left Hand Path. But then that was around a quarter of a century ago and it’s hardly surprising that the sound has evolved, as indeed Entombed have always done, throughout their career.

Make no mistake this is still a damn fine album with spirited high octane numbers such as ‘Vulture And The Traitor’ while final track ‘Soldier Of No Fortune’ – the album’s longest – is a battle-hardened heavy-duty powerhouse that marches to the pace of soldiers returning from the front, rather than those heading to it. Fans of Entombed will be happy enough with Back To The Front – AD or not.

Entombed AD – Back To The Front7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Kill To Live
  2. Bedlam Attack
  3. Pandemic Rage
  4. Second To None
  5. Bait And Bleed
  6. Waiting For Death
  7. Eternal Woe
  8. Digitus Medius
  9. Vulture And The Traitor
  10. The Underminer
  11. Soldier Of No Fortune
  12. Gospel Of The Horns (Bonus Track available on Limited Edition Mediabook )