"Raging Death"

By Thrash-head

Swedish death metal has been around for roughly 25 years, and has now been reinvented so many times that subgenres have subgenres. You like the "Gothenberg sound?" Well, there's stuff like Hypocrisy, stuff like At The Gates, stuff get the idea.

Entrails simply don't seem to care about the newfangled ways of doing things. They love their beloved genre and simply seek to honor it; hey, if it's not broke, why try to fix it, right? This music is unapologetically old school, very much in the same vein as bands like Grave and Dismember, and yet despite being about 20+ years after those bands' inceptions, Entrails succeeds at keeping a very raw spirit intact for this genre and these tunes. Fans of the "Stockholm sound" will instantly recognize the beautifully horrendous tones of the Boss HM-2 pedal turning every note to pure sonic mush...and for us fans, we're not complaining when we refer to it as such. Something about this offshoot of Scandinavian metal is so beautifully ugly, and this band nails it.

Now that you know you'll like the style, put this sucker on, get past the opening and the Charles Manson audio (*cough...cliché), and the first notes of "In Pieces" hit your headphones like an uppercut to the jaw. Right away, the riffing is chunky, never too fast or too slow, just meat-and-potatoes power chords and palm-mutes. Awesome triplet-riffs like the kind that permeate "Cadaverous Stench" get the blood pumping, while others like the  "Descend to the Beyond" rely on plodding, headbang-worthy rhythms that bring to mind mid-tempo Amon Amarth for a modern point-of-reference. Speaking of Amon Amarth, lead vocalist Jocke has a tone and delivery that is like the perfect halfway point between our Viking friends' Johan Hegg and Entombed's L.G. Petrov. Read that as that his voice could NOT be more up to the task of fitting this music. The absolute best tracks on this album tend to be those that are all over the map rhythmically and vary the intensity of the individual parts, such as "Carved to the Bone" and personal favorite "Death League." The latter track is also among several that even included an awesome, unflashy guitar solo that is positively drenched in reverb and totally fits the mood of the song. The melody line towards the beginning of "Chained and Dragged" also echoes the same feel, albeit with the extra bonus of a harmony guitar on top.

The mixjob on this recording is something to behold as well. Normally bands like Entrails tend to go for the most vintage-correct tones not just from their guitars, but also from the rhythm section as well. Despite the aforementioned Boss HM-2, even the guitars sound a little more modern, with tons of compression making every chord squeeze out from the speakers. The drums sound deep, yet extremely tight like they're triggered, which is atypical for this style, but this reviewer will be the first to say it works extremely well. Sonically, this disc is handled every bit as well as the music contained within, and is even a little louder and more in-your-face than preceding album "The Tomb Awaits." My only complaint about the mix would be that the aforementioned 2011 album had more reverb on the vocals to really add to that creepy, sinister vibe over the music, and these vocals are slightly drier, without so much FX present. Maybe next time.

I could go on, but it just kind of belabors a point that's best discovered with an actual listen, that this is unapologetically old school Swedish death metal for people that like their tunes heavy, evil, raging, and not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves so long as it means paying proper homage to those influences. If you remember back when death metal bands wore battlevests over their leather jackets and can still drink us all under the table at any given Saturday night metal gig, then this may be an album-of-the-year contender for you.