Two years ago I received an album with sublime, orange artwork and music to make my ears bleed. The band: Holland’s Entrapment or, more precisely, Michel Jonker’s Entrapment. Predominantly a one-man project, he, with a little help from some friends – including God Dethroned’s Henk Zinger – laid down an infernal slab of maniacal old-school death metal. Derided by some experts in magazines as nothing more than yet another album in the contemporary slew of old-school worship, for me, their debut ‘The Obscurity Within…’ was just what the doctor ordered. So imagine my excitement a few days ago upon receiving their new effort, ‘Lamentations of the Flesh’…
‘Perpetual Impudence’ starts off in gentle, almost dreamlike fashion before some familiar tones barge through: heavy buzzing chords, crunching bass and a roar. As the track plays through, we get a few tasteful lead embellishments and even though there’s some pace, from the first listen alone, it’s clear that Entrapment have injected a bit of sophistication to their approach. The band still comes across like some bastard child of early Autopsy and Dismember – as proven by ‘Abhorrence of the Unborn’ – but that frenzy of the debut has seemingly been put on the back burner. The likes of ‘Unearthly Cries’ and ‘Proclamation give a clear indication of where Michel Jonker is coming from: the first, a mix of slower dynamics and grimy atmosphere; the latter, emerging doom-like before finding room for a few swaggering riffs reminiscent of Carcass. The one thing you can say for sure about all this is that when fast parts or ripping lead-work do appear, they hit hard. And you still get the odd full-on tune such as the title track to headbang to.
Into the second half of the record we get ‘Seditious Dreamers’, whose infectious main riff cannot fail to get its hooks into you. There are also some nice harmonies midway through as well but the largely meandering groove doesn’t hold a candle to 2012’s work. ‘Hostile Life’ is faster here and there but again avoids going all out. Some of the slower parts are cool and definitely add some pretty nice contrast when it takes off again but my impression – and one which relates to the album as a whole – is that Entrapment were overly conscious of repeating themselves. One track where higher tempos do appear more readily, and merge with the best of the new stuff, is ‘Engulfed by Flames’. Not only does the band let go a bit more, the ‘atmosphere’ is arguably more pronounced than on some of the others: grim, dark and wildly jubilant. Though admittedly ‘Engraved’ also has some great moments with concerted speed and banging leads, while ‘On Carrion Wings’ mixes strange harmonies with monstrous pounding not dissimilar to Grave.
When all is said and done, ‘Lamentations of the Flesh’ is a good album – and very likely a grower – but for the limited period of time I have it for review, I’m just not ‘feeling it’ completely. While I can’t fault the band for trying something different/more diverse, the memory of their triumphant and straight-to-the-point debut keeps lingering. And frankly, I can’t help feeling a little deflated when I compare the two.
That said, I felt similarly about the last Exhumed and everyone seemed to love that. So who’s wrong? You decide.