Chainsaw ‘Boss HM-2’ pedal guitar sound? Frantic D-beat drums? Guttural vocals akin to Autopsy’s Chris Reifert vomiting up his own oesophagus? Yep, it’s old-school Swedish ‘dØdsmetal’ time it seems and Entrails are certainly unwavering in their commitment to sonic aesthetics laid down over two-and-a-half decades ago.
‘Obliteration’ is unabashed and unrelenting Swedish death metal of the most classic kind. Coming across as the perfect blend of the founding fathers of this sound (Dismember’s ‘Like an Everflowing Stream’ and Entombed’s ‘Left Hand Path’), Entrails certainly know the ingredients required to cook up a meaty metal dish. Given founding member and guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist allegedly started the band back in 1990 (although didn’t see fit to release anything until 2009 which has cast suspicions on these claims from certain quarters), this is unsurprising and from start to finish, ‘Obliteration’ demonstrates an impressive grasp of how to keep this sort of material fresh and enticing whilst not losing sight of the essential tenets of the genre.
‘No Cross Left Unturned’ is a sprightly opener, mixing familiar thrash patterns with blasphemous blasts but it’s the second track ‘Epitome of Death’ where the potency of the weapons in Entrails’ arsenal really become apparent. It starts slowly, doleful lead guitar chiming across a morbid chug before the galloping central refrain and vocalist Jocke Svensson’s insistent bellow (‘MURDER!!! MY ONLY URGE IS TO MURDER!!!’) sink their hooks into the brain. The closing reinterpretation of the funeral march as the song plays out is inspired.
Obliteration continues on in much the same way – ‘The Grotesque’ is frantic and catchy, the album title track boasts a titanium-strength main riff that At The Gates would kill to be able to write these days, ‘Midnight Coffin’ has some great fist-pumping gang vocals on the chorus line whilst album closer ‘Resurrection of the Dead’ features more reflective lead work cross its ominous coda, showcasing a band that is anything but one-note.
This is a smart, creative and well thought-out record – it at once honours the ‘classic’ sound whilst bringing enough unique elements to the table (in particular, those atmospheric leads) to add Entrails’ own stamp to proceedings. There’s a crispness to the sound that is just about on the right side of ‘dirty’ meaning that Obliteration neatly sidesteps falling victim to either a) sterile overproduction or b) false filthiness and instead, dwells in the perfect sonic middle-ground of punchy crustiness. For an engaging modern example of an old-school sound, you could do a lot worse than get this album into your canister, pronto.
(8/10 Frank Allain)