Well documented kerfuffles caused the implosion of one of the most respected and veteran Swedish death metal bands Entombed and we were worried that it was going to be a case of them resting in pieces for a while. Steely grit and determination paid off though and they re-spawned as Entombed A.D. unleashing new album ‘Back To The Front’ in 2014. Just two years later the re-energized outfit have barely let the blood dry on that one and are about to release ‘Dead Dawn’ in February 2016. We sat down for a chat with vocalist L-G Petrov about past, present and future.
AN: Just putting speaker phone and Dictaphone on.
AN: Yep that’s working!
I’m sure you are sick of answering questions about the band name change and what went on around it but it must have been a very frustrating time for you after the release of Serpent Saints in 2007 leaving you with a seven year gap between coming back as Entombed A.D. and releasing ‘Back To The Front.’ How did you cope during that time? Did it put your creativity on hold as a band completely or did you just all concentrate on other things?
LG: Yes it actually did. We came to the point where it was time to make a new album and we started doing new songs. Some didn’t like it and we did, so we continued. Somebody did the right thing and quit. We just carried on doing what we do and there was a lot of drama but I think that now two years later having made a couple of albums it shows we are serious about what we do.
AN: I bet it also made you all the more determined to carry on though to, was it ever in doubt that the four of you would tour and record new material together?
LG: Not really no, we always knew it was going to happen.
AN: Fans seemed quick to accept you back and I know we breathed a collective sigh of relief seeing Entombed A.D. playing all the classic songs live along with the new material when we saw you at Bloodstock after the reformation. It seemed to state that same band, same difference! Would you agree, is there any material that you can no longer play from your back catalogue and do you regret that?
LG: No, I mean we are Entombed and we are Entombed A.D. We can play all the songs from the back catalogue. We are still the same band but not to cause confusion we do it as Entombed A.D.
AN: Do you ever see yourself reverting back to the original name?
LG: We’ll see what happens but if you switch back and forth people will just get confused.
AN: Do you consider that what happened has made you stronger as a band. I bet if you are working with a disruptive influence getting shot of it must completely have been re-energising?
LG: Yes at the time it just drained us of energy and the creativity went away. However after the last album we started to work on new songs almost immediately during tours. It’s good that we did that as it took us 18 months to complete it. If we had started thinking about doing new songs after all the touring it would have taken another 2 years making the gap 4 years and us stuck with bad habits again.
AN: Although the last couple of Entombed albums were good and solid affairs for me Morning Star was the last album that really blew me away, what are your thoughts on that period from 2000 onwards?
LG: It was a great album as you say but I don’t think it got the recognition it deserved. From that album on, nobody knows they exist for example in America. When you go there they remember the time after Wolverine Blues and for them it’s a gap up until now almost. It’s pretty funny.
AN: Now that you are back what differences are there to the way that you work now from then? Any changes in the way you plan, create and record new material?
LG: Yes now we actually have a plan ha ha. The productivity has been on top since then on. Otherwise it’s the same thing. When you get into the studio we weren’t as prepared as we are now. Things were a lot more spontaneous before. I must admire Nico [Elgstrand guitars] he was the one holding everything together. Olle [Dahlstedt drums] and Nico, they did a great job. I can be a bit undisciplined at times. I just go away at times. I don’t have a guitar at home and I suck at lyrics so I did the least actually.
AN: 2 albums in the space of a couple of years kind of suggests that you are going for it and have plenty more material to come in the future, is this impetus something you envisage continuing?
LG: Exactly. If you have a plan and a goal and pick yourself up from the shit that’s been going on, then we are doing what we are supposed to do really; releasing albums and not every six years. People were really surprised when they heard we had a new album, it was soon and people didn’t expect that from us.
AN: Does that mean that you are already thinking ahead to what comes next and do you have further material in the writing stage?
LG: Yes leftover riffs that we can improve on and stuff, we will take care of that when we are touring. We have found out over the years that on tour you have a lot of spare time, which before we didn’t use; we just thought what the hell are we doing, sleeping, drinking, whatever. We do still sleep and drink and whatever but work too and the next morning see just what came out of it.
AN: Onto the new material and the first thing that strikes is that it sounds more rooted in the classic Swedish death metal style of old. There’s less of a rot n’ roll feel although it’s still undoubtedly rotten. Perhaps in a way it has lost a bit of the commercial edge even. Would you agree, do you think going ‘back to the front’ allowed you to revert back to the old school ways a bit?
LG: The sound is a lot rawer I think, along with the heavy production and the songs are melodic but are not, happy polka metal. They are more funeral based which adds to that creepy feeling and we have some really doomy and groovy songs which I love.
AN: I misread the title of the new one at first and thought you were paying homage to Evil Dead 2 but in a way I guess you still might be. I love the way that some of the horror motifs have kind of crept back in to some of the instrumental sections (as per not What It Seems). I take it you all have not grown out of your love of fright flicks?
LG: Hell no. I am watching Ash Vs The Evil Dead and although it was not what I was expecting it to be it is good. It’s like a new album coming out.
AN: What do you personally think about the state of modern horror movies. Obviously the old films are the best but….?
LG: Of course. Some people feel like it is like that with the music, you know, the first two albums and the demo were the best and that applies to me too with other bands but as long as people do what they want and the feel is right I will still go and buy the album and support the band? The same with films.
AN: As far as Dead Dawn is concerned is there any overriding theme about things. The song titles have a bit of a post-apocalyptic vibe about them? ‘As The World Fell’ for example.
LG: Yes it’s just the pessimistic side of looking at things, it only means that things can get better. We have been doing it for 25 years or more and have had our ups and downs. By now we have learned that good or bad we just need to deal with it and we are still here.
AN: And ‘Down To Mars We Ride for instance make me think of the necessity to build new colonies in space, could this be science fiction or science fact?
LG: That was Nico again, he just wrote down what he thought and it was great. Then we thought hold on, this is weird, what does it mean? I don’t know but it had to be printed! We don’t necessarily come up with the meaning. It opens it up for interpretation and its fun for people to decide. It can mean different things for different people. It doesn’t mean we are not serious about it but sometimes you have to just let yourself go and have fun with it.
AN: Those first three albums started it all for me and plenty of others not just the fans but no shortage of bands either. It seems like there is a big resurgence of HM2 obsessed groups out there paying tribute to what you started in Sweden and beyond. Do you keep an ear out on what is going on and are any bands particularly impressing you at the moment?
LG: I don’t actively go out and search for new music but in Sweden there is a new generation coming and I think it’s great that it continues and things are not swallowed up by this mainstream R&B blah blah blah major crap. It’s important that people form new bands and sleep in their expensive rehearsal rooms and just make new music haha. For example they opened up a pub in Stockholm where every Friday they have these small black metal bands and stuff like that and I went there for the first time and it was really great and was packed. There’s a real underground scene with black metal, thrash metal people looking for places to go. There are these normal hard rock pubs in Stockholm but those are being invaded by normal people. There were two bands playing that I had never heard of before and they were great.
AN: Can you remember who they were?
LG: Yes it was Sektu and One Hour Hell I think. [Gig took place at Stockholm Copperfields on Jan 9th] The first band had just started playing when I came in and it was a case of “fucking hell, who is this?” Then it was a case of buying a beer and just enjoying, talking to people and seeing people you have not seen in ages. I didn’t even know the place existed, you just don’t see these people out. Really great and it’s free to get in too!
AN: One of those ahem “new bands” is obviously Firespawn what was it that got you and Victor involved with them? Did you feel that musically they went down a slightly different left hand path allowing you to explore things a bit differently?
LG: We are all good friends from way back and I think it was a spontaneous thing. We sat down for some reason and someone said “let’s make a band that plays fast” and it was “ok!” Then Victor did the most of it, he’s a riffing machine, I don’t know where he gets it from he’s great. Everyone has their own bands of course but we sat down to see what we could make of it and everybody is really good at what they are doing so it came about really fast and we had 10-11 songs. We have some one-off shows planned here, we just have to plan it really carefully with all the other bands involved. We have Unleashed, Necrophobic, Entombed A.D. there is no rush?
AN: You have always been very kind to us in the UK with no shortage of visits over the years. One’s I remember particularly well are a really hot and sweaty one at the Camden Falcon in June 98 and a very strange one at the Underworld the night the twin towers came down. Any particular memories and I take it that it won’t be long before you are back?
LG: Yes I remember sitting down and doing an interview with this big TV behind us and all of a sudden it just happened but I didn’t take notice as I thought it was a movie at first. Then they turned down the music and everybody was just staring. But the show went on and we forgot about it but the last day, the next day we couldn’t fly home. It was insane.
We have this Behemoth, Abbath, Inquisition tour coming up, not in England sadly [balls]! Sometimes we don’t have control, sorry. That’s going to be a hellish package
AN: What else in particular do you have lined up for 2016?
LG: After that one, that will be end of January and 2-3 weeks in Feb. We have some one off shows in March and then in April we are going to the States for 6 weeks with Amon Amarth. It’s all nice, things are happening you know. It’s going to be fun, especially America. We were there with Deicide and after 2 weeks that tour just disintegrated, we went home but fortunately we had started on a new album, so from there good things happened. Yes we have various festivals and then we are going to be doing a European headlining tour in the fall and that should include England too.
Dead Dawn is out Feb 26th via Century Media Records
(Interview Pete Woods)