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Entombed A.D. ‎– Back To The Front - Limited Edition, Mediabook -CD

€9.90

You know, given all that's happened in the past few years concerning Entombed (read: nothing), it's difficult not to conjure some genuine respect for L.G. for his attempts to keep the band alive. While this lineup features none of the classic members, aside from L.G. himself (though the track "Vulture and the Traitor" was composed entirely by none other than original Entombed mainman Nicke Andersson), the circumstances that surround the situation concerning Alex Hellid make it completely understandable, in my book. But despite that, all the drama is meaningless in the end. The only thing that actually matters is the fuckin' music. So...does it stand up?

Well, surprisingly...yeah. For a very long time I (and most others, I assume) had been hoping for the band to return to their OSDM roots, with a complete and total throwback to the band's glory days (first two records). And while that didn't really happen, I can't say I'm completely against what we ended up getting. Fans can breathe a sigh of relief, because this isn't really a "death n' roll" album either. The exact style is difficult to accurately describe, it's much heavier and far more riff-centric than anything the band has released in years (not to mention the dark and moody vibe that permeates most of the album), but there's still a focus on catchiness and a sort of "swing" to the music that isn't really found in standard death metal. I guess the most accurate description would be some strange mixture of old school death metal and traditional heavy metal. It's original, I'll give them that!

And more than anything, it's simply the most solid thing the band has released in fucking ages. No, there is no experimental garbage like "Mental Twin" or joke track like "When it Hits Home" to ruin this album, everything feels pretty serious and to the point, without any notable dip in quality. Rather, you might be shocked by just how good some of this stuff is. The track "Digitus Medius" for example, features some extremely catchy and powerful riffs, some of the strongest on the entire album. "Second to None", probably the most "death n' roll" track found on the album, manages to throw in a ton of heavy-as-balls riffs that pound at the listener's head like a jackhammer. "Pandemic Rage" is a full on, straight ahead death metal track that is not only heavy as fuck, but also puts forth a very dark, moody atmosphere in it's powerful chorus...and how could anyone forget the best track of them all, album opener "Kill to Live", the verse riff of which is probably my favorite riff on the entire CD.

L.G.'s vocals aren't quite as monstrous and powerful as they were in 2007, when he recorded the "Serpent Saints" album, but I think there's something appealing about the tone and vocal delivery he puts forth here (sort of a "death metal Lemmy" I guess). It's far from his crowning achievement, but at least he's growling and that should be worth something (we'll all remember that there was a very long time where he was merely shouting).

So all in all, is this a perfect album? No. Is it flawed? Eh, not really. There's nothing I would change, that could make it better. I feel like it achieves everything it sets out to do, and at the end I'm glad I bought and listened to it. At the very least, this is some new Entombed to listen to (the first since 2007!), and it sounds better than anything the band has done in years, so there's really nothing to complain about. Even though I'm not crazy about the band's work post-"Clandestine" (their last fully good album until this one), I think that this is a pleasant surprise for anyone who considers himself a dedicated Entombed listener.