Anybody who knows anything about death metal has heard of Entombed. Very few bands have broken out of the masses but this name has been propelled to legendary status. Despite maintaining an original lineup for almost 20 years, it’s been all change for Entombed recently. With a complete lineup revamp just two albums ago, and a split announced just before the release of their latest album leaving the original name to founding members Alex Hellid and Ulf Cederlund, the band is hardly recognizable from their original form. Rising from the ashes of Entombed, founding vocalist Lars (LG) Petrov adopts the title of Entombed A.D., but the question remains; can he possibly put out the same quality that he has become known for over the years? The answer is a resounding yes.
Back to the Front may have been a long time coming with Petrov’s last release, Serpent Saints, six years previous, but they have finally returned and the wait has been more than worth it. Back to the Front is a polished entanglement of melody and brutality. The sound has mellowed from their previous albums; the vocals are less harsh, almost sung, but 26 years on Petrov still has the voice to carry this off. There’s also a marked difference in the guitarist style. Rather than Serpent Saints where guitarist and co-producer Nico Elgstrand seems intent of fitting in with the older musical style, in this album he seems to be making his own mark on the sound, adding a heavier dose of melody into the mix.
The music has come a long way from Entombed’s original release, Left Hand Path. They’re not the young angry guys they once were, ripping their way through albums with devastating speed and aggression, but this doesn’t mean they can’t still pull out an outstanding album. I can’t say that initially I wasn’t disappointed by their lack of return to the old sound, but this album has forged its own distinct place. Although it is distinctly catchier in nature and unlikely to be listed among the greats, it’s still enjoyable proving that once again they are still putting a bit of death back into metal.