Entombed A.D.

Dead Dawn

Written by: AP on 13/03/2016 18:40:37

Given that it was only two years ago Lars-Göran Petrov, Nico Elgstrand, Victor Brandt and Olle Dahlstedt rebranded themselves as Entombed A.D. and left behind the band’s founding guitarist Alex Hellid in the wake of irreconcilable differences, it is remarkable, the efficiency with which the Swedish old school death metal unit now operates. Two full-length albums in one and a half years is no meagre achievement, even if the fact that the band categorically shuns too much innovation on their tried and tested formula goes some of the way toward explaining how this latest outing “Dead Dawn” could arrive so soon in the wake of its predecessor, ”Back to the Front”, which dates back only as far as August, 2014. Indeed, at the risk of poisoning your expectations, it seems prudent to include one spoiler in this preamble: namely, that for “Dead Dawn”, Entombed A.D. have made next to no adjustments to their groovy, southern flavoured death metal sound.

But this was Entombed’s forte even before the A.D. suffix was concatenated to the moniker — to produce muscular and engaging, yet seldom spectacular music for a market segment wont to afford particular significance to concepts like pushing the envelope. It would be futile thus, to dissect songs such as “Midas in Reverse” or the namesake “Dead Dawn” and expect to uncover multiple layers brimming with novelty. One must rather consume them at face value, to embrace the primitive style and be carried away by the band’s prowess at penning simple yet effective, infectious grooves. If the latter track does not force your neck into a banging movement with its barren drop tuned chops and thundering double pedals, then chances are that you got into metal too late — when spastic time signatures and one-upping each other with the number of strings on a guitar became all the rage — to appreciate its more primal and tongue-in-cheek aspects. The same is true of the voluptuously catchy, steamrolling “Down to Mars to Ride”, which nails the marriage between rock’n’roll and death metal much in the vein of the classic “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth” from 1997. Those rattles of shredding that punctuate its groove laden march, the bastard of a solo that comes in around the four minute mark, and the way Petrov roars and bellows about riding choppers on the red planet is classic Entombed at its best, yet once “As the World Fell” and “Total Death” take over at opposite velocities, it does admittedly feel like the band relied a little too heavily on routine, writing the album.

Neither of those two tracks makes a strong impact, and with the exception of “Silent Assassin” (which packs a hefty punch at first, before unfolding into the sort of eerie, grandiose chorus that provided so many memorable moments on “Back to the Front”), they characterise a solid but unspectacular second half steered largely by autopilot. With the standout picks farther apart then, Entombed A.D. do beg the question, whether it would not have served them well to spend more time processing the material here. It feels rushed, and the outcome is, understandably, hit-and-miss when it comes to lasting value. Mind you, metallers of Entombed A.D.’s stature would need to implement pretty radical changes to their signature sound before gunning it down with critique would feel justified; there is still plenty of raw, riff-heavy death metal chops plastered across “Dead Dawn” to keep the Swedish troop’s faithful following satisfied. But knowing what they are capable of, it is hard not to be a little disappointed this time.


Download: Midas in Reverse, Dead Dawn, Down to Mars to Ride, Silent Assassin
For the fans of: Dismember, Grave, Insision, Unleashed
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.02.2016
Century Media

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