Album review: ENTOMBED A.D. – Back To The Front

ENTOMBED A.D. – Back To The Front

Century Media – Out Now.

Funny story; a couple of months ago, I was browsing through the internet when I came across the cover artwork of an album called “Back To The Front” from a band whose name was Entombed A.D. and whose logo looked like a modern variation of that of the Swedish Death Metal legends whose music I literally grew up listening to.

I vividly remember feeling exceedingly angry at the thought that somebody had the nerve to try and rip of my childhood musical heroes, only to realise a few weeks later that the band in question was the same band whose ‘honour’ I was so eager to defend, sans legendary axe man Alex Hellid.

I am not going to waste both your time and mine trying to speculate the reasons that led to the separation between the two parties involved as this would be pointless, to say the least.

The only thing that should concern you at this moments in time is the knowledge that “Back To The Front” is an eleven track release which finds the band sounding more old-school and menacing than ever but whose powerful mix and clarity of sound are expecting of a 21st century band.

A word of warning though; operating predominantly on a mid-tempo pace, these groove-laden tunes will require quite a few good spins and plenty of your attention before they begin to reveal their secrets but, the moment your ‘relationship’ with them has reached that crucial level then the connection achieved will be intense and total.

Opening with a dark keyboard theme and featuring a killer groovy riff and clever hard-pounding drum beats, “Kill To Live” provides a dynamic introduction to the band’s latest musical enterprise with the inspiring spoken part in the follow-up “Bedlam Attack” further convincing that this latest reincarnation of Entombed means serious business.

Based on an epic-sounding string instrument section and featuring a diabolically catchy melody on its refrain “Pandemic Rage” is reminiscent of the band’s “Clandestine” era while “Second To None” showcase how influential Punk/Hardcore music has been in the band’s upbringing.

More inspiring music can be found in the bass-driven, head-banging opus “Bait And Bleed” while the duet “Waiting For Death”/”Eternal Woe” employ every trick in the Metal book to provide a healthy momentum for this album.

The epic melodies and 80s-sounding solos which characterise the six-minute “Digitus Medius” seem to mix well with the groovy riffs of “Vulture And The Traitor” while hyper fast drum beats and Thrash riffs of “The Underminer” nicely pave the way for “Soldier Of No Fortune” – a six and a half minute mid-tempo belter which ends the album in style.

Legal reasons have deprived the band from using it’s classic logo and moniker but, as far as the band’s fans are concerned, Entombed A.D. is the natural continuation of the group that brought to life genre-defining classics such as “Left Hand Path” (1990), “Clandestine” (1991) and “Morning Star” (2001).

Seven years in between albums is a long time for a fan to have to wait but “Back To The Front” has made that painful experience really worthwhile. Here’s to a great future for a band that looks and sounds really fired up and ready for action!

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

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