CD Review: ‘Dead Dawn’ by Entombed A.D.

Entombed AD return with a lethal dose of death n’ roll on its sophomore effort, Dead Dawn. This record reminds me a lot of Entombed’s 2003 record, Inferno, both in terms of production and songwriting. The band mixes elements of thrash, death, doom and punk and it makes for a fun recipe. The initial single “Midas in Reverse” has a punkish grit to it. The track is fast paced with a smidgen of death metal. “Down to Mars to Ride” is straight hardcore swag. It is straightforward death n’ roll in attitude, guttural vocals and lo-gi guitar. The dirgey “As The World Fell” lumbers along with sorrowful guitar lines that evoke a deep sense of hopelessness. The band then speed things up on “Total Death” with its razor sharp riffing and L.G.’s somewhat deciperable vocals. This track does not relent for one second and the guitar solo blasts through like a laser. The foreboding “Hubris Falls” combines classical music and doom for a regal, but downbeat ride to Hell. Baroque guitar chords collide with grinding riffs and deranged screams.

The confidence and bravado exuded by the band makes this record so enjoyable. Entombed AD are not trying to prove anything to anyone, the guys just want to play heavy music. The band stumbled a bit on its 2014 debut, Back to the Front. However, any shadow of uncertainty or doubt is nonexistent on Dead Dawn. The songs are diverse and the band does not make the mistake of recycling riffs. Entombed’s longevity is largely attributed to the band’s ability to reinvent its sound. This has drawn criticism from some in the metal genre, but acclaim from others. The band has so much to draw from that the album does not suffer from monotony. Album closer “Not What It Seems” provides a hellish end to this album with its dreamy guitar phases and rolling drums.

In all, Dead Dawn is an improvement over Back to the Front as the guys have rediscovered their confidence. The album is heavier than its predecessor and more adventurous. Entombed was at its best when it plays outside the box and Entombed AD operates in much the same way. Fans of Entombed AD’s first album or latter Entombed records will enjoy this record. The Swedish Death Metal legends are finally back to the front.

For news and tour dates check out the band’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EntombedAD/

CD Review: ‘Shadow Realms’ by Firespawn

There is nothing like a Swedish death metal supergroup to shake things up. Firespawn is comprised of vocalist L.G. Petrov (Entombed A.D.), guitarist Victor Brandt (Entombed A.D.), bassist Alex Impaler (Necrophobic), guitarist Fredrik Folkare (Unleashed, Necrophobic) and drummer Matte Modin (Raised Fist, ex-Dark Funeral). Firespawn’s debut, Shadow Realms, takes elements from the aforementioned bands and the results are solid. The record’s sound is hard to pin down because the band draws from numerous influences. “The Emperor” melds blast beats with a churning groove below Petrov’s infamous guttural vocals. There is a carefree attitude to the song, in the sense that the band does not constrict itself. This attitude carries throughout the album. The debut single “Lucifer Has Spoken” is dark and sinister with its dissonant melody and pounding drums. “Spirit of the Black Tide” rips like a tornado through a sleepy village. The twisting guitar riffs and galloping drums are relentless from beginning to end. The anthemic “All Hail” walks the thin line between seriousness and silliness. That humorous ambiguity abruptly ends on “Ruination” which is a thrasher. The band even goes djent on “Necromance” further solidifying its refusal to follow the rules. There is no genre in extreme metal this band will not touch.

The band’s carefree and open-minded attitude makes Shadow Realms work. There is no influence that overshadows (couldn’t help it) the other. Some of the songs are technical, brutal knockouts. While other songs are more restrained and simplied. Thus, Firespawn bucks the trend is playing within the parameters of a particular sub-genre. Petrov’s vocal style is guttural but decipherable, which is another strength to the album. Today’s death metal scene is oversaturated with vocalists that would rather grunt and screech as opposed to sing. The music on Shadow Realms is more disturbing and genuine because you can hear from Petrov is saying.

Overall, Shadow Realms is a great debut record. The guys went in with no hang-ups and cranked out a solid metal album. If you enjoy extreme metal, this record is for you.

For news on Firespawn, check out the band’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/firespawnofficial/