June 4, 1990 - 2020: 30 years of: Left Hand Path.
The tone, that tone, that Stockholm-tone !
From the ashes of NIHILIST came about two Swedish deathmetal-merchants: the cold and unholy UNLEASHED and the harsh et heavy ENTOMBED. ENTOMBED created dark-deathmetal from the remote part of the world that historically gave us BATHORY, CANDLEMASS and legendary shredder Yngwie J. Malmsteen.
Nicke Anderson was the Dan Swanö before Dan Swanö was Dan Swanö and was the Peter Tägtgren before Peter Tägtgren was Peter Tägtgren ...does that make any sense to you ? And from the genius of said Nicke Anderson, the band's main-writer, concept-creator, lyricist, drummer, sometime bassist and one-time uncredited-singer, it catapulted ENTOMBED into becoming THE deathnroll-steamroller of the 90s.
Produced by Tomas Skogsberg, Sweden's answer to Tampa's Scott Burns, at Sunlight Studios, Sweden's answer to Tampa's Morrisound Studios ...ok enough with the references, but you do have to take these into consideration, as scenes were replying to each other in this happy metal-rivalry. Just like New York / New Jersey was the mecca of punkrock and California was the mecca of both hardrock and thrashmetal, Florida and England was the mecca of deathmetal ...until these lovely Swedish bums crashed the party.
The title-track punches fast and hard, with down-tuned guitars and angst teen-attitude. If the band only had released this single track, they would still be historically accurate as deathmetal trend-setters. The song's outro is a metallized version on the 1979 horror-flick Phantasm.
The fun continues on "Drowned" and "Supposed To Rot", as these full punk-thrash tunes would set any mosh-pit into a bloody-mess. The rock-element is apparent on "Revel In Flesh", a signature that would be fully exploited on their 1993's major-label debut CD, Wolverine Blues. The moody "The Truth Beyond" is the album's closer and an impressive voyage into morbid-metal. The 1:42sec background bell-chimes adds a foggy atmosphere to the breakdown-part. Sick and effective !
Landmark-album for the deathmetal-scene, Left Hand Path is the Master Of Reality, the Sad Wings Of Destiny, the Welcome To Hell, the Kill 'Em All, the Hell Awaits …ok enough with the references already !!! While the deathmetal genre was officialized with DEATH's 1987 Scream Bloody Gore LP, the movement did take a left hand turn during the glorious 1990-91-92-93 era. The golden and bloody years for deathmetal, the most extreme music on the face of the planet and ENTOMBED were fully part of it's development, starting with this very record.
The album's special guitar-tone has been a subject amongst metalheads since the CD's release. Now thanks to the internet, hints have been given into how to obtain this now-infamous "buzzsaw-sound". Don't try this at home: use the biggest string-gauge available, downtune guitar to B, dial both Boss HM2 Heavy-Metal and DS1 Distortion pedals for each channels, all setting to full and then crank selected mids on amp ...no noise-gate, strum and step aside. Of course a huge chunk of the recipe is the actual magic of studio-chef Tomas Skogsberg, do not rely on a simple stomp-box. Still, in the live environment that tone did get thru the P.A. system, I know, I was there.
That said, no band in metal-history has managed to recreate the vile vibe of Left Hand Path. Tone-wise, the band would supersede themselves in 1991 with the cadaveric Clandestine CD and furthermore on 1997's punk'd-death To Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth CD.
Now 30 years later, hordes of Swedish deathmetal bands have come and gone. From ARCH ENEMY to DARK TRANQUILITY to IN FLAMES to HYPOCRISY to EDGE OF SANITY to AMON AMARTH to OPETH to SOILWORK to ...ok enough with the name-dropping ! Some of these bands still kick-ass, while some are mere footnotes, yet all of them owe a keg of the finest beer to the original ENTOMBED.
ENTOMBED: unearthing the best of death-metal.
Left Hand Path - video
Left Hand Path - full CD
Live in Sweden in 1990
Stockholm in 1991: the other deathmetal capital of the world.
Friendly rivalries: Tampa was the deathmetal-farm from Day One with the following visionaries: DEATH, MASSACRE, MORBID ANGEL and OBITUARY. While England had NAPALM DEATH, BOLT THROWER and CARCASS, it was Stockholm that hit back and set the bar higher with: DISMEMBER and UNLEASHED ...and from the ashes of NIHILIST arises ENTOMBED ...Sweden's biggest deathmetal export !
Step aside ABBA and IKEA !
Their debut LP, 1990's Left Hand Path is a milestone in extreme-music. And just like any milestone, it now stands tall along extreme-music trend-setters like: Seven Churches, Reign In Blood and Scream Bloody Gore. ENTOMBED's first release is an exhibition of morbid and clever soundscapes that are yet to be matched.
In 1991, Sunlight Studios was again put to test and Clandestine was hatched, ready for world-domination. The perfect dark hybrid between old-school deathmetal, punk attitude and rocknroll hooks, all under one roof. The onslaught kicks-off with the fast paced "Living Dead", to the slam-friendly "Sinner's Bleed", to the garage-rockin' "Evilyn", to the face-melting "Chaos Breed" and to the MTV-ready "Stranger Aeons". The aggression reaches new heights on "Severe Burns" and then the album closes with the epic, progressive and eerie "Through The Collonades"
Never a dull moment !
One of ENTOMBED's trademark, still revered today, is "that guitar-tone" AKA the "buzzsaw-sound". Imitated to death (!) it stood apart from the heap of the deathmetal explosion of the time. No band since has done it better then the infernal guitar-duo of Hellid + Cederlund. On Clandestine, the production opens-up and lets the mid-ranges breathe, while the over-heads roars and lets the record becomes alive and delivers beautiful brutality. It is a solid wall of sound, that reckons even against today's standards.
The mesmerizing artwork is another piece of mastery by popular deathmetal cover-art guru: Dan Seagrave
Remember that this lethal stuff was issued on Relativity/Columbia/Sony in the Americas in 1991-94, how times have changed. Back in 1992, you could tune-in the TV music-channel and view rock/metal videos 24/7. Granted, you had to go thru hours of "Enter Sandman" to "Thunderkiss '65" to "Walk" and to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ...but then eventually, once in a blue-moon, "Stranger Aeons" would pop-up and your basement would turn into a mosh-pit ...I know mine did !
Thank you Nicke Andersson, thank you ! thank you ! thank you !
I LIVE WHILE YOU DECAY !!!
INTERVIEW on TOUR 1992
LIVE in LONDON 1992
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