To say that I have a pretty fucking big music collection would almost be an understatement. Yet for all the artists contained within, there is only a small fraction of those which I genuinely get excited for when a new release is on the horizon. Entombed is one of those bands, and the wait for Serpent Saints was definitely worth it. Who would have guessed that the band would follow up a live album recorded with a ballet company with their best and heaviest work in years?
The death-and-roll engine is firing on all cylinders; after a slow acoustic intro to the title track gives way to a main riff that took me as far back as Left Hand Path (even farther back if you count the blatant appropriation of Motorhead’s “Iron Fist.”) Then “Masters of Death” (featuring guest vokills from Killjoy of Necrophagia) pays tribute to their contemporaries and the entire metal genre while damning those who wish to destroy it, by rattling off a series of band names, song titles, and other references, while also incorporating musical and vocal patterns borrowed from the likes of Metallica, Slayer, and Kreator. It’s anthemic and cheesy all at once.
Although arguably at their best when spitting forth musical venom like “Amok,” Entombed is just as effective when they slow things down for a track like “In The Blood,” which lumbers forth like an angry giant – sure, it moves slowly, but it also leaves destruction with each footstep. When both of these elements come together, on “When in Sodom” and “The Dead, the Dying, and the Dying to be Dead,” the results are instantly memorable, and the latter is guaranteed to become a live favorite for its fist-pumping rhythms and chorus.
Much of what I like about Entombed can be credited to vocalist L.G. Petrov. His range may be limited, but he just sounds like evil incarnate on that mic, whether delivering a thundering rhythmic chorus or a rapid-fire verse. Not many people can keep their tongue firmly planted in cheek when delivering lines like “When in Sodom / you bend over quick / and let me guide your little stick” or the ridiculously over-the-top gore of the aforementioned “The Dead, The Dying . . . “ This guy could do Mother Goose and make it sound like Stephen King. People would probably buy it, too.
This is death –and-roll: rock-and-roll rhythms played with death metal speed and heaviness, and it is what has made Entombed such an underground favorite over the years. They may not have all been zingers, but they’ve always done it their way no matter what the style. Wake the fuck up – Entombed is here to slay you.