Thursday, December 4, 2014

Death Metal World Cup: Entombed AD vs Bloodbath

Entombed AD
Back to the Front
Grand Morbid Funeral

There was no small amount of excitement that greeted the announcement of the new Entombed album, before word got around that Alex Hellid (the sole guitarist remaining from the Nihilist years) wasn’t involved. Hastily renamed Entombed AD (a name applicable to any of the dozens of bands trying to cash in on the classic Swedish death metal sound), the band now features LG Petrov leading a group of unknowns. Whatever the drama was behind the scenes, it has to be said that Back to the Front is entirely in line with what Entombed has been doing since Nicke Andersson left all the way back in 1996: Midpaced death 'n' roll that finds itself halfway between Unsane and Autopsy. It’s probably not the album that will win back long-time Entombed fans (or recent converts jumping on the HM-2 bandwagon), but it's not without its charms, either; and over the years I’ve put up with much, much worse from these guys.

If the men carrying the mantle of Entombed seem uninterested in retreading The Left Hand Path, the same can’t be said for Bloodbath. Arguable the band most responsible for NWOOSDM, their newest album Grand Morbid Funeral is their first without both Mikael Åkerfeldt and Dan Swåno. Now on mic duties is Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes, dusting off his death growl for the first time since Gothic was released over 20 years ago. [As an aside, who could have predicted that a collaboration between members of Paradise Lost and Katatonia would have resulted in anything other than morose gothic doom?] The bloom is off the rose for the old school revival, but Bloodbath have made a suitable argument that this rotting corpse still has bite.

The Match Up: Both bands have suffered line-up shuffles that leave their respective legacies to a handful of ringers. Neither band delivered what could be claimed to be their best album, though Bloodbath did release the more savage (arguably safer) one. In an ideal world, they’d be one band with LG singing; til that day comes, Grand Morbid Funeral is the more convincing of the two.

WINNER: Bloodbath

NEXT MATCH: Massacre vs At the Gates