Every Friday I turn the blog over to Dan Marsicano for his Retro Recommendation, giving you a chance to learn about underrated and overlooked gems from metal's past. This week, Entombed is in the spotlight.
In the early '90s, Swedish death metal group Entombed had the underground talking. In back-to-back years, they had two future classics in Left Hand Path and Clandestine. So where does a credible band like Entombed head next? The answer for them was into the undiscovered land of death 'n' roll. In 1993, death 'n' roll was largely unheard of, until music critics and journalists used it to describe the band's third album Wolverine Blues. While it was an accurate label, it was one the band was unable to escape from.
What may seem like a generic formula now was something fresh in 1993. Mixing the heavier side of death metal with the groove and catchiness of hard rock automatically made Wolverine Blues something different. Now, when a band does anything different, fans are bound to get their panties in a bunch. Entombed did face slight backlash by negative Nancies that didn't want to have a good time with their music.
Sections of "Eyemaster" and "Rotten Soil" pulsate with the soul of the first two albums, though they are tucked between mid-tempo, bouncy melodies. It's hard to listen to a tune like the title track and resist the deep urge to engage in spastic dancing. Simple and direct is Entombed's slogan on this album, and it works in memorable songs like "Out of Hand."
A move into death 'n' roll was not a hindrance when it came to musical ability. The guitar solos rip hard on "Demon" and "Blood Song," and the drums have a loud presence in the mix. Nicke Andersson's fills on "Hollowman" is adequate air drumming material. The band may have inched away from the evil, unbearable noise, but the intensity is still burning within these ten songs.
The whole death 'n' roll sound would not be some one-off diversion. It became what Entombed would be known for by many metal fans, and they embraced this new direction. Wolverine Blues was one of the first albums to properly bring rock 'n' roll grooves into death metal, and Entombed are trailblazers for doing so. For Entombed taking a calculated risk by being a death 'n' roll album from a prominent death metal band, Wolverine Blues gets the nod for this week's Retro Recommendation.