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Entombed Interview

A Conversation With Vocalist L.G. Petrov




Candlelight Records
The Swedish band Entombed got together in the late ‘80s, and their debut full-length Left Hand Path was a groundbreaker in death metal. Over the years the band has gotten away from pure death metal and their style today is more death and roll. Serpent Saints: The Ten Amendments has been out for a while in Europe and was recently released in the U.S. I spoke with the band’s frontman, L.G. Petrov about the new album, whether Entombed will be touring the U.S., and his early days in music.

Chad Bowar: How has the response to Serpent Saints been so far?
L.G. Petrov: It’s been great. It’s back to the old school.

When you went into writing the album, did you plan on making it more old school, or is that just how things turned out?
We recorded it in different places, including our own rehearsal room, so it was bound to turn out old school, as we wanted it to.

What led to the departure of guitarist Uffe Cederlund?
I don’t know, really. He didn’t enjoy playing the music. It turned out to be a bad relationship. It was for the best.

Are there plans to add a second guitarist, or will you remain as a four piece?
For the moment Alex (Hellid) is going to handle all the guitars. In the future we might get another guitarist. There are a lot of good guitarists here in Sweden, but you have to fit mentally as well. We have to get the right person.

You released the EP When In Sodom last year. Were the songs on Serpent Saints part of the same recording sessions?
Serpent Saints was originally scheduled to be released when the EP came out, but we didn’t have all the songs ready. We had to put out something, so we put out the five songs we had ready at the time. We told everybody that we were going to put out an album on 6/6/06, but lazy as we are, it didn’t come out. We had a lot of shows at the time, so we didn’t have the time to be at home and focus 100 percent on the album.

Entombed has been together for 20 years now. Has your songwriting process changed much over the years?
Before it was mostly me, Alex and Uffe that did most of the writing. But now that we are a four piece everybody gets more involved. Before there was one or two people doing most of the songs, but now it is all four of us. Normally I just sing, but for this album I came up with a couple of riffs and even do one solo guitar part.

What is the significance of the title Serpent Saints?
People trying to be saints are often doing it wrong, so they turn out to be serpents instead, doing more evil than good. People hide their evil deeds behind the good things. It sometimes turns out bad when people are trying to be good. It’s about our personal freedom: do what you want and don’t think about anybody else. It’s basically the things we’ve always written about. Don’t push people into believing what you believe. We hate politics. We don’t care.

Is there a chance Entombed will come to the U.S. to tour in the near future?
We’ve been on our way a couple of times, but it always ends with broken contracts and people don’t keep promises that they make. But if we find somebody serious, we are happy to go over there. We just want to get over there and play. All the visas and work permits are difficult, but if can find somebody that really wants to put on a proper tour, we would be glad to do it.

You’ve been doing a lot of festivals this summer. What are your tour bus essentials?
We haven’t had tour buses lately. We are mostly flying to the shows. We are doing some shows in Finland, and we have a small, ugly green bus van. We fit all the equipment and eight people in there. I’m usually driving. We’re doing it small and cheap. Tour buses are nice, and we have them on longer tours.

How did you get started in music?
I was into the Sex Pistols and the punk scene. Then there was the crossover thing with Suicidal Tendencies. Then I started listening to Iron Maiden and Motorhead. I played drums in the beginning and had a couple of bands at school. Nobody wanted us to play anywhere because to them it sounded like noise. Then we started Nihilist, which turned into Entombed. We were there at the right time and right place and came up with Left Hand Path and that unique guitar sound.

When you release such an influential album so early in your career, is it difficult to try to live up to it with subsequent albums?
No. We always tried to do good albums, but once you’ve done an album, you know you’ve done it. You don’t have to prove yourself. We just take it day by day and are happy to have been able to play music for so long.

There have been so many great Swedish metal bands. Who do you think are the best?
I like the old school, like Dismember, Unleashed, Grave, bands like that. The Haunted are really great.

What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the music industry?
There are a lot more bands now. Before you did demos and stuff and it was tough to get a studio. Now you can record digitally and put your own CD out. But with the quantity, the quality goes down a little bit. The music is the same. Many bands are forming just to get on the radio. What I don’t like is when you have the dark vocals, and then when you get to the chorus there are singing vocals. I don’t get into that style very much. If you do it, do it all the way, not mix different styles. I prefer one or the other. Maybe I’m just getting old. (laughs)

Do you have a day job, or are you able to make a living playing music?
I manage to survive on the music. When we don’t have shows I work a little bit with my friend’s moving company. It helps me keep in shape and I’m not sitting at home going crazy.

What CD or song on your MP3 player might surprise us?
I don’t have an MP3 player. Just today I listened to Kim Wilde’s first album. (She was a British pop star).

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