Friday, 21 March 2014

Entombed - Left Hand Path

ENTOMBED - Left Hand Path (EARACHE - LP 1991)
In many interviews you can hear the question “what are you favourite albums ever?!”. And usually I agree with the answer that technically it is damn hard or even almost impossible to name just five or ten favourite and very best LPs, simply because there are many, many more. But I think I can say that there are several titles, which are like a 100% sure candidates to be on this “best ever” list… Mainly they are the albums, which I have known for many, many years, probably since the days of early 90’s, when I started to listen to this noise. So, speaking only about death metal I would certainly mention such “Altars of Madness”, “Deicide”, “Like an Ever Flowing Stream”, “Testimony of the Ancients”, “False”, “Into the Grave”, “The Nocturnal Silence”… and this one; Entombed’s finest piece and their debut record “Left Hand Path”. Yeah, this certainly is one of the best CLASSIC albums, which I’ve been worshipping for over 20 years now and will do so until I die. No matter how much everything around me is changing; the life, world and even the metal music… albums like “Left Hand Path” remain brilliant and perfect.
I’m not going to write about the importance of Nihilist’s demos and later also of the Entombed’s debut album on the creation of the scene, the sound – or even the whole movement, which was the Swedish death metal. There were so many publications, which described everything perfectly, that there is simply no point. Everyone should know by now what happened back then in Stockholm and what “Left Hand Path” really is standing for. I guess that instead I should rather write how important is this album for me… But again, would I write anything new? No, this LP has marked a sign on thousands of maniacs and it still does, I guess, seeing how many new bands and new fans are praising Entombed from this period of their career. I was only 11 years old, when I got a pirate cassette of “Left Hand Path (released by Polish pirate label Baron – good old days hehe)… And I guess that in the beginning I didn’t even like it so much, because it wasn’t as brutal and fast as Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide or Sinister. But obviously later, with years passing by, I started to like it more and more and nowadays I see this LP as simply amazing, one of the best death metal materials ever released. No doubt about that!
When I listen to “Left Hand Path” nowadays it feels like listening to “the best of…” kind of thing, as basically almost every song is a killer and immortal classic. It’s the same with all these albums, which I have mentioned above, they all are complete and contain only killer stuff… “Left Hand Path” is no different; every song is so memorable, so fantastic… And obviously Entombed has never even got close to repeat and write such excellent material again; even their second LP “Clandestine” – which obviously is also very good – isn’t as great as the debut. Why is that? I don’t know why the debut albums of so many bands are their best ever. Was it the passion and enthusiasm of the young band or they simply had more time to prepare killer material, which was often selected from various demo recordings? “Left Hand Path” for that matter contains some songs from the Nihilist era and obviously also from Entombed’s only demo “But Life Goes On”. No surprise then that there are so many brilliant and instantly recognisable classics. Anyway, the truth is that the whole “Left Hand Path” with all its ten songs is perfection. A perfection in every aspect. Starting with the artwork… Damn, look at their killer logo and that bloody excellent painting done by Dan Seagrave… Not only the music turned out to be the most influential and immortal ever, but even the artwork for the album is like that! Seagrave did many excellent paintings for death metal bands, but this one is in my top three favourites, if not even his best one ever. Plus that logo… Entombed’s photo with that cross in the background? OK., maybe Dismember had more blood on their photo session for the debut LP, but this one is also great. The production… Damn, this is the band, which created the whole fuckin Swedish sound! Thanks to them we had a chance to hear this fat, crunchy, powerful and so characteristic guitar tone, very low tuned… rough, but clean hehe! Even the vocals of L.G.Petrov are kind of unique and different to the typical death grunts.
“Left Hand Path” is filled with brilliant songs, with absolutely no fillers to be found anywhere. The opening song is their best EVER, with some amazing guitar riffs, great eerie, horror atmosphere and that finishing motif, where Entombed used that awesome melody from “Phantasm” horror movie… It sounds… well, I dare to say it is one of the best things, which I have heard in my life. But then we have more monsters: “Drowned”, “Revel in Flesh”, “Supposed to Rot”, “But Life Goes On”, “Morbid Devourment”, “When Life Has Ceased” – isn’t that a dream tracklist? They all have something significant, something memorable, some hooks / riffs, vocal parts… whatever, what makes you remember and love them. More so, if you have a CD version then you get two killer bonus tracks, also composed in the good old Nihilist days. Yes, definitely this album is brilliant. It sounds damn vicious, it is dark and aggressive, often fast, but with lots of diversity and it has this classic D-beat, which originates from bands such as Amebix, Discharge, etc... and Autopsy! Yes; this is how the Swedish death metal was born; after several demos “Left Hand Path” came and nothing was the same anymore. I cannot believe it’s been so many years since this LP was released and that it still sounds so damn fresh, so damn awesome and is still so influential, now for new generation of death metal bands. This is what you call a “cult / classic record”! No collection is complete without “Left Hand Path” in it, it is a fact.
Rest in festering slime!
Standout tracks: “Left Hand Path”, “Drowned”, “Revel in Flesh”, “Supposed to Rot”, “But Life Goes On”, “Morbid Devourment”, “When Life Has Ceased”
Final rate: 100/100

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