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I've tried very hard to get into the Swedish death metal revival that's happening these days, but I've almost totally failed. The only albums that I've really enjoyed have been by bands that were originally around back in the day and never released full-lengths, such as Evocation and Entrails. Bloodbath counts too, in a roundabout sort of way. Frankly, the new guys have the guitar tone but not much else.

Entrails' long-delayed first album, Tales from the Morgue, could match anything short of Clandestine riff for riff. I know I'm going to get flamed for that, but I'm not budging. Since I liked Tales that much, my expectations for the follow-up were unrealistic. The Tomb Awaits doesn't match its predecessor, but it is a worthy successor and a damned fine album in its own right.

"Crawling Death", for instance, lurches into existence with a stumbling zombie of a riff. "Eaten by the Dead" features a bit of tremolo riffing that would fit right in on any Amon Amarth album. "Undead" possesses the best riffs and the best vocal hook on the album, and nearly every song has a notable moment to recommend it.

If it weren't already obvious, the famous Sunlight/Swedish rusty buzzsaw guitar tone is still present and accounted for. However, Tomb ups the ante. The production is so massive that the rusty buzzsaw has grown from a little handheld Black & Decker to a building-sized sawmill. I simply cannot think of a Sunlight-style record with so much aural power, and Tomb deserves at least one listen just for the monster guitar tone.

I almost exclusively hate cover songs. I'd pay though to hear Entrails take on some other bands' songs, as long as it was for exploring how those bands would sound if they were playing through Boss HM-2s. A track from the aforementioned Amon Amarth albums would be good. Maybe some Amebix, Napalm Death, and Carcass, the old albums that suffered from muddy or thin production. Cathedral's "Utopian Blaster" and Metallica's "One" could also benefit from the Sunlight treatment.

I'm not giving up on the retro-Swedish death movement just yet. The newbies have got the tone, and that's the first critical component. I'm sure somebody will get the songs right eventually, and the payoff will be worth it. Until then, I've got Tales, Tomb, and all the trusty old classics.

— Richard Street-Jammer

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HEAR ENTRAILS

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Entrails - "Crawling Death"

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Entrails - "Undead"

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BUY THE TOMB AWAITS

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