Entombed - Left Hand Path
Earache Records
Death Metal
10 songs (39:51)
Release year: 1990
Entombed, Earache Records
Reviewed by Goat

Stripping Death Metal to its Punkish base and adding a hefty dose of bile, Entombed’s debut is a cornerstone of Death Metal. Taking a more blunt and brutal route than giants of the time like Morbid Angel and Death, influenced more by the early Earache classics like Napalm Death and Bolt Thrower, this album defined the Swedish Death Metal style and set a benchmark that’s rarely been beaten since, by Entombed or anyone. The brilliance of Left Hand Path is best summed up by the album opener, the fantastically epic title track. From LG Petrov’s descending scream as he falls into the cover art abyss to the crushing guitar tone, this is Entombed’s finest hour, catchy riffs pulverising you to dust as the six-minute track plays out to perfection, an ambient section towards the end complimenting Lars-Goran’s sick vocals and highlighting the sheer horrific evil in the album’s atmosphere.

People nowadays throw words like ‘evil’ around all the time, but back in 1990 with Death Metal in its infancy, few were ready for such an outright statement of intent as Left Hand Path. Once you’ve exhausted yourself headbanging, the sheer ominous tones of the guitar are incredible, as much Doom as Death. With excellent backing from then-drummer Nicke Andersson, hardly masterful yet about as technical as it was possible to be for the time, the album continues without a dull moment. The fantastically heavy likes of Drowned are as kickass as Death Metal gets, Revel In Flesh alone causing more neck damage in these parts than all of Entombed’s subsequent releases put together. Moments such as When Life Has Ceased rival Obituary’s Cause Of Death for sheer atmospheric terror, and even Napalm Death themselves couldn’t top the brutality of the production on their big Death Metal effort, Harmony Corruption.

Considering that the average age of Entombed’s band members at the time was seventeen to eighteen years old, it’s easy to forget any naysayers whining pathetically about a certain samey-ness that arises in the second half of the album – were you redefining an entire genre and making your country the toast of the underground at that age? Unlike most early Earache releases, Left Hand Path is fantastically easy to listen to even for newcomers, that big, fat guitar tone grabbing you and never letting go, and such Classic Metal elements as the soloing making this far from the strange beast that Death Metal is usually painted as. You can even hear the roots of the band’s future Rock-influenced sound in the catchy yet crushing Abnormally Deceased.

Returning to Dan Seagrave’s cover art, the strange blue-tinted forest atop a chasm, a tombstone to the left leaking yellow bile, it’s hard to think of another band whose artwork so sums up the music within. The artwork is as classic as the album, an invitation to another realm, another world. Dare you walk the left hand path? This is a vital release in every way.

Killing Songs :
All, especially the title track
Goat quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Entombed that we have reviewed:
Entombed - Wolverine Blues reviewed by Charles and quoted CLASSIC
Entombed - Serpent Saints - The Ten Amendments reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Entombed - Unreal Estate reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Entombed - Clandestine reviewed by Jack and quoted 95 / 100
Entombed - Morning Star reviewed by Danny and quoted 94 / 100
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