Entrails – Obliteration
Not everything that glitters is gold, someone once said. This is painfully obvious when listening to Obliteration, the Metal Blade debut from resurrected Swedish death metallers Entrails. We are so used to the label releasing stellar records left, right and centre that when one comes along that stinks up the place, it comes as a bit of a shock. But for a few (barely) redeeming factors, Entrails have dropped a clanger. A big, gory, death metal clanger.
Everything seems great before the play button has even been pressed; Swedish, death metal, sick artwork. Two tracks deep into Obliteration and things start to turn sour. It’s not often that death metal is this predictable and entirely unremarkable. Every track bar the first two and the finale have the exact same formula of riff; verse riff, riff, verse riff, after a few tracks it’s laughable in its transparency. There’s probably even a drinking game in there somewhere. Throw an absolutely rank rhythm guitar tone into the fray and things get worse. It sounds like someone tried to emulate the infamous Entombed buzzsaw but added every filter imaginable, reducing it to fuzzy gibberish. Extreme metal in any shape or form should not be this much of a burden to listen to.
The two opening tracks save this from the bargain bin but only just. They have some smart sing-a-longs (someone screaming “Murder” repeatedly doesn’t actually happen enough in metal) and contain lead guitars that are as rich and full sounding as the rhythms are flat. It’s ridiculous how very little of the music here is given the attention it deserves, the rest is left to flounder. The death march that closes “Epitome Of Death” and the power metal style leads in “Beyond The Flesh” remove some salt from the wound that is Obliteration but not enough. The band’s moniker is pretty fitting as one can’t help but picture them clawing at their own guts, trying vigorously to stuff everything back in. It won’t save them though. Not even Doc McStuffins and her smorgasbord of treatments could fix this.
Entrails’ Obliteration gets…
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed
A certain famed absurdist comedy troupe once used a phrase that will echo across all time as the calling for a totally uncalled-for and bizarre transition, such as, perhaps, the one that happens when in a set of reviews the subject switches from Swedish death metal to Belgian atmospheric black metal: “and now, for something completely different.”
This group of comedic pioneers, Monty Python, left a huge mark on the ever-shifting landscape of humor, becoming a constant standard against which satirical and absurdist humor may be judged. They’re quite similar in this way to the king of atmospheric black metal, Weakling’s oft-toted masterpiece, Dead As Dreams. And just as many comedic acts have come up in Monty Python’s wake since they left the scene, providing an acceptable-if-not-as-enjoyable alternative, so too does Wiegedood provide an acceptable alternative to Weakling on their debut album, De Doden Hebben Het Goed (Dutch for “The Dead Have It Good”).
Weigedood has a respectable and sensible approach to atmospheric black metal, and they have a solid output, but unfortunately, they get bogged down in the same places so many other bands in the genre do. The riffs carry on for a bit too long, everything is slightly too cookie-cutter to be compelling for more than short bursts, and the vocals either override everything or are buried too deep in the mix to be worth listening for. It’s a very been-there-done-that experience, which hampers what could be an enjoyable album with a burden of familiarity. Their track “Kwaad Bloed”, the second on the album, is a short and savage track, and here, the band is absolutely on point. If the band chooses to trim down and focus on the aggression, as they do on this song, their next album could be an absolute doozy of a record.
Overall, De Doden Hebben Het Goed is moderately enjoyable, but the familiarity and somewhat-derivative feel of the record leaves a bad taste in the mouth, since they do nothing to stray from the common affairs of the genre.
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed gets…
Gutter Instinct – The Insurrection
Gutter Instinct are Swedish, play death metal and their EP has sick artwork. However, they perform with an urgency and fervor that make all 17 minutes of The Insurrection a pleasurable experience, much unlike anything above. As a relatively new act, their attack and bite shines through sterling production and, in just four tracks, they cover enough ground to put them on many a radar. It’s funny how two acts so similar at face value can be so disparate when it really comes down to it. This EP is not without its faults but the four tracks contained within are snappy and succinct enough for fans of all kinds of metal.
Everything gets going with a huge wailing siren that might actually be a guitar, it’s hard to tell. “War Command” is cruel to a point where tremolo picking and beastly vocals feel aimed directly at the listener. Gutter Instinct focus all of the momentum of this track into a groove so huge that it’s derivative of Pantera at their swaggering best. Much like the Southern riff gods, the bass crunches under guitars that are pinpoint precise from the mid to high end. When necessary though, the low end never drops out and when chugging along, everything still sounds sharp. This only aides what could be called a natural progression between riffs throughout the duration of this EP. Except for one surprising half time jolt in “We Hate You”, each section whips into the next and never loses steam. The unforgiving nature of this can get a bit tiring but, at this early stage it’s forgivable that the band want to come out all drums blazing.
The Insurrection is a splendid debut of death metal goodness. The 80’s Slayer throwback solo in “The Invisible Hand” and every growled, demonic lyric are just what’s needed after forcing oneself to listen to something as uninspired as the album above. Gutter Instinct should be releasing a full length later this year and if what they have created here is anything to go by, there’ll be sirens ringing around the death metal world. Not everything that glitters is gold, but some of that which glitters is fucking sweet.
Gutter Instinct’s The Insurrection gets…