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Monday, June 7, 2010

Rockin' Out: Entombed @ Gramercy Theatre 06/02/10

I first heard Entombed back in 1993 when I got a cassette sampler from Earache Records/Columbia Records (an indie and major label pairing that still makes me scratch my head, but some amazing records were released during that joint venture like Cathedral's Ethereal Mirror, Fudge Tunnel's Creep Diets, Godflesh's Selfless, Carcass' Heartwork and Napalm Death's Fear, Emptiness, Despair). The song "Hollowman" was on the sampler and after hearing it, I rushed out and bought the EP by the same name. The EP was just an appetizer to what would prove to be an amazing main course with the landmark death metal album Wolverine Blues.

Most death metal purists would probably tell you that the first two Entombed releases, Left Hand Path and Clandestine are the best, but in my opinion, Wolverine Blues is more influential and quite frankly, simply more fun to listen to. The first two albums are definitive death metal releases that are highly influential in the underground metal world, but with Wolverine Blues, Entombed created the "death n' roll" style that would turn out to be even more influential. It would also be their crowning achievement as they have not been able to top it. Death metal with a groove and vocals that allowed the listener to somewhat understand the lyrics was a pretty bold move at the time and I commend Entombed for making it.

Having been a fan of Entombed for 17 years and never having gotten the opportunity to see them live before made this show a real treat. I was very happy to hear the title track to Wolverine Blues as well as my favorite song from the album, "Demon" early on in their set. The hour and 15 minute set included songs from Left Hand Path, later albums like Morning Star (a great post-Wolverine Blues release) and even more Wolverine Blues' tracks. It was a constant barrage of sound, but seemed to breeze by in a matter of mere moments. I was especially impressed that while they are now a four-piece, guitarist Alex Hellid manages to keep that monster guitar sound they got when there was another guitarist in the band. Singer LG Petrov's steady diet of booze and cigarettes apparently keeps his brutal vocals up to snuff because he sounds more intense than most younger vocalists emulating his style. The drummer and bassist are not original members, but they were more than competent players who held down Entombed's trademark rhythm and intense grooves.

Like I did earlier this year when I saw Kreator, the teenager in me took over and I had to push my way to the front and join the fun. My drink got spilled a little (OK, a lot), but otherwise I managed to walk away unscathed except for a little bit of an ache in my jaw from the permagrin I was sporting.

[P.S. My photos from this show are more atrocious that normal, but Brooklyn Vegan has some AMAZING ones up, so head here to see those.]

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