I’m gonna assume that most of you reading this are already up to speed on the drama surrounding the band formerly known as “Entombed”, and why BACK TO THE FRONT is being released under the “Entombed A.D.” moniker. For those of you who haven’t received your current issue of “Swedish Death n’ Roll Drama Weekly”, here’s the short version: Last original member/guitarist/other guy besides Nicke Andersson and Uffe Cederlund with actual songwriting credits, Alex Hellid had a tiff with original vocalist/guy who didn’t write much of anything ever, LG Petrov, and split in 2013. But why should that stop Petrov from carrying on with whoever else comprised what was left of Entombed at the time on his own? Legal stuff, that’s what. So carrying on in true rock star drama BS fashion, Petrov tacked on “A.D.” to the end of Entombed, jacked the logo a little bit and released this doozy of an album in the hopes of nobody paying attention. Can you tell where this is all going???
I’ll cut to the chase – BACK TO THE FRONT is boring, uninspired, and sounds like a second rate Entombed clone trying to recreate what their idols seem to do so effortlessly.
“Kill to Live” starts promisingly enough; spooky intro, a cool opening riff, and that guitar tone that (almost) every Swedish death metal band has tried to replicate since 1989. The crawling, mid-tempo crunch seems like it’d be the ideal choice to open the album with if it picked up any kind of real momentum or direction, but aside from a brief guitar solo, the track just kind of shuffles its feet for the duration. And unfortunately so does most of the rest of BACK TO THE FRONT. Save for salvageable moments like “Waiting for Death”, “Pandemic Rage”, and “The Underminer”, BACK TO THE FRONT is riddled with tepid, mid-tempo yawners that ride the same 4/4 drum beats and the same recycled riffs into mind numbing mediocrity. And while Petrov has never been the most dexterous vocalist in the scene, he sounds particularly one dimensional on BACK TO THE FRONT, opting for the same toneless, spoken growl across the album’s 11 tracks. I wish there were more to say about it, but there’s not. BACK TO THE FRONT is worse than just boring, it’s a colossal step backwards for Entombed/Entombed A.D./Whatever the f@#k you want to call them today.
BACK TO THE FRONT is disappointing on a number of levels, but mostly for those Entombed fans who stuck through the band’s evolution into WOLVERINE BLUES, through the leaner times around UPRISING, and through the redemption of INFERNO and SERPENT SAINTS. Say what you will about any of Entombed’s post-WOLVERINE BLUES product, but you can’t fault them on originality or character. BACK TO THE FRONT kinda sorta sounds like what you’d expect an Entombed record to sound like, but beneath the surface, it’s a poorly assembled imitation of a band you used to love.
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