Silliness. Pure fucking silliness. Not this album itself, but the bullshit surrounding it. For those unfamiliar with the situation, essentially LG Petrov says that Miller Lite “tastes great,” while Alex Hellid is convinced that the American beer’s #1 attribute is that it’s “less filling.” Bandmates of nearly 30 years, the pair agreed to disagree on this matter, but things really started to boil over when Petrov went on record stating that toilet paper rolls should be placed over —the “6” formation, if you will— in the dispenser, while Hellid vehemently defends the under position. “It should be like a 9, godammit,” the guitarist recently told Metalpenisfucker.com. “A 9 is more fucking evil! Just ask King Diamond!” “Bullshit,” the vocalist fired back on Extrememusicassram.org. “A 6 is a fucking 9! An inverted 9 is even more evil, motherfuckers!” This dispute has caused a seemingly unrepairable rift in the Entombed camp, and since both gents own the rights to the name, we have this whole Back to the Front fiasco. Petrov intended on using the moniker for this LP —which was already finished and being promoted in the Fall of 2013— but Hellid apparently needs it for the carpool lane. So, after months of legal battles, now we have Entombed A.D. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, wouldn’t you say? What’s worse, this record is now faced with the unenviable task of overpowering the drama attached to it. For the most part, it succeeds. Look, I gave up on the hope of another Left Hand Path a long time ago. (That’d be like expecting Slayer’s forthcoming Nuclear Blast album to be another Reign in Blood. Isn’t gonna happen.) At this stage of the game, expecting another Wolverine Blues would probably be a tall order, but I wouldn’t mind another Uprising, or even an Inferno. Based on those expectations, Back to the Front not only delivers but exceeds. Basically Serpent Saints minus the goofiness, the majority of these songs charge hard and hit heavy. The patented Death ‘n’ Roll style this group has steadily been rebuilding since disastrous career-low Same Difference comes to fruition here. Tracks like “Bedlam Attack,” “Pandemic Rage,” “Second to None,” “Bait and Bleed,” and “The Vulture and the Traitor” combine stomping Punkish energy with headbobbable groove, and then there’s the left-field Thrash assault of “The Underminer.” Of course, it helps that LG sounds equal parts pissed and focused. This might be his most straightforward vocal performance since those glorious early ’90s, while guitarist Nico Elgstrand occasionally pays homage to the period with a melodic lick or two of his own. But let’s hold off on that Left Hand Path II stamp for now. It’s a fair enough compliment to acknowledge that this is the best Entombed record in 10 years, and more so that it is an Entombed record. Fuck the dumb shit.
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