As the end of the decade is drawing nearer, it is time to look back a bit and think what albums really made a difference. One of the very first to come to mind is “The Tomb Awaits” by Entrails. Released in 2011, that mucker set the standard to upcoming years, rich with quality Death Metal. Shit, there has been without a doubt more Death Metal around in 2010 than there was in the heyday of the genre, than there was in the early 1990’s ever! Some of it has been less great, but a lot of them have been gems too. Immortal and without a doubt standing the test of time. Still, very few could reach the neck breaking, riff loaded, utter monsterish quality that Entrails did with their second one. It simply did not have a weak riff in it. A studio album that is better than majority of best-of compilations from current Death Metal bands could ever be.
Having such a winning record under your belt in the very early stages of a band’s career, has an unfortunate negative effect to it as well. Everything released after will be always compared to your landmark album, becoming a monument of your very own making. Such is the case with Entrails too. Since the “The Tomb Awaits“, I at least have been waiting for them to deliver a twin to match it, but so far the task has seemed to be an enormous mountain to climb. After the original line-up that recorded the first Entrails albums fell apart, the constant changes in line-up have not made the mission at hand any easier I suppose.
But don’t get me wrong. The albums after have not been weak. Far from it, actually. Especially the 2017 release “World Inferno“, which was only a slight nudge away from a dead on perfect Swedish Death Metal record. It had it all – the super catchy, highly moshable pit-pleasers of riffs Jimmy Lundqvist seems to be able to pull out from his pockets with ease, monstrous vocals, that perverse sounding drum tone Entrails have made a signature for themselves with, and an unstoppable momentum which makes Metal records great. Maybe it did not have the vastness of the dynamics “The Tomb Awaits” had, but it sure was not too far away from spot on perfection either.
So, having my hopes for the follow up of “World Inferno” high would be an understatement. After all, Entrails have been one of my very favourites in the field of Death Metal in this decade and if the new one is even better than the previous one… Well, you get the drift. Typical fan-boy babble that is. Jumping up and down in excitement to finally hear the new one. Unfortunately the promo of “Rise of the Reaper” did not reach the TMW headquarters any earlier, so here we are, after the actual album release itself, loaded with some grain alcohol, hair out, and ready to launch a one man moshpit in the living room. So here goes… Ignition!
“Rise of the Reaper” opens up with a menacing and somewhat cinematic intro, until the first proper track “For Hell” takes off. Slight melodic passages and that steadfast roll onward reminds the listener of Dismember. “Miscreation” opens up with a doomy intro and some keyboards layered in the background for atmosphere. Actually, there’s plenty of that to follow. “Rise of the Reaper” seems to have that doom and gloom quality in it far more than many of their earlier releases. That ugly, nocturnal pulse. The horror movie feel of dramatic and dreadful things about to happen. Torches, tombstones and cobwebs. I’m sure you know. Yet there’s more. “Destruction” is the most Thrash metallic tune on the album and stands out with ease. This seems like the most natural sound for Jimmy to operate in. Yet, the absolute best has been left to last as two final tracks on the album suddenly open up a whole new chapter in dynamics. “Evils of the Night” is almost Grindcore, as it surges through the speakers with the rare treat for Entrails – full on blastbeat. As “Cathedral of Pain” proves out to be nothing short of a perfected Death Doom track, Cathedral (pun intended) would have been proud of. The album ends with a bit of a peculiar aftertaste. Could it have all been as great as these two last tracks were?
To sum it all up, “Rise of the Reaper” definitely has a wider range of tools in use than a couple of previous Entrails albums have had. There’s slightly more melodies (far from Melo-Death still!), and a wider range of different tempos between songs. Especially that occasional blastbeat, which is a nice bonus to the steady, Punk paced Death Metal Entrails usually offers, and that last full song of utter colossal Death Doom is by far the best tune on the album. Almost the best tune in their recorded discography too! Yet, this is not “The Tomb Awaits“. Not even “World Inferno”. Maybe this is Entrails on their way to something new? Who knows, but this really feels like an album released in between things A and B. Rock solid, but not like the masterpieces they have been able to create in the past. Treading water and trying out new things. “Rise of the Reaper” is also my relationship with Swedish Death Metal compressed into one album.
They sure have not cared too much for originality, the Swedes, but they always deliver quality at the same time. That coin has always two sides. You sure know what you are getting when buying a Swedish Death Metal album, but it rarely surprises you either. It’s hard to get super excited, even when you like a lot what of you hear. So, if you are a fan of that sound, you can sure add to the score I have given to “Rise of the Reaper”. As this is it – Swedish Death Metal to the heart of it. And even though “Rise of the Reaper” has started to show definite signs of evolving from the core sound of theirs (or the whole Swede DM-scene even!) with the enhanced melodies and more abrupt dynamics, I still would have hoped the album to be a bit more like the last two songs were. Even more unpredictable.
Yet, as stated – this is Swedish HM-2 gore in full glory, and at this point in their careers it is safe to say that Entrails are on the top of that game. It’s all about song writing, not just replicating the sound like so many have done.
Rating – 3.5/5