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Review: Entombed - Clandestine

Label: Earache Records
Year released: 1992
Duration: 43:39
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: February 28, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4.61/5 (92.11%) (76 Votes)

This is it, folks, this is the proverbial be-all, end-all. Entombed get a lot of flack these days for the way they sound now, and that’s because the way they used to sound was so fucking cool. Entombed came out of nowhere in 1991 with their debut "Left Hand Path" and kicked pretty much everybody’s ass with it. Nobody thought they could possibly top it, but they turned around and cranked out "Clandestine" a year later like it was no big deal. Some people say "Left Hand Path" is better, those people are high. While their debut showed a thrashier, more Slayer-eque sound, "Clandestine" is death metal all the way.

The album opens up with the crushing "Living Dead" and lays down the sound and style to follow. "Clandestine" is full of complex, brutal riffs so twisted and weird they’re almost deformed. The songs rumble and crunch along like misshapen behemoths that grab your throat and force your head to bang. "Sinners Bleed" carries on in the same vein, so much so it’s hard to tell where the first two songs on the album are separated. Then "Evilyn" comes snarling out of the speakers – the heaviest Entombed song ever. This song, along with "Crawl" established that Entombed could do what no one else could: they could play heavy as fuck and still groove. "Left Hand Path" had established the trademarked buzzsaw guitar sound, and on "Clandestine" it was given full play, but with a deeper bottom end that gives it a fuller sound. Like it or not, Entombed never sounded better than on this CD. From the razor-edge riff on "Blessed Be" to the thundering "Chaos Breed", this thing just rules.

When it came out, "Clandestine" set a new standard for death metal, giving the Swedish scene a kick in the ass it has never really recovered from. Every Swedish death band since has tried to outdo this album, and in eleven years nobody has yet managed it. As good as At The Gates’ "Slaughter of the Soul" is, as good as Amon Amarth’s "Avenger" is, they are just treading in the footsteps of the mighty Entombed.

The CD has a very cool cover painting by the great Dan Seagrave, band photos, and lyrics. (Not bad lyrics either.) Historical note: The vocal credit on this album is given to one Johnny Dordevic, but this is untrue. Dordevic joined the band but apparently had problems getting a long-term visa from his native Yugoslavia. He appears in the album photos, and performed in the video for "Stranger Aeons", but he never actually recorded with the band. Vocal duties on "Clandestine" were handled (and handled well!) by Nicke Andresson.

This is a landmark in death metal, still unequalled after all this time. For those of you who wonder what’s the big deal with Entombed: this is the big deal, and no death metal collection is truly complete without it.

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