Entombed
Serpent Saints - The Ten Amendments

Old logo? Yup. Old Seagrave-ish cover? Yup. A pissed off LG Petrov? Yup. Blastbeats? Yup. ‘That” guitar tone? Yup. A complete return to form?…

Almost.

Truth is a much as I revere Entombed’s classic first two albums and have yet to really appreciate the much lauded Wolverine Blues, I really haven’t paid Entombed that much attention. Heck with only two original members from Left Hand Path and a distinct stylistic shift away from death metal, the only album that even registered with me was Morningstar-a half hearted attempt to recreate Wolverine Blues with Clandestine’s production.

In a nutshell, if Entombed had released Serpent Saints, their ninth studio album, as the album in between Clandestine and Wolverine Blues, where it stylistically fits in, I would have been far more forgiving of Wolverine Blues’ shift.

In my humble opinion, Serpent Saints is the most aggressive and more death metal based album since Clandestine, but still has some grimy death and roll mixed in, less punk, less forced primal tones, less quirk, less bullshit and just beefy, mid range nihilism and anti religious themes. The production is as close to Wolverine Blues as I’ve heard the band in their last few albums (Morningstar was almost synthetically forced to sound like the Entombed of old), and gave me goosebumps.

The killer opening title track is the best track the band has penned since Clandestine/Wolverine Blues and could have fit on either album. With its eerie piano opening and shows LG Petrov as ‘death metal’ and antagonistic as he has ever been and “Masters of Death” seems to cement the band’s direction on this album with direct name spewing homage to the likes of Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Repulsion, Necrophagia and Xecutioner as well as name dropping many classic albums and being a downright old school death/grind track in its own right. “Amok” sees the band take the first of a couple missteps, but gets righted with the familiar rumble and roll of “Thy Kingdom Come” and the the album’s other highlight, “When In Sodom”. “In The Blood” is the other loping misstep, though a brooding groover, it’s a bit forced and goes on a bit too long. “The Dead, The Dying and the Dying to be Dead” is another killer track with blasts, grooves and a killer chorus while “Warfare, Plague, Famine, Death” is a wrecking ball of burly death ‘n’ roll that sees Entombed certainly as ‘back’ as they have ever been.

Unfortunately, Serpent Saints ends on a bit of a downer with atmospheric outro “Love Song For Lucifer” but ultimately, Serpent Saints is hands down the best album since Clandestine or Wolverine Blues depending on how you rate the later, either way, the band is partially back in my graces, but still will never be looked at with reverence as they once were.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 30th, 2007

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