I almost feel weird having to write any kind of essay about the following band and record. Along with early Morbid angel, this album is undoubtedly the most influential death metal album of all time. I speak of course about the debut Entombed LP from 1990, "Left Hand Path". Where would modern metal be without this album? I don't even want to think about it. In a single year this masterpiece defined an entire scene and style, and created a springboard for hundreds of imitators. This IS Swedish metal of death. Nothing comes close, nothing ever will. A recent acquisition via eBay, this is an original pressing on black wax. Earache Records #21.
Like I said in my post about the recent Nihilist reissue a couple of weeks back, I find it a little tricky actually saying that I am a fan of early Entombed when 90% of this album was written when the band were still producing and playing music under that first banner. Obviously this album brought the band to the masses, and of course this recording is the more widely regarded one, but you can't go past the charm of those Nihilist demos. Given enough proper thought though, I think that the clearer, more precise recording present on this release is vastly superior, and the very fact that this album represented the first time that all of these fantastic songs were available together in the one place really cemented Entombed as the rightful torch bearers in terms of the definition of the Swedish death metal sound. Nihilist is good when I am in the mood. "Left Hand Path" is fucking great every single time I spin it.
I wish there was more to really showcase with the packaging of this album, but as is the case with every early Earache release, there's not too much to it really. Simple, glossy sleeve (it's note worthy that this one I have is more or less in near mint condition), basic black and white insert with liner notes etc, and stock standard Earache badging on the actual vinyl centre label. Superior and iconic artwork by Dan Seagrave though, that I could look at forever.
You just simply cannot go past this album in terms of formative, classic death metal. The simple, hooky melodic structures, the iconic buzz saw guitar tone, LG's pure death metal growl. One thing that tuns me off of the majority of the popularised American approach is the overly technical proficiency in the guitar work, the use of triggered drums, and the general attitude of a lot of those early guys. Most notably in the case of Trey Azagthoth and Morbid Angel. It got to the point with that band where it was more or less just about being the best and nothing less. What I like about Entombed and the Swedish style is the more organic feel to the writing and recording. There's a much more punk feel to this album than the other big acts (more than likely why my favourite American band is Autopsy I might add too), and a much more humble, timeless feel in turn.