ENTOMBED — Left Hand Path

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ENTOMBED - Left Hand Path cover
3.95 | 30 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under Death Metal


1. Left Hand Path (6:39)
2. Drowned (3:59)
3. Revel in Flesh (3:42)
4. When Life Has Ceased (4:11)
5. Supposed to Rot (2:03)
6. But Life Goes On (2:59)
7. Bitter Loss (4:22)
8. Morbid Devourment (5:25)
9. Abnormally Deceased (2:58)
10. The Truth Beyond (3:25)
11. Carnal Leftovers (2:57)
12. Premature Autopsy (4:26)

Total Time: 47:12


- Lars-Göran Petrov / Vocals
- Uffe Cederlund / Guitars and Bass
- Alex Hellid / Guitars
- Nicke Andersson / Drums and Bass

About this release

Full-length, Earache Records, May 1st, 1990

Cover artwork by Dan Seagrave.
Produced by Tomas Skogsberg and Entombed.
Engineered by Tomas Skogsberg.
Recorded and mixed at Sunlight Studio, Stockholm, December 1989.
Photos by Micke Lundström.
Design by David Windmill.
Logo by Nicke.

CD versions of the album feature the bonus tracks "Carnal Leftovers" (2:59) and "Premature
Autopsy" (4:26). The Japanese version also features the Crawl EP.

Thanks to UMUR, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Emerging from the festering swamps somewhere around present day Stockholm, the band that began under the name Nihillist which had pumped out a few demos switched gears after a couple years in the late 80s and redesigned themselves as ENTOMBED. As one of the pioneers of early Swedish death metal, ENTOMBED was riding the old school first wave along with contemporaries Dismember, Grave and Unleashed, thus making them one of the “big four” of that particular scene. While developing a unique style that has been retrospectively designated “death’n’roll,” ENTOMBED began very much a fully fueled death metal band as heard on their debut release LEFT HAND PATH which found the band creating a unique sound that has been very influential. What ENTOMBED did was fairly revolutionary for the day. They in effect took the punk infused grindcore energy and distortion overload and married it with the more thoughtful heavy constructs of bands like Death, Obituary and Morbid Angel which immediately changed the course of the entire death metal scene which from this moment would raise the bar.

The title comes from a term in Anton LaVey’s “The Satanic Bible” and lyrically the band engaged in some of the earliest forms of shock and awe with words drenched in dark misanthropy and baleful anti-religious disdain. ENTOMBED were also famous for ushering in some of the earliest buzzsaw guitar sounds which ironically along with the Satanic influences from early Celtic Frost and Slayer would find their home in the second wave of black metal and quickly disappear from the death metal scene from whence they spawned. Even ENTOMBED themselves quickly changed gears after LEFT HAND PATH and deemphasized the Satanic aspects of their music and began shifting to the new style of death’n’roll which they would also have a hand in raising the bar. While moving on quickly from their debut, LEFT HAND PATH became the blueprint for the multitude of old school death metal bands to build upon whether it be the Floridian branch of the scene or the Gothenburg melodic enterprise.

LEFT HAND PATH is a journey into distortion hell where the heavy detuned guitar chords pummel the senses with feedback and fuzz on steroids that were the result of Peavey amp abuse and customized guitar string torture. While not the first purveyor of heavy death themed thrash metal turned bad, ENTOMBED were one of the innovative few from Sweden who steered the genre in a new direction with a different style of composition that retained some of the features of old school rock’n’roll and 80s heavy metal while bands like Morbid Angel were becoming detached from those styles and veering into more surreal territories. ENTOMBED was in effect fundamentally responsible for putting Sweden on the map in the upcoming burgeoning death metal scene. Graced with eerie atmospheres and the tortured possessed vocal style of Lars-Göran Petrov, LEFT HAND PATH not only sounds like a depraved psychopath’s holiday but has moments of melodic beauty with graceful solos wisping away amongst the cacophonous din as if a dove had flown into a dark cave full of rabid bats.

Stylistically LEFT HAND PATH is a fairly monotonous listen which is the reason it took me so long to warm up to it. I have always been more partial to the albums that follow such as “Clandestine” and “Wolverine Blues,” but persistence has paid off and the secrets that are locked up behind the wall of sound have finally unleashed their presence upon me. While similar in style, structure and tone, ENTOMBED employed a rather unique method of song construct that allowed an interesting free form songwriting process. Try to predict where any of these tracks will lead and you will only go astray. The ten tracks on LEFT HAND PATH may sound similar upon first listen but careful listening will reveal how different they are when it comes to the different segments that are stitched together to create them. This is early death metal for sure. There are yet no blastbeat drum outbursts and the guitar squeals don’t rival contemporaries like Morbid Angel. Instead ENTOMBED unleashed a frightening murky mix of sonic assault with a few atmospheric keyboard embellishments to create a morbid mood setting rather than technical prowess. While it has taken me a while to fully appreciate the innovation that LEFT HAND PATH unleashed unto the world, i have to admit that once it sunk in, it has comfortable dug itself deep into me in ways unexpected.
This remarkably confident debut by Entombed sees the band display their own brand of death metal tinged here and there with rock 'n' roll rhythms and backed by an impressive wall of sound from their trademark buzzsaw guitars. With the album's title track gently giving way to an inspired cover version of the title theme to the movie Phantasm, the band display a mastery of a range of metal styles from death to doom to progressive, but stay mainly within their death territory, and the tight songwriting on display ensures that the album remains exciting from beginning to end. One of the best ever death metal debuts.
Left Hand Path is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Entombed. The album was released in May 1990 through Earache Records. Left Hand Path was recorded in the now legendary Sunlight Studio in Stockholm, Sweden with producer Tomas Skogsberg. There are various vinyl versions available. The original album contained 10 tracks while the CD version, and some vinyl versions, of the album contain two bonus tracks.

The music on the album is brutal yet catchy death metal. Typical Swedish death metal from that period but of the better quality. One of the things that sets most Swedish death metal bands apart from their more technical and more clinical sounding American brothers, is the way the music swing. Drummer Nicke Andersson is what I call a rock´n´roller, and even in music this intense and brutal he is able to put a lot of human emotion into his playing. I didn´t get that back then, but I see now how important his playing is to the sound on Left Hand Path. Guitarists Uffe Cederlund and Alex Hellid deliver brutal and crunchy sounding riffs but also add a solo to the songs now and again. Most notably the melodic solos that closes the title track. The vocals by Lars-Göran Petrov are brutal but not undecipherable. Bass duties are shared by Nicke Andersson and Uffe Cederlund. Many of the songs on the album were already written when Entombed went under the name Nihilist in the late eighties, and while old demo tracks re-recorded in a "real" studio sometimes come to life, I think the fact that some of the songs on Left Hand Path were already a couple of years old is audible. The songwriting is consistent as such, but some songs are very simple and lack a bit of an adventurous approach. The title track always stood out as the most interesting track on the album with it´s eerie breakdown and closing melodic soloing and I wish there were more songs like that one on the album.

The production is a typical Sunlight Studio recorded and Tomas Skogsberg produced affair. Very raw and crunchy. Probably one of his best productions from the early nineties.

Left Hand Path is pretty much the epitome of old school Swedish death metal and if you´re looking for a place to start listening to that sub genre I can recommend starting here. It´s not a perfect album IMO and the songs tend to sound a bit too much the same the longer you get into the album, but no one can take away the fierce and youthful energy of the performance or the fact that this album is widely considered a "classic" old school Swedish death metal album. I would love to give a 4 star rating to Left Hand Path but as there are some obvious flaws it´s a 3.5.

Members reviews

Good god. Death Metal was born in the late 80’s, but most of that stuff isn’t a huge leap away from extreme Thrash and Black metal of the same decade. Even the albums that had broken from carrying clear Thrash influence still sound like a genre in development. This beast sounds like it could have been released yesterday.

Entombed took one step back and two forward. They slowed down a bit, and instead of trying to outdo their peers with technical prowess or blistering intensity, dug themselves a grave and adopted a truly sepulchral sound. Insanely downtuned guitars with a sludgy buzz sound like they’re cutting through a murky swamp, while the rhythm section lays tight and varying beats that pound at a steady mid-tempo (by extreme metal standards). The vocals are the deepest growls laid to record by 1990, and there is a very cold, grave atmosphere that runs somewhat contrary to the genre’s roots in hellfire. The blue cover could play into this as much as the band’s icy homeland – but this is unmistakably the closest to true, cold death that Death Metal had ever gotten at the time

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