This little release generated a lot of interest in 1993. Entombed had set the pace for the Swedish death metal scene with the one-two combination of `Left Hand Path' and `Clandestine'. The band promised something a little different for their third album, and the `Hollowman' EP was released to test the waters.
The differences were apparent immediately on the title track. The blast laden death metal percussion had been slowed to a more sedate rock style, albeit a very heavy one which still featured double kick breakdowns. The vocals were more enunciated, and there was almost a hardcore feel to them in places. The chainsaw guitar sound had been retained, but like the percussion, the riffing had a large rock element added.
"Wolverine Blues" is heavier and less refined than the album version. The lyrics still hadn't been written, so LG Petrov read an encyclopaedia entry on wolverines, which was very effective in itself. The bass on the song reaches right into your boots and rattles the bottom end of your speakers.
"Bonehouse" Sounds like a leftover from the `Clandestine' sessions. Not as fully developed as songs from that album, it is still a full on death metal track other bands would have traded body parts for. It also bears some resemblance to Entombed's later single "Out Of Hand".
While "Hollowman" was undoubtedly the supposed focus of the EP, the best track was "Hellraiser", a metal reworking of the theme music from the movie of the same name. It translates to metal very well, as a dark, foreboding song with an intricate central riff. Samples from the movie added in the background make it a full on creepfest, and it is a little disconcerting to listen to the song in the dark.
Change is often not a good thing in a musical genre as restrictive as death metal, yet the change in style wasn't greeted with the expected cries of derision. After all, it was still heavy, dark, and uniquely Entombed. Instead, it seemed death metal fans wanted to see where Entombed were going to take this embryonic death ‘n’ roll sound. Rather than spoil the surprise awaiting on `Wolverine Blues', `Hollowman' helped build anticipation for the album.