Entombed AD - Dead Dawn - (8/10)
Published on February 9, 2016
Label:Century Media Records
Dead Dawn sees Entombed back to the front.
Entombed is certainly a band that needs no introduction. Having released two early death metal classics with Left Hand Path and Clandestine and then pioneering the death ‘n’ roll sound starting with 1993’s Wolverine Blues, the band has been influential in the history of death metal. Their recent legal history is less well-known; the name Entombed is owned by all four original members. Despite vocalist L-G Petrov being apparently the only original member willing to carry on Entombed and despite the fact that the band’s lineup from Entombed’s final album is largely intact, minus founding member Alex Hellid, the legal issue necessitated a name change and thus Entombed A.D. was born. Dead Dawn is the band’s second album, following 2014’s lackluster Back to the Front.
Considering the lineup consistency, it should come as no surprise that Entombed A.D sounds a lot like pre-legal dispute Entombed. That ultra-satisfying crunchy guitar tone, thick death ‘n’ roll grooves, and Petrov’s patented half growl/half shout decipherable vocals are all present on Dead Dawn. More importantly, the songwriting is a step up from Back to the Front. I’d go out on a limb and say it’s the best album Petrov and company have released since at least 2003’s Inferno.
Dead Dawn certainly packs a punch. It’s a major improvement on Back to the Front in the songwriting department, mostly because it isn’t solely mid-paced like that album was. It smartly mixes tempos, going from gnarled, punk thrashers like “Total Death” to the slower, more menacing “As the World Fell.” Petrov is no stranger to writing catchy choruses, and Dead Dawn has some good ones, including “The Winner has Lost” and “Down to Mars to Ride.” The band takes a brief stab at a more moody, atmospheric sound on “Hubris Fall” but for the most part Dead Dawn is the groovy death ‘n’ roll we’ve come to know and love from Entombed. Oddly enough, it’s the opener “Midas in Reverse” that is probably the album’s most pedestrian track.
L-G Petrov is another reason why Dead Dawn is largely a success. He sounds more menacing than usual on Dead Dawn; his vocals are slightly deeper and closer to a conventional death growl than they were on albums like Morning Star and Inferno, but they’re still very decipherable and he remains one of the most instantly recognizable voices in death metal.
Dead Dawn is the band’s most spirited album in a long time. It has a better sense of dynamics and tempo than Back to the Front, which often seemed stuck at a mid-paced tempo. It’s also better than some of Entombed’s death ‘n’ roll albums, although not as good as some others, coming in behind Wolverine Blues and Morning Star. Still, Dead Dawn is an enjoyable, no-frills death ‘n’ roll album that shows the band has plenty to offer.