In the story of revivalist old-school Swedish death metal, Entrails has a unique part. They are the only band that I’m aware of that were formed in the early 90’s at the peak of the scene, released nothing, and then reformed recently and began putting out new material (at an astounding rate). “Raging Death” serves as my introduction to the band, and from the get-go, you know exactly what to expect. If the band’s logo doesn’t send thoughts of Entombed to your head, the music is even clearer about the band’s influences.
“Raging Death” provides ten tracks that are filled with crunchy, buzz-saw tone riffs. The guitars are so downtuned that the tone sounds like the natural result of plugging in these guitars, but rest assured, the famed Swedish toy definitely sounds like it is in use here. The riffs are mostly upbeat (and are often combined with punk-inspired drumming), but sometimes revert to slower passages. Unlike many of their contemporaries however, Entrails don’t exclusively rely on those doomy sometimes-harmonized leads that were pioneered by Autopsy (they do exist though; see: "Descend to the Beyond"). Instead, when the band slows things down, it is often to deliver crushing power chords that bludgeon the listener with their brutality. These passages allow the death-entrenched vocals to take the forefront. Guttural does not even begin to describe the vocalist on this record. If Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth was slightly less clear in his delivery, that would give a good indication of the vocals on this record.
Given all of that praise, “Raging Death” is certainly worthy of your collection, but it is not without faults. For one thing, how much of this sound can we really take anymore? It could be my general preference of Floridian and New York death metal to the Swedish sound, but Entrails is just one of a long line of bands that devoutly worship this sound with little attention to songwriting. Sure, “In Pieces” is a wickedly brutal opener, and “Bloodhammer” has its moments, but if I’m just looking for 45 minutes of razor-sharp guitar tones, I could just throw on an old Unleashed or Dismember record. Those two bands are great examples of what to do with this sound; both bands have added other elements to their music since their fantastic debuts. Dismember did so in the form of Iron Maiden like melodies, whereas Unleashed took a more melodic death metal approach and combined it with some black metal influence. By avoiding being a straight replication of their sound, they’ve created some worthy of returning to. I won’t fault Entrails, however. If you love this style, “Raging Death” is going to blow you away. It puts all of the elements well together, it just happens to miss the one I enjoy most: hooks.
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3.7/5 or 74%.
Written by Scott