Review: Left Hand Path

Sweden seemingly become a place unleashing a venomous volley of death metal bands one after the other. Few came as prominent as 1990’s debut Left Hand Path from Entombed, the first of three bands to spawn from the ashes of Nihilist.

Earache Records were at the forefront of grindcore’s rise in the UK and were instrumental in getting some of Americans burgeoning death metal bands off the ground (like Morbid Angel). However Entombed were on a different level from brethren of thrash metal in American but did not compromise on the extreme and noise from the Brits. By comparison this group of Swedes were positively monstrous and intricately brilliant. Lars-Göran Petrov moves the style away from cookie monster to truly angry demonic animal. The twin guitar attack from Uffe Cederland and Alex Hellid powered by the infamous buzzsaw guitar tone made Left Hand Path sound both satisfying heavy and memorable whilst back by the sonic weight of the bass guitar and Nicke Andersson tireless and frenetic drumming.

The key differentiator for Left Hand Path is that density and, moreover, the overall majestic sound. It brings true sense of awe to the music and one of the earliest albums in which you can hear the air being sucked into the vacuum between your eardrums and the headphones. It was also a technically proficient album, one which would easily rival the complexities being tossed out by Bay Area and East Coast thrash metal scenes. It boast stronger guitar solos and more memorable riffs than any death metal before and the likes of which very few after managed to repeat. If that wasn’t enough, it brought the threatening vibe from at the time, a wildly untamed but fast emerging black metal landscape that was growing in Scandinavia. Something which bands in Sweden like Entombed had ready access to and yet another aspect to add their music. And let us face it; directly or indirectly, a band like Entombed would have to bring it to a table in an arena which including Bathory and Mayhem. whereas the same couldn’t be said in Florida until the emergence of Deicide (the same year as Left Hand Path).

Death metal was somewhat wild form of music in the late 1980s as bands struggled to take their ambition and match technical prowess and vehement aggression. Entombed were one of the earliest to do so and Left Hand Path was, and is, arguably the finest example where all the aspects that formulated the genre produced something powerful.

Rating : 10 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Left Hand Path
  2. Drowned
  3. Revel in Flesh
  4. When Life Has Ceased
  5. Supposed to Rot
  6. But Life Goes On
  7. Bitter Loss
  8. Morbid Devourment
  9. Abnormally Deceased
  10. The Truth Beyond
  11. Carnal Leftovers (Bonus track)
  12. Premature Autopsy (Bonus track)