Entombed

Scandinavian metal legends Entombed were at the forefront of the death metal uprising, releasing their influential debut, Left Hand Path, in 1990, just as the movement was beginning to proliferate internationally. By the time death metal had become a mass phenomenon in the mid-'90s, however, Entombed had begun experimenting with different approaches, sometimes to much acclaim (as in the case of Wolverine Blues) and occasionally to disregard (Same Difference). Nevertheless, it was the band's debut, Left Hand Path, that held up best over the years. Canonized as a death metal classic -- one of the earliest, in fact -- Left Hand Path's buzzsaw guitar riffs and varied tempos, in particular, differentiated Entombed from seminal Earache Records labelmates such as Napalm Death, Carcass, Terrorizer, and Morbid Angel, who, with their unrelentingly lightning-fast tempos and blastbeat drumming, were more in line with grindcore than death metal. Successive Entombed releases on Earache -- Crawl (EP, 1990), Stranger Aeons (EP, 1991), Clandestine (LP, 1991), Hollowman (EP, 1993), Wolverine Blues (LP, 1993) -- were well received on all counts; however, like many death metal bands of the time, Entombed had to endure a revolving door of bandmembership, most noticably in the songwriting department. To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth (1997) marked a couple major changes for Entombed: it was the band's first since leaving Earache (a celebrated indie with major-label ties) and establishing their own label, Threeman Recordings, and it also was the band's last to feature talented drummer/songwriter Nicke Andersson, who chose to focus full-time on his other band, the Hellacopters, for which he sang and played guitar. Consequently, Entombed languished for a couple years, though Uprising (1999), the first in a series of potent back-to-basics albums to follow throughout the ensuing decade, signaled a return to form (i.e., "death & roll," as it was coined).