Monday, February 8, 2016

Entombed - Clandestine (1991)

Released in November 1991, Clandestine is the sophomore effort from the former masters of Swedish Death Metal themselves, Entombed. Unfortunately, they held that title for but a short time, despite the massive influence of Left Hand Path. The reason being that their long-awaited follow-up turned out to be a pile of filth and a major disappointment. 

There are several reasons why Clandestine fails to even hold a candle to its predecessor. First and foremost, the loss of L.G. left the vocal position in the incapable hands of Nicke Andersson. His voice is absolutely horrible and amateurish, ruining even the very best moments of this record. They could have picked out any random guy from a crowd and probably gotten a better voice. This is supposed to be Death Metal, and Nicke's pathetic hardcore shouting has no place here. Beyond this, the production is far too clear when compared to Left Hand Path. The sound is too open and the drums and vocals are both far too high in the mix. At some points, one has to wonder if it was indeed Tomas Skogsberg producing the album, or if Bob Rock took over those duties. The guitar tone is not as rough and powerful as it could have been, either. The constant use of samples within the songs is also annoying and reeks of modern stupidity.

As for the actual songwriting, there are some fairly decent riffs throughout the album, but most of the songs are pure trash. With a more appropriate production job and a more competent vocalist, this still would have been a disappointing record, very much below the standards set by Left Hand Path. Entombed clearly wanted to go against the grain in an effort to separate themselves from the many other bands in the scene that had used their first L.P. as a template for their own albums. The problem is that, instead of simply making better Death Metal, they opted to infuse the album with impure, lame influences. There is far too much groove and annoying breakdowns on here. Songs like "Living Dead", "Chaos Breed", "Severe Burns" and "Through the Collonades" are the only fairly passable songs on here and, again, they still suffer from the poor sound and the atrocious vocals. 

Clandestine is not what one would have expected to come from such an influential band, especially right on the heels of an undisputed classic like Left Hand Path. Entombed is a sad example of a band really dropping the ball. Perhaps they really didn't have it in them to write another masterpiece of Swedish Death Metal, but it appears far more likely that their artistic choices were based on trying to be different rather than fulfilling their potential. As for this record, avoid it. Outside of the Nihilist material and their first album, this band is useless. If you want to hear the true successor to Left Hand Path, simply listen to Like an Ever Flowing Stream from Dismember. It absolutely murders the rubbish found on this pathetic album.