One of my favorite memories about the early-to-mid nineties is the fact that my little brother wasn’t even really a teenager before he became a 100%, grade-A, rabid, old school death metal obsessive. By the time he reached the sixth grade, he had already made a habit of getting into trouble at school in our little redneck town, for wearing Obituary, Cannibal Corpse and Deicide shirts to class on a regular basis and taking my copy of Wolverine Blues with him one day, only for it to be ruthlessly confiscated by a member of the faculty. In the realm of pre-adolescent musical taste, he was definitely set apart from his classmates. None of those kids were brave enough. They were all wrapped up in what mainstream radio said was “cool”. None of them could stomach the sheer, bludgeoning aggression of death metal, be it American, Swedish, or what have you. Meanwhile, it was all my brother could talk about. When I say the kid ate, slept, breathed, shat and wholeheartedly lived for it with every ounce of his being, I’m speaking the complete truth. In my brother’s young eyes, if it wasn’t absolute death…it simply wasn’t shit. In the years that have passed since then, his musical horizons have expanded a bit, but a love for death metal remains intact. It was upon hearing The Tomb Awaits (Dark Descent Records), the latest from Swedish death maniacs, Entrails, that I knew I’ll have to let him give it a listen.

Having originally formed in 1991, Entrails definitely embrace the old school death metal mindset. Soon disbanded with no recordings, only to be resurrected in 2008 and releasing a couple of demos, the band finally unleashed their debut full-length, Tales from the Morgue in 2010. Now, we see Entrails making their second assault on humanity with a ravenous collection of material reminiscent of Left Hand Path-era Entombed, while injecting a lethal dose of the Entrails brand of morbid lunacy into the traditional Swedish death formula.

After the classical guitar intro that is “The Tomb Awaits”, the record (mixed at Unisound by Dan Swano) erupts into a full, gruesome monstrosity complete with an enhanced vision of with that hulking Swedish death sound we all know and love. Memorable riffs are abundant throughout, with the likes of “Unleashed Wrath” and “Eaten by the Dead” being the first evidence. This beast is filled to the brim with rage. Numbers like “To Live is to Rot”, “The Slithering Below”, and “Remains in Red” follow suit in ragingly dismal fashion, and if the listener knows his or her shit, they‘ll swear this is 1991 all over again. Immaculate tempo changes, skull-bashing percussion, and the raw-throated, choking-on-the-blood-of-mine-enemies approach of vocalist Jimmy Lindqvist serve as the final nails in the coffin to any doubt that may linger that The Tomb Awaits is a contender for any honest “best of” lists for 2011.  It surely has my vote!

At first listen, the material on The Tomb Awaits could be easily compared to the past work of fellow Swedes Entombed, Dismember, and Grave. The overall style; the guitar tones and vocal assault…it’s all there, executed flawlessly. However, exploring the scene today (a large part of which would almost seem clueless to the origins), you’d be hard-fucking-pressed to find a band that does this shit better than Entrails. This band is truly doing it at a whole new level. So, what the hell are you waiting for? The tomb is most unquestionably calling your name!