Make no bones about it, Entombed are one of death metal’s pioneers and arguably amongst the elite that influenced and changed extreme metal as we know it. In 1990 the underground opened up to their debut, ‘Left Hand Path,’ praised for its unique sound. Little did they know that many of today’s most lauded and popular bands would shamelessly rip off their sound, style and vibe. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Alex Hellid (guitar) agrees. “We’ve ripped off so many bands in the past, so I’m honoured when bands look to us for inspiration. Plus, it’s never identical. All these bands add something new to what we’ve done because they are not us.”
It’s been hard to reach you lately…
We’ve been playing shows, developing designs that pertain to future releases and merchandise, while working on new material: writing, rehearsing and recording. We’re also planning the re-release of our back catalogue. This year we hope to finish recording songs for a new album to be released early next year. Come fall, we aim to get some of the re-releases out there as well as updating our web presence, which has been lacking for a long time.
FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC
Will you approach the new album differently than usual?
Yes. In the past we’ve found ourselves losing focus in the studio, so now we’re going to try something different. We won’t record the album in one go, rather in intervals, like, one or two songs at a time. Often when you do fifteen songs at a time, focusing becomes more difficult and some songs get too much attention at the expense of others, who in turn get rushed because you get tired of being in the studio tweaking knobs and listening to the same stuff over and over. This way we hope to capture the feeling you get when you listen to first cuts of songs because they are usually raw and pure. But when you work on an album’s worth of cuts in one go, something gets lost that can be hard to find again.
Your next album marks your tenth full length…
To justify another Entombed record, I want to impress and surprise ourselves and feature lots of material that’s strong enough to be included in our live set. Currently the majority of our set-list consists of early ‘90s and early ‘00s songs that have stood the test of time. We want the new material to do that as well. That’s why I want the new stuff to be urgent enough to find its way into our set for years to come. Thus we have to take the songwriting into a new direction.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Entombed is relentless in finding new ways to channel your love for the music and the entity Entombed has become. It’s certainly not for cash and fame…
We’ve never been really huge. We’re used to trends coming and going, and we’ve always maintained a similar level of success throughout, be it small or big tours, compact venues or spacious concert halls. But for me, what makes it interesting is that we try to make things happen that are a bit outside the box and in addition there’s this need to make a better album than the last one, basically. Musically speaking I still believe there are places we can go but haven’t yet been.
Absolutely. You’ve consistently presented us with surprises and excitement since ‘Clandestine’ followed ‘Left Hand Path’ in 1991 to this day. In that light, tell us how the new album will compare to your existing legacy?
I want us to keep the core sound, the soul of Entombed if you will, so that people will know it’s us, but at the same time I want to raise the bar on the production. The new stuff will be brutal but I want it to sound crystal clear, so people can make out everything that is being played. It should be dynamic in that if there’s a dirty, punky song it will get a production that fits that vibe. And when there’s a song with more parts, melodies and harmonies it’s treated differently. I do not want it to sound like a particular era of Entombed, rather I’d like people to be somewhat alarmed with the development between our albums, much like they were when we made the first four or five albums.
For example when ‘Wolverine Blues’ hit, people were like “What happened now, what are you doing? It’s not the same band anymore.” Subsequently, it gets harder to come up with new things, yet we don’t want to get too comfortable or lazy. That is the enemy.
Your upcoming show at Gaukurinn marks your third time in Iceland. What keeps you coming back, and what will be different?
I’m pretty sure it’s always the same bunch of guys that know each other that keep inviting us back. They wanted to see Entombed play in Iceland, so instead of waiting for someone to make that a reality, they did it themselves. Those shows have always been fun, so we cannot say no. Also, look forward to see us as a five-piece again, with two guitars!