HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Entombed - Inferno

A vague sense of not needing this right now (or for that matter, the new Sepultura) washes over me like brown smog, Entombed now having cranked almost unconsciously (and somewhat self-consciously) three punk rock grind records since the left turns of Same Difference. No question, Entombed are true happy death heroes and they have an innate talent for explosive groovy extreme metal. But sometimes they hit the auto-pilot and go with the first thing that pops into their heads. That what Inferno feels like, a bit stoned, like stoner rock, especially in the lyric department, Uffe and Alex writing using what looks like a cut and paste method, with tossed off amusing, catchy slogans strung together like blood-filled Christmas lights. Not too crazy about the production either, which lacks for treble and the concrete-cutting high mids of the band's patented sound. Cover art's barely there too. So yeah, that's a lot of complaining to be sure, but I somewhat hold Entombed to a higher standard given the legacy, and this thing is just too stripped down, too punk rock.
Rating 6.5

Nevermore - Enemies Of Reality
(Century Media)

Nobody attacks a vocal like Warrel Dane - on record or live - and the man's back cast for Enemies Of Reality most definitely gives the man the soundtrack and support he needs to spew a venom that has earned the band such a hallowed spot amongst the metal masses. Absolutely resolute and solitary with their own, seemingly effortlessly achieved, sound, Nevermore, in crude terms, are a thinking man's thrash band with a doom vocalist. And this record is the thrashiest of them all - for better or worse. There are a couple of flaws here, starting with the shockingly treble-void production, the band taking thick, warm knob-job values to new extremes, perhaps too far. As well, the album's only 40 minutes long, and those 40 minutes rarely let go of a roiling metal mash, one that works arguably acceptably here, but not so good live, the lack of hooks, the strange sense of monotone, and the wall of drums, bass and low, grinding guitars wearing the patience. Warrel seems to be thrashing in the quicksand of it all, and even the mellow tracks seem showered in a buzzing blue haze. Make no mistake, few demonstrate their knowledge of metal like these angry technicians (Is Lamb Of God the new Nevermore?), and this album - or perhaps Politics - may one day be viewed as the band's Reign Of Blood, the punk rock album of a long catalogue of mostly sweeping epic productions.
Rating 8

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