In listening to “Raging Death”, the latest death metal opus from Sweden’s Entrails I was struck by conflicting feelings. On the one hand, “Raging Death” ticks loads and loads of boxes that I would want it to tick; it is fast, often furious, and full to its misanthropic brim with all the leitmotifs that you’ve come to expect from a death metal album. Over there, there’s a bucket load of buzz saw guitars, in that corner, there is more than a few mid tempo nods to Entombed or Black Sabbath. Is that a bit of Motorhead influence I can hear as well? It is, it certainly is. So far, so good. But, as Mustaine used to say, so what?
Here’s my conflict. It sounds a bit, well, obvious really. There are no surprises on this record. At one level, I should probably be grateful for what is by and large a solid death metal record: it does exactly what it says on the tin. But that’s it. Production wise, the mix is highly accessible and the band’s adherence to the fast track, fast track, slower track, slower track, fast track sequencing gives the whole record an approachability that is pretty endearing. However, “Raging Death” doesn’t , to these ears, ever rise above the status of “OK/Good” so I listened to the record, not with a sense of disappointment but certainly with some level of ennui as I wanted the record to be so much more than what I think has been delivered.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the first few opening tracks- there’s a lot of life and energy coursing through the veins of ‘In Pieces’ and the cartoon horror of ‘Carved to the Bone’ could have any horror fan or Fangoria magazine subscriber salivating, Pavlovian style, with gruesome excitement. The brutality of ‘Cadaverous Stench’ is driven along very nicely by what can only be described a groove and some cracking drumbeats and you know exactly what you’re going to get with ‘Bloodhammer’, don’t you? All fine and dandy if your idea of fine and dandy are several tales of Grand Guignol horror set to viscerally strong music. By contrast, ‘Death League’ and ‘Defleshed’ are much more perfunctory death metal tunes- and whilst there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a perfunctory death metal tune- the overriding effect of the record is bit interchangeable and not massively memorable.
Perhaps I’m being unduly harsh, perhaps I have far too high a set of expectations but, however decent some of the tunes are on “Raging Death”, there isn’t anything that I haven’t heard before, elsewhere and, at times, better. This, somewhat regrettably, means “Raging Death” falls into the “nearly, but not quite” category.