Entombed - _Serpent Saints_
(Threeman Recordings, 2007)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (
Typically when writing up a band of this caliber and longevity, one can spend half the review tracing the group's evolution and putting their legacy in order. In this case, Entombed have spent so much of the past fifteen years openly defying expectations and putting out "what the fuck???" records, that hardly a year has gone by when a new album hasn't come along and forced the entire metal community to reassess the catalog. So we won't go into that again, especially considering the band have at last fallen into more or less of a "death 'n' roll" rut, _Serpent Saints_ not differing a great deal from the previous _Inferno_ LP nor its follow up, the _When in Sodom_ EP."When in Sodom" is reprised here, the only carry over from an ostensibly stop gap release, but there is an overall air of familiarity casting a pall over the 41 minutes of this album. The title track has some interesting acoustic work going on at the beginning, but then the amped up rock riffs kick in, L.G. Petrov lets rip with that iconic roar of his, and it's business as usual. "Masters of Death" is just as simultaneously endearing and pointless as the similarly themed Pantera tune "Goddamn Electric", although "Amok" makes it up somewhat with a pretty lively guitar riff and rousing, anthemic chorus. The chorus on "Thy Kingdom Coma" fares not quite so well, the awkward cadence and blatant rock 'n' roll simplicity of the songwriting coming off as a tune for which the music was hastily assembled around a set of half assed lyrics.The aforementioned "When in Sodom" sets itself apart as the frontrunner for best song on the album pretty early on in the multi-spin absorption process, the angular children's choir backing vocals and resolutely furious drumming ably complementing an accessible catalog of guitar riffs. Unfortunately, it's more or less downhill from there. The second half of _Serpent Saints_ reeks of running out of both steam and ideas, the increasing brevity of the songs further heightening this impression, that is on top of the lackluster riffing and forced catchiness the deeper into the disc one gets. It's hard to talk about Entombed's decline without perhaps exaggerating a bit, as the band have rarely out and out embarrassed themselves, and in fact seem capable of consistently putting out albums worth anything from a 7 to an 8 out of 10 rating; but I think fans rightly expect a band of this pedigree to occasionally knock one out of the park, something Entombed hasn't achieved in quite some time. A pleasant enough spin, probably due to its brief running time as much as anything, but artistically less like a misfire and more like the band are content to just shoot blanks.
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