2/28/2005 - Review by: Timmy D
Entombed - Unreal Estate - 2005 - Threeman Recordings
Entombed is the quintessential, living embodiment of the "fuck-it-all" spirit of heavy metal. Once upon a time, Entombed were the undisputed lords of relentless, no-frills death metal. The Nihilist Demos & first two albums are true monolithic genre masterpieces; basically, the foundation of a whole musical movement. Then came "Wolverine Blues" - an innovative homebrew of their patented death metal brutality joined with big 70's style rock hooks ala Kiss, The Stooges, and the original Alice Cooper Group. This album caught on like a wildfire, garnering the band even more well-deserved critical acclaim & mass appeal.
However, evolution and the loss of founder, main songwriter, and spiritual band leader Nicke Andersson caused the band to wander in a creative wasteland for a number of years, alienating a large portion of their fanbase in the process. For a time, the band seemed to be lost at sea, resulting in the release of "Same Difference"; an album viewed by most as a colossal folly on the level of Celtic Frost's "Cold Lake", or better yet, Metallica's entire post-"Justice for all" catalogue. In reality, this was just the band finding their own way after losing such an integral member. It just goes to show, sometimes you got to fall flat on your ass in order to get back on your feet and come back swinging.
Since then, Entombed have entered into a sort of renaissance, releasing three stellar albums of uncompromising, filthy, heavy-as-all-hell rock-n-roll. Long gone is the band of yore, who worshiped at the feet of Repulsion and Autopsy exclusively. What we have now is a group of season veterans, comfortable in their own skin and honest enough with themselves to be unconcerned with living up to their initial legacy. Entombed of today have gone beyond their adolescent fixations, now finding inspiration from the roots of where it all began.
All of this, to get us to the task at hand - the review of "Unreal Estate" a live document of Entombed's unlikely collaboration with the Swedish Royal Ballet Ensemble. What we have here is a completely unique entity from yer usual run-of-the-mill live album. This isn't one of those over glorified "greatest hit in the live setting" cashgrab that we're all used to being subjected to. Nor is this the pretentious "Metal Band and Symphonic Orchestra Playing at the Same Time" gimmick, like Metallica's "S&M" travesty from a couple of years ago. Instead we have a very thoughtful re-imagining of some of the gems from Entombed's modern catalogue.
While I'm already on board when it comes to Entombed's newer stuff, I was totally in awe how the newer material truly came alive on this recording. Stuff that was sufficiently dirty and heavy on the albums, now glow with a ghostly ambience in the live setting. Sometimes it's the little things that count, and this album is all about the little nuances. Every instrument is crystal clear, and given their own room to breath and pulsate. The end result is a breathtraking atmosphere of doom.
I'll warn you right now, there's virtually nothing on this album pre "Uprising", besides the Phantasm motiff culled from "Left Hand Path". However, I think this may be the perfect gateway for the old Entombed fan that may have not given their post "Same Difference" material a shot.
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