Entrails are a death metal band with a history in the scene but no real material prior to their reformation in 2008. Their album covers look like other big name releases, and their music sounds like other bands. They reformed just in time for the revivalism fad and are proving to be prolific.
Raging Death is their newest album, and their first release on Metal Blade. I can't be the only one who gets an uneasy feeling in their stomach when I hear that a band is signed to that record label. Every artist who paid in blood to be signed to Metal Blade might not be terrible, but damn do they try their best to castrate great artists. Some manage to avoid falling victim to their obvious marketing ploys, and others are great at self-marketing (ie: The Black Dahlia Murder) so they can get away with personal influence on the sound of their material. I don't even know if it's solely Metal Blade's fault but there's certainly a strong correlation between dull music and getting signed to one of the big labels.
Entrails obviously couldn't. Metal Blade de-clawed and neutered this Swedish death act. Gone is the thicker production of The Tomb Awaits, replaced with a soulless cadaver of the Swedish death metal aesthetic. One listen to "Headless Dawn" or "Cadaverous Stench" will have you shaking your head in shame and disappointment. There's really no excuse for this frustratingly lifeless sound on such a plainly constructed record. Raging Death fits the Swedish death metal stereotypes otherwise: melodic choruses interspersed amongst d-beat and blastbeat verses, barked vocals, and the occasional clean interlude or attempt at building a sort of visual atmosphere.
At its best the formula is lighthearted fun, fueled by energy, and is rampagingly aggressive. At its worst, the formula is throwaway tripe that goes in one ear and out the other. Sometimes the difference is separated by a thin line and unfortunately Raging Death falls on the latter's side. The few standout moments the album does have (the solo on "Death League" and the d-beats on "The Cemetery Horrors" count, I guess) are thrown to the wind for the generic dynamic of the album. There's nothing really wrong about the musical element of the album though.
I don't ask for much, but I would like my Swedish death metal to at least not annoy the hell out of me when I have it playing as the soundtrack to whatever mundane task I'm currently involved with. While musically Raging Death might be alright, that damn production is too frustrating to satisfy even this small request.
3.75 out of 10
1. In Pieces
2. Carved to the Bone
4. Headless Dawn
5. Cadaverous Stench
6. Descend to the Beyond
7. Death League
8. Chained and Dragged
10. The Cemetery Horrors
Listen // Buy