Hearing Swedish Death Metal was one of those moments a fan remembers well. The buzz saw guitar tone, the rapid-fire drumming. The raw vocals. Just when you think you have heard the heaviest music possible, this stuff comes around and changes the entire heavy metal land and soundscape. It pushed others to become better and heavier.
Entombed’s “Left Hand Path” has long secured a place in heavy music history for the role it played in introducing the Swedish Death Metal sound to the globe. It brought death meal to the willing masses ready to worship at the altar of another sub-genre. It would draw attention to other stellar and now legendary acts such as Dismember who also deserve credit for their incredible contribution to the catalogue of Swedish Death Metal heaviness.
The “buzzsaw” guitar tone associated with the Swedish sound is largely credited to Leif Cuzner, the guitarist in Entombed’s previous incarnation under the name Nihilist. Cuzner is properly co-credited as a composer for the music on Left-Hand Path.
Left Hand Path is that extra bit of expressive aggression that was needed at a perfect time. It was a statement to listeners that heavy metal can get heavier. It’s a group of talented blokes saying here is how it can be done with intricate riffs, great songwriting, top-tier musicianship and time signature changes that draw in some progressive-rock influences. It brought listeners of thrash and earlier death metal under the global tent that expanded the metal audience further.
By itself, the album still stands as a pinnacle of Heavy Metal that would be found on the top 10-20 all time favourite records of fans and critics alike. Listening to it now thirty years later it still sounds brash and brutal. It is an influential artwork that still finds new fans thanks to metal’s devoted worshippers.
Dedicated to Vocalist L.G. Petrov, who recently passed away.