Entombed - Unreal Estate
Live Death'n'roll/Stoner Rock
11 songs (38'34")
Release year: 2004
Entombed, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex
Major event

Metal bands do try adventurous endeavors. Some mainstream bands try to play with an orchestra to gain even more publicity and stink at it (S&M by Metallica). Others rise from the relatively unknown obscurity of death metal to play with and for an orchestra, only to become the best in the symphonic metal genre (Therion). No one is going to be surprised anymore if classical musicians or opera singers are involved on metal albums. But what about ballet dancers??!! Leave it to Entombed to try this shoe on.

Whether you revere this band for what they have done for death metal on their earlier albums, in Sweden and everywhere else, or revile them for how they abandoned death metal to play a variety of death’n’roll/garage rock in their later days, one thing is certain. Entombed would never shy away from something new and extraordinary. Unreal Estate is one such unusual live record which will be either hailed as revolutionary or derided as a failed experiment.

On Unreal Estate Entombed performed at Stockholm’s Royal Opera Hall surrounded by more than 30 of Sweden’s finest and most celebrated ballet dancers. The music was captured in one live take and released without any overdubs. It is not quite known if the audience consisted of metal fans that didn’t mind the ballet to be added on, or was full of ballet loving aristocrats who decided to swallow metal accompaniment this time around. At any rate, the earplugs were distributed and the venue was sold out.

After a piano introduction (late arriving audience has a chance to find their seat) DCLXVI/Intermission from To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth which borrows some chord sequences from Moonlight Sonata, Entombed begins to rock the house. Starting slowly with Chief Rebel Angel (probably one of the best tracks on Morning Star) the tempo is picked up and trance state is further savagely broken on Say It in Slugs from Uprising. After eerie whispers It Is Later than You Think, and the band plunges into the best block on Unreal Estate consisting of slow grinders Returning to Madness (Uprising), Mental Twin (Morning Star) and culminating with an unreal cover of Roky Erickson’s Night of the Vampire. Audience seems to be captivated by Sabbathy tempos, monster riffs and bursts out applauding. In the Flesh (Uprising) continues in the stoner vein while Something out of Nothing (also from Uprising) gives a glimpse of rare death metal rhythm. The proceedings end with instrumental part of Left Hand Path.

I would be lying if I told you I loved everything on this record. Without a shadow of a doubt, the band plays their hearts out, and they do it well. Every instrument creates an aura of its own, being an independent and indispensable part of the show. Considering everything is recorded with a single live shot I am inclined to overlook a few stumbles in leads. L-G Petrov, however, blew the socks off me. Powerfully clear, but with a tinge of harshness in his voice, he reminded me of, gulp, James Hetfield in his best days. Not that this should be the world’s best compliment, but with this vocal delivery L-G can do it in any venue, and it is time for me to reconsider having him pegged well below his Dismember bloodbrother Matti Karki.

Being from the fan grouping that much (!) prefers Entombed earlier albums, I could be egotistically clamoring for more (or at least some) tracks from the three first albums. Not counting the Left Hand Path outro none are found on Unreal Estate. It could be the band thinks that Uprising and Morning Star songs were better for this event. Still, even those tracks are played slower than on the albums. I guess the concessions were made to ballerinas not being able to move their feet fast enough to the beat of death metal, be it the death’n’roll variety. Grinding stoner groove prevailing, the atmosphere on the album is more of weird spookiness than rules-be-damned rebellion of youth.

And finally, how can anyone appreciate this recording fully without the visual part? If this was supposed to be a synergy between old metal masters and ballet troupe, then show us both. OK, there are rumors of this coming out on DVD, but I have an audio only in front of me and I am judging it as such. The record feels like you have been invited to the unbelievable dinner, only to be served some tasty appetizers with main course never to have taken place.

I am not sure how Unreal Estate would influence the current Entombed tour or the latest studio album Inferno/Averno. While I’d be sure to check out the latter, Unreal Estate is a stand alone live recording which certainly brought something to enhance Entombed reputation, but it didn’t revolutionize the genre it had a potential of doing.

Killing Songs :
Returning to Madness, Mental Twin, Night of the Vampire
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by Entombed that we have reviewed:
Entombed - Wolverine Blues reviewed by Charles and quoted CLASSIC
Entombed - Left Hand Path reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Entombed - Serpent Saints - The Ten Amendments reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Entombed - Clandestine reviewed by Jack and quoted 95 / 100
Entombed - Morning Star reviewed by Danny and quoted 94 / 100
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