Entombed - Wolverine Blues
Earache Records
Death Metal
10 songs (35:25)
Release year: 1993
Entombed, Earache Records
Reviewed by Charles
I will start by saying that this album features 2:15 of the most perfect heavy metal I have ever heard and to this day return to endlessly. From its dour, sludgy opening riff, given unspeakable sonic weight by the drums that drop in at half tempo, to its compulsive, spidery blues-riff chorus, the title track exudes its irrepressible combination of sullen metal menace and infuriating catchiness. Those last six words probably encapsulate Wolverine Blues perfectly on their own, but somehow I have to find a few hundred more.

Hyperbole aside, this album comes with some baggage. It’s credited with an “accolade” it never deserved; founding touchstone of the preposterously named “death and roll” microgenre. Presumably that label makes sense to people who have never heard, say, Morbid Angel’s The Ancient Ones, and therefore think that rock ‘n’ roll is some bizarre stranger to death metal, rather than a basic and obvious part of its lineage. Then, theoretically, I guess, there are all those people that see this as the traitorous abandonment of the genre, by the band that had unleashed two of its true classics in Left Hand Path and Clandestine. But to tell you the truth, I have never met anyone who thinks this. Certainly nobody that’s actually heard this record.

To me, and I’m aware that many (most?) will disagree, this is the greatest Entombed album. In fact, it’s really the one that defines the way I think of the band. I hear it loud and clear in everything they’ve done since, even in more “pure” death metal outings such as Serpent Saints, which always seems to me to have a similarly scuzzy attitude. Entombed took the gravelly, meaty riffing of their previous work, complemented by LG Petrov’s distinctive bellow that defined Left Hand Path (although not Clandestine for which he was temporarily absent). And they chose to highlight a riotous garage rock attitude, as well as the love for slower, simplistic grooving which is implicit in that.

In doing so, they really embraced the idea of the collection of individual songs. In so much death metal, albums can be a relentless onslaught in which tracks blur together into a continuous parade of viciousness. Clearly this does not have to be a problem; nobody wants to drop their level of intensity and if this means repetition so be it. But what’s remarkable listening to this album through is how every track has its own distinct identity, and its own unique hooks. There is the downtempo shuffle of Demon that oozes globulous misanthropy from every beat like an unpleasant illness. There is the vivid and angular charge of Eyemaster, and the surprisingly deft and even funky riffing of Blood Song. Lead guitar parts are often kept on a leash but are occasionally let loose to produce gleeful bluesy solos as if this were early Black Sabbath or somesuch.

Anyway, this is a classic because it is a unique death metal album. It’s incredibly accessible, which might lead you to think of it as kind of an “entry-level” extreme metal record. But it never gets old; in fact, the more I listen to it the more I appreciate it. In accomplishing this, I don’t think it’s since been matched; it finds a niche that truly only Entombed can ever really fill.

Killing Songs :
Wolverine Blues, Eyemaster, Demon
Charles quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Entombed that we have reviewed:
Entombed - Left Hand Path reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Entombed - Serpent Saints - The Ten Amendments reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Entombed - Unreal Estate reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Entombed - Clandestine reviewed by Jack and quoted 95 / 100
Entombed - Morning Star reviewed by Danny and quoted 94 / 100
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