By ANDREW MCKAYSMITH
THE mid nineties was a particularly difficult time for heavy metal. The very word itself was eschewed from the public’s lexicon as the genre itself disappeared from mainstream view and retreated to the underground.
Against all odds, Entombed were a band that seemed to thrive in the era. Alongside Devin Townsend’s Strapping Young Lad, Entombed were universally lauded as a ‘metal-fans’-metal-band’ due to the strength of sterling albums Left hand Path (’90), Clandestine (‘91) and the still hugely influential Wolverine Blues (‘93).
My own recollections of the band may not sound flattering now but they are an outfit which found a way to incorporate fifties-style swing and jive elements without ever compromising the brutality they so intensely delivered. Critics would christen that sound as ‘death ‘n’ roll’. Dissecting the band’s sound after all these years, a fair whack of the ‘death’ quotient in the band’s sound could almost certainly be attributed to one Lars-Goran (LG) Petrov, the band’s long time vocalist and front-man.
“I’m having a walk to the liquor store.” Its 9am in Sweden and Petrov is on the phone to promote Entombed A.D.’s tour of Australia. We both chuckle, then I realise it’s almost 6pm on a Friday here in Queensland and almost certainly beer ‘o’clock for me as well. Drinking and the band are good bed-fellows, the chugga-chuga-oomph of the mentioned ‘death ‘n’ roll’ sound is tailor made for good times and a solid shake of the head.
I first caught Entombed during their 1998 tour of Australia and I ask if Petrov recalls a peculiar venue on the tour; the Sydney venue for the band’s performance was the Marrickville Town Hall. “Yes, I remember. It was like a big dancing club! That was actually the day I got a sore throat and I didn’t go to sound check. I don’t know the venues we’re playing this time around but once we get the gear up and have a couple of drinks it will be alright.”
The band’s line-up has shifted dramatically since the heady days of that tour. Petrov is the sole survivor of the famous early nineties group land is none-too-fussed about the idea of a reunion with the co-creators of the band’s earlier work. “They left the band, all of them. To do such a thing now would be strictly commercial for the other guys. The Entombed now has been Entombed for over 10 years. Old members coming back for a reunion, it wouldn’t be for the music. I think it would be strictly for the economic thing and I don’t think that’s the right way to do it. People want it – but it’s been 25 years.“
Something I didn’t discuss with Petrov is the rather confounding situation over who retains the intellectual property of the band in 2017. The Entombed.org website acts as a merch stall for ‘Entombed’, an ‘Entombed A.D.’ Wikipedia page proclaims that ‘Entombed A.D. is a Swedish death metal band formed in 2014 after ‘Entombed’ broke up’ and the same website has an entry for ‘Entombed’, listing a bevy of musicians who performed in the band’s nineties line up as ‘current members’.(continued below)
Another confusing episode in the band’s catalogue is their fifth long player, Same Difference (’98). I ask what happened in the studio and during the songwriting process for the often maligned body of work. “With that album, it is an Entombed album but I really don’t know what happened there. Somebody made a weird decision to go astray too much. It’s an okay album. When I go back to it, I don’t listen to it that often but when I do, it’s like ‘Holy hell, what the hell was that?’ Maybe once in a while as a band you have to do something weird and unexplainable. It was not a search for a commercial success, I don’t think it will ever be that.”
One thing for certain is that Petrov is one endearing chap. Jovial and candid are two words that could well describe him so I ask if he has a humorous anecdote. “That’s going to be a long list! Even bad things can be fun after a while, it depends on how you look at it. There’s crazy stuff… being locked out of your hotel room naked. After the show you get drunk. I don’t know why… you go to reception naked like ‘Hey, do you have a spare key?’ Stuff like that. Puking on the airplane”
Airplanes and hotel rooms… The life of a touring musician! Is there a band that Petrov especially enjoyed touring with? “I think especially one was Motorhead back in the day. That was great, playing with Lemmy every day before sound check and having a whiskey with a legend. Lemmy actually accused me of cheating when we were playing pool one day… that was the biggest compliment, for me anyway. To be accused of cheating by the old Lem, great!”
Catch Petrov and Entombed A.D. at a venue in a capital city in May!
Australian Tour Dates May 2017
Tuesday 9th May – Brisbane – Crowbar
Wednesday 10th May – Sydney – Manning Bar
Thursday 11th May – Melbourne – Max Watts
Friday 12th May – Adelaide – Fowlers Licensed All Ages
Saturday 13th May – Perth – Amplifier