Two years removed from 2017’s World Inferno, here comes ENTRAILS with latest offering Rise of the Reaper, out now on Metal Blade Records. One thing I’ve noticed about each record the past four years since 2015’s Obliteration is that the new one always beats its predecessor. That is exactly the case with this here album. As much as I highly enjoyed World Inferno, Rise leaves it squarely in the rearview. Is part of that due to having new blood in the band in the form of guitarist Markus Svensson and drummer(s) Brynjar Helgetund (recorded the album) and Arvid Borg (live shows and beyond!)? I guarantee you it is. This is very often a shot in the arm for bands, and that certainly seems to be the case here.
The opening track “For Hell” showcases the guitar work between founding member Jimmy Lundqvist and Svensson, while Pontus Samuelsson (vocals/bass) growls his ass off with a furor. The thickness of the bass lines galloping with the kick drum makes for some warm sounds and heavy thunder. And why is that? Don’t look now, but guess who mixed and mastered this fucker? Dan Swanö once again! The man has an ear from the Gods, and knows how to make these guys sound their best. “Miscreation” has a riff that’s the aural equivalent of honey from a jar, while “The Pyre” just comes in and starts wreckin’ shop from beginning to end.
The pounding rhythm of the drums on “In the Shape of the Dead” makes a great case for why it is one of the best tracks on the disc, coupled with Samuelsson’s vocal and “I’m gonna put you in the wood chipper after I kill you” riffs. Oh, and “Gravekeeper” just strides on over into all-out war territory. No biggie, but blood’s gonna spill, believe me. “Destination Death” has some nice twists and turns, but at the end of the day it’s a kickass Old School Death Metal song that I guarantee is gonna make some heads bang. “Destruction” opens with some seriously killer dual guitar lines and brings the aggression in spades. Trust me, this was another favorite from the very first spin.
“Crawl In Your Guts” starts out strong and takes off at a gallop within seconds. This is a chest-thumping, fast-paced, badass mother of a song that is sure to get heart rates up, especially if it’s in people’s gym playlists. One of the absolute best song titles is “For Whom the Head Rolls” and not coincidentally it also has the distinction of being yet another standout on the record. Pure evil emanates from the very pores of “Evils of the Night” which even has some Black Metal tendencies that I really love. Another stellar tune!
Closing the disc is seven-minute plus epic “Cathedral of Pain” which shows off all aspects of the band. It’s very much a dirge, but at the same time the band is playing super-tight, and you can just feel the cohesiveness of this unit. Perfect song to end things as far as I’m concerned. So, let me just say this, alright? Rise of the Reaper is hands-down the best record I have ever heard from ENTRAILS, and it is one I routinely find myself coming back to. You all should go out, do yourselves a favor, and buy the album, then tell your friends about it. You’re welcome…
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Evils of the Night”, “For Whom the Head Rolls”, “Destruction”, “In the Shape of the Dead”, “For Hell”, “Crawl In Your Guts”