Latest release: Dead Dawn (Century Media)Website: www.facebook.com/EntombedAD
Swedish death metal pioneers Entombed were last in Australia many years ago in support of DCLXVI: To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth. A lot of things have happened in the band’s world since then including a strange splintering following the band breaking up a few years back. The point being that an offshoot band founded by largely long serving Entombed vocalist L.G. Petrov emerged with the moniker Entombed A.D. and that is the band that we’ll be seeing this coming week here in Australia. Loud caught up with Mr. Petrov prior to the tour to find out what has been happening with his new found spark of an extremely solid work ethic.
It is good to see you turning up again on our shores. You spent last year touring relentlessly and writing new material. You must have a renewed energy.
We’ve been touring a lot and started off this year with a US tour as well. It has been good because that is what we do and that is what we should do. We tour and from when we started this we’ve managed to put out two albums in the span of eighteen months, between tours. It might be too short a timeframe but I think that in the end, people have liked it in seeing us being productive and doing what we are supposed to be doing. The album before Back to the Front  was Serpent Saints – The Ten Amendments  which was many years apart and that is a ridiculously long time. So once we sat down and started to make an album then that was when some problems started with a certain [previous] band member but we don’t speak about that – we just let it work in its own dimension. We’re just concentrating on playing music.
How did the solid production team [Nico Elgstrand, Tom van Heesch and Jacob Hellner] behind the most recent album Dead Dawn come about?
We spoke to the guys and they were great guys. When we started work with them it always came out really smoothly. It was like extra pairs of ears that could hear stuff that could pick up on little things that we didn’t hear as a band. It was a really good collaboration and we hope to work with them on the next album and we have a few good songs down already. It was good and we were just confident with them and it was nice to play out something new in ways of working.
How did Nico [Elgstrand – guitar] feel about a co-production role?
He was good and Nico is comfortable in that position. He knows that when there are extra guys to work with it makes it more interesting. I am not a producer so am not really aware of that stuff but if somebody in your band is good and something then why not do it? Everybody has their own place.
Given your drumming experience from ages ago when you were in a drumming role, do you find that sitting in on production and mastering processes has you focusing on that aspect as well as vocals?
Yeah but I try to focus on everything. We are five guys and all in it together. Of course, everybody has their opinions but we trust each other. The whole band doesn’t have to be in the studio when we’re mixing so we’re secure with each other and know that everybody is going to do a good job. It is interesting to swing past the studio and casually have a listen to what is going on. It is pretty immediate to hear whether you like it or not. This was really smoothly done but as always, if you sit in the studio for a long time, it starts to get boring and your ears get tired. So, you tend to sometimes just away and then come back refreshed, you know.
As a band, do you try to record live in a room or prefer to multitrack?
We record live in the studio as much as possible, especially with drums. Maybe not the vocals but everybody sits in for guitars and bass. Whilst you record the drums and bring in the guitars as well, you might get a lucky take, which is cool.
Presumably this is not a band that emails parts back and forth. It’s more of a band in the room vibe?
Yeah, there’s always someone in this day and age who is into the back and forth with pre-production but as much as we can, we get together for a week to just play together and jam. We find that by jamming then the best parts of songs tend to come about. Then we just sit down and relax because the songs are then together. Right now we do not have a rehearsal space so that is a little bit harder now and also, during tours, you always have sound checks. That allows us to jam on ideas there.
Whilst you were on tour, you played Wacken and Hellfest. That must have been a blast.
Yes indeed. Summer festivals are the greatest. Seeing all the other bands, playing your show and having a good time plus there’s a lot of people which is an amazing experience. You never really get used to it because you get nervous before a show but I think that is the way it is supposed to be. If there is too much routine and you don’t get nervous then you kind of lose the feel, you know what I mean. As long as the feeling is there then it is great. Once summer time comes around with all of the festivals and the beer drinking that comes with it, well, it never gets boring,
You don’t get much of a chance for a long sound check in a festival scenario though.
Yeah, but that is all a part of it. It is more of a hectic schedule for festivals but if you are on tour by yourself, then you do have the time to try out new ideas whilst seeing how they sound through a PA which is a lot better than a rehearsal room. So, we do use the time a lot for that.
Is your set list going to cover only the last two albums or some old classics as well?
Oh, of course there’s some classics. The fact that we haven’t been in Australia for a long, long time means we will be doing a longer set with more songs from old classics to the new stuff. I think that people will be very happy. There are no worries about that. Last being there in ’97 or ’98 was great. We had more days off whereas this time we’re playing every day so there is a lot of flying but I am sure that we will get to each city pretty early to allow us to explore. There are happy, relaxed people in Australia and we’re like that too.
Do you look at the Unreal Estate live album which included ballet dancers as an experimental phase?
It was a fun or different thing to do and it came up well. If something comes along, why not? But once you’ve been and done it once you have to move onto other things because you never know what happens. It was a pretty big set up which takes a lot of time and effort. We are constantly touring now but if something interesting comes up we’ll look at it.
Your most recent album Dead Dawn has a deluxe version which a bonus cassette of different tracks.
Yep, we did that because we wanted to do an old school package. At least here in Sweden, there are a lot of people dusting off their old cassette players. I sure other do and I certainly have. It is great to have that feeling of opening the cassette player and putting it in the player plus it has a special sound to it with the hiss. If it can be done, then why not do it because there is always somebody that is going to appreciate it. It seems there were a lot of people who were really happy that we did it.
Vinyl is understandable but cassette is probably still a bit of a niche market globally.
Yeah, vinyl has exploded here. It is really big now and so hopefully the return of cassette will surface again. You never really know. Ha ha.
Does it take you back to the days of tape trading to communicate about music before the Internet?
Yeah, I mean, back in the day you had to wait two or three weeks for something to arrive after you ordered it. Once it arrived, you treated it with respect and took care of it. So, it was a good scene back then. In this day and age where everything happens really fast, those sorts of things tend to get forgotten. That is one of the reasons that we did that little album release package with the bonus cassette in it.
Speaking of doing things with respect, you’ve covered a lot of songs over the years such as Jethro Tull and Bob Dylan. Is it something that you might explore again soon?
Of course. If there is a cover that is good, why not but right now we don’t have time to do it as we’re writing new songs that we need to rehearse. Sometimes old songs can transform into being a new song and we have a lot of them. It is really fun to find a song we haven’t played in a thousand years to then rehearse it because it is bound to sound a little bit different to back in the day.
A band like Slayer had a worldwide influence. How did they come to impact on the metal scene in Stockholm in the late eighties?
I saw Slayer on the South of Heaven tour in 1988 here and it was really, really good. They are always going to be a big influence on many bands including us. It’s similar with Iron Maiden and when they play in Stockholm it is a minimum of 60,000 people. Heavy metal is a very driven thing in Scandinavia.
Briefly again on Dead Dawn, songs such as ‘Down to Mars to Ride’ include a lot of dynamics going from very fast parts to quieter interludes. When writing that sort of music, do you have to consider staying in time when playing live?
It is both hard and easy, as the same time. If you get an idea, regardless of whether or not it is a good idea, it is still an idea. So, you present it when you’re jamming and at first it can sound really bad but then after putting more ideas into it or making some different parts, then it develops into a good song. It is just a matter of going after it.
Was there a similar approach to the song, ‘The Winner Has Lost’ which has a Randy Rhoads styled riff?
Yeah, our dear drummer [Olle Dahlstedt] came up with it and it sounded really heavy metal so we all decided to do it. That turned into a great song. You can take influences from anywhere. It doesn’t have to be strictly death metal. We can do something more fun with other things. It is still us so it is cool.
Looking at Dead Dawn overall, would you say there is one song that is most indicative of the band’s direction?
That is very hard to say. Once you’ve put ten or eleven songs on an album, there is not really one song that does that. Of course, one or two songs really stand out but for me all of the songs are favourites. I could play them all but it is a tough question. The first song, ‘Midas in Reverse’ has a certain impact to it, much like the album’s artwork and personally I like a short, fact song so maybe that one does the job.