Entombed A.D. at The Underworld, Camden; November 14th, 2014

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Following the split of Sweden’s Entombed, LG Petrov decided to continue the esteemed death ‘n’ roll band in a second incarnation of Entombed AD, which he then took on tour in late 2014 throughout Europe. Accompanying them were to be British sludge/metalcore acts Hang The Bastard and Corrupt Moral Altar, yet right before the London show at The Underworld venue, both of the aforementioned names had to drop out at least a day before. The reason was that members found themselves having to be hospitalised, for serious spinal injuries. Mercifully, new support bands were found in the form of locals Diesel King and Swedish retro doom set The Graviators.

Yet while these two offered an interesting contrast between musical aggression and groovy melodies, it was Entombed AD who left a mixed reception by the end of the night.

It was around 6:30 pm when Diesel King were already up on stage. Despite being such a young band, having formed in 2009, they showed a no-nonsense attitude when they took time for introductions only after launching themselves right into the first songs in their set. Aggressive guitars stomped along an American Southern-styled swagger, while the five rocked on their heels to each riff. The effect made their sound even mightier live, which – coupled with vocalist Mark’s good stage banter – helped Diesel King’s audience to grow larger, with applause and whistles by the end.

The group knew that it was due to sudden circumstances under which they were able to play, and their gratitude was shown when Mark told the crowd how they wanted to support Entombed AD since watching them perform at Bloodstock, earlier in the year. The original supports’ loss had become another’s (unanticipated) gain, and with the promise of a debut album coming out next February, it was one for the audience in that they now had a new favourite band to look forward to.

A stark difference however came when second band of the evening, The Graviators, came on to play. For one, the pit of The Underworld was suddenly filled with a massive crowd, appearing to consist of people more appropriately dressed for a casual students’ night out than a heavy metal gig. Secondly, The Graviators’ music was a clearly different tune to what had just come up before.

Without any pretence as to being anything other than a “retro-doom” band, complete with aviator sunglasses and immaculately styled hair to match the image; the Swedish quartet played wave after wave of psychedelic hard rock influenced in part by the Ozzy-era of Black Sabbath. Most applause came as their instrumentation moved faster throughout their slot, as singer Niklas Sjöberg’s voice soared higher into melodious territory.

As a whole, The Graviators were a decent act. At the same time, owing to the ubiquity of many “retro” hard rock groups over the past couple of years, they didn’t necessarily offer anything new or outstanding in their live performance.

By now, it was time for Entombed AD to make their entrance. Barring the small amount of heckling from the back of the audience during soundcheck, there was an enthusiastic welcome from the front when LG Petrov and his cohorts walked onstage.

Despite having released one album under the Entombed AD name, it was inevitable that the great majority of their setlist were Entombed classics from the earlier years. ‘I For an Eye’, ‘Revel In Flesh’, and even mid-period track ‘Wolverine Blues’ all played and were eaten up with the front, young and old, grey haired alike, whose frenzied moshing and body surfing indicated a grand time being had by all. Such was their delight at being able to see the legends even with only the esteemed frontman, that one person even made their way up to physically hug him.

Irrespective of the fans’ high spirits and the airing of hit songs (where even the ones from the death metal years were being played in Entombed’s latest style), something did feel amiss at The Underworld. For all the crazed happiness that was taking place in the moshpit, LG Petrov himself didn’t seem to be fully in the spirit of the evening. Knowing of his former band’s legacy and his determination to continue it even without his previous teammates, one would have expected the man to show more enthusiasm on his behalf with the audience. Addressing the crowd to say more than the name to each song is something always appreciated, yet whether Petrov was actually feeling too tired to do so by this point of the tour was uncertain. Nonetheless, it did little for others – aside from the obvious parties – to turn what was an overall acceptable show into a great one, especially if one wants to show a return to the finer days of your last musical project.

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