ENTOMBED, Stranger Aeons (1992, Earache)
Under one of the best metal logos of all-time, an encircled skull and crossbones sits humbly, demanding your attention. It’s simple and effective enough, the gray/black negative-image style treatment working well in conveying starkness and darkness. But I don’t know, it’s still kinda stock. This design was seen first on the band’s Clandestine album, featured on the cover of this EP, and also was spotted on the Wolverine Blues album. They also used it on a later self-titled collection, so they really tried to get as much mileage out of it as possible. Look real close and you’ll even see it on the Hollowman EP somewhere.
On the heels of the Clandestine album, this 3-song EP was released to keep it going…not that it was ever in danger of stopping. That album, and their first, remain at the top of all-time death metal album lists 20+ years later. So, the label pulled “Stranger Aeons” off Clandestine, and it’s a great choice. At a short-ish 3:26, the song finds the band’s signature ultra-fat guitar sound delivering killer riff after killer riff, not least of which is the main one: a lumbering, crushing, grooved monster that recalls Dark Angel’s “No One Answers.” Great riffs, great tones, great leads, and just okay vocals by Nicke Andersson. Speaking of whom, he and guitarist Uffe Cederlund snuck into the studio in late 1991 and recorded two songs that didn’t make the album, “Dusk” and “Shreds of Flesh,” and those are both here. These songs are even shorter than the main track, 2:42 and 2:04, and they’re good, but they suffer a little bit in sounding samey to what we’ve already heard from the band. No surprise that they changed direction after this, snipping off the fat a la Carcass’ Heartwork and changing direction in an effort to stay fresh. Fuck yeah, early ’90s Entombed! You can’t beat it.
— Friar Wagner