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For Inferno, Entombed returned to the freewheeling "death & roll" it invented for 2000's Uprising. And while it moves at a pace somewhere between hardcore and hard rock, L.G. Petrov's lyrics and teeth-baring growl are more brutal than anything the current generation of nu-metal howlers can moan about. Instead of tepid alt-metal jams fronted by complaints about mean parents and high-school astro wedgies, Entombed delivers a monolithic, guitar-heavy set with lyrics that shake you to your very soul. From the raucous "The Fix Is In" (featuring the awesome couplet "I was around/When God was a boy/Now I was the one/Who stole his favorite toy") and "That's When I Became a Satanist," which runs Black Flag through Motörhead and its own death-strewn past (sample lyric: "I was kidding myself/Cuz all I could find was rotten bile"), Entombed proves that its latest musical incarnation is no less dangerous than any of its previous work. Sure, the album relies on verse-chorus-verse structure throughout, and some tracks ("Nobodaddy," "Retaliation") seem like filler. But Inferno's dedication to rock through sheer force of will is hard to deny. After a brief piano intermission, the album's second half drops hard with "Young & Dead," the lock step rhythm of which nods to the band's own past. The lurching "Descent Into Inferno" seems like the lyrical (exploding) heart of the album, while "Public Burning" and "Skeleton of Steel" only pile on more unholy tumult, the latter shifting gears midway through from a churning, slow-moving tank to a double-time blitzkrieg of screaming berserker guitar. Inferno might not please Entombed fans looking for a dedicated return to death metal. And it might not excite those who like more than one dimension in their metal. But Inferno's unvaried attack is still tougher and scarier than 99 percent of metal in the 21st century, making the band as important to the genre now as it was during its late-'80s creative genesis.

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