Entombed

Unreal Estate

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In the early 2000s, phrases like "death metal survivors" and "a death metal institution" were used to describe Entombed. But to death metal purists -- the moshers who insist that Entombed peaked with 1989's Left Hand Path -- the Entombed of the early 2000s had long since left death metal behind. Some of those purists go so far as to accuse Entombed of being a sellout, but then, everyone from Miles Davis to the Clash to Run-D.M.C. was called a sellout by someone or another -- so the term is almost meaningless. What isn't meaningless is the inspired set that Entombed provides on Unreal Estate, which was recorded live at the Royal Opera Hall in Stockholm, Sweden in 2002. The Swedish headbangers are on top of their game on this live album, packing a punch that is both forceful and melodic. While Entombed hasn't exactly turned into easy listening, these inspired performances are generally a lot more musical and intricate than Entombed's early recordings. Unreal Estate can be brutal, but it isn't an exercise in brutality for the sake of brutality -- on this alternative metal-oriented CD, brutality and musicality form an alliance and work together for the greater good. Nonetheless, there are those who will stubbornly maintain that the best Entombed concerts took place in the late '80s and early '90s -- back when Entombed still appealed to the grindcore crowd and specialized in tunes that were ultra-fast and amelodic. But there are plenty of Entombed fans who aren't stuck in the past, and those who appreciate the band's evolution will find this 42-minute disc to be an exciting, if brief, document of the Swedes on-stage in the early 2000s.

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