Death metal blended hardcore punk and epic heavy metal, but for the most part was a genre of chromatic, ominous, nihilistic rhythm riffs.
The Swedes took that genre and re-invented it by working elegant yet aggressive melodies into that framework, and birthed some amazing bands starting with Carnage and Nihilist.
In my view, while Entombed is good, the less-celebrated early Dismember work is better for people who love death metal, while Entombed is better for Motorhead fans who want to like death metal.
These songs are both vicious and beautiful, with melodies soaring above the abrasive riffs, making us think of a world beyond the mundane existence where the stakes are higher and conflict is the norm.
While the Swedish death metal scene was so incestuous it’s hard to claim any band really took the lead, this CD defined the genre along with the first albums from Carnage, At the Gates, Therion and Unleashed, and still sounds as fresh and vital today.