Lars Göran Petrov, known to many as the legendary death metal vocalist LG Petrov, has passed away.
The frontman for the Swedish death metal outfits Entombed, Entombed A.D., and Firespawn passed away yesterday from bile duct cancer. Initially, his diagnosis inspired a GoFundMe page to support his chemotherapy.
Formed in the late ’80s, Petrov’s first band, Entombed, were pioneers in the Swedish death metal circuit. The band’s 1990 debut, Left Hand Path, would go on to be one of the greatest metal records of all time.
As the band’s frontman for the better part of two decades, Petrov splintered from Entombed after recording nine albums with the ever-evolving band. Their lineup changes over the years had become impossible to track, so Petrov formed Entombed A.D., a harsher, more punishing suit that harnessed the guttural power of the “buzzsaw” guitar and Petrov’s gurgling snarl.
Years of band drama aside, Petrov remained a multifaceted metal artist throughout his entire career. He would delve into uncharted territory for a death metal act, at times even going against his fans’ wishes to incorporate more traditional rock and punk sounds. His versatility and willingness to explore both the darkest and lightest sides of rock long ago established him as one of the most authentic singers in his genre.
Petrov not only led Entombed A.D. but worked alongside many other metal acts including Comecon, Morbid, and Allegiance. In light of the frontman’s passing, here are some of the best songs the original Entombed had to offer.
Entombed reunited with Petrov for Wolverine Blues after the singer was forced to briefly step away from the band in 1991 (he was allegedly forced out after making a pass at drummer Nicke Andersson’s girlfriend). But the album’s crispy guitars and slick studio sound turned off many death metal traditionalists, with many citing the record as oversimplified and stale. It also didn’t help that the group’s previous record, Clandestine, the sole record without Petrov’s voice or input, was absolutely amazing.
With that said, “Wolverine’s Blues,” the album’s namesake, opens at a grueling pace that still sounds heavy and unhinged. It may not be the most grotesque record release under the Entombed moniker, but it’s still a ferocious two-minute tundra, and its halfway change of pace would still knock the wind out of any Gen Z pop-punk fan.
Like This With The Devil
Whether haters want to admit it or not, 1993’s Wolverine Blues was the start of a sonic transformation for the band. From that point on, the group slowly incorporated more traditional punk and rock and roll sounds, a move which would have all but ensured Entombed’s demise in the death metal circuit if the resulting tunes hadn’t been so cut-throat.
“Like This With the Devil” was one of those experiments. It’s sonically a lot cleaner than what death metal enthusiasts were used to, but Petrov’s guttural voice radiates such violent energy that it keeps the track from weaving in and out of subgenres too often. It still sounds like death metal should.
As if to remind fans that Entombed is still a chaotic death metal group, the track dissolves into absolute carnage in its closing minute. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Petrov calls out, seemingly to the fans that accused his band of selling out, “A toast to death to myself ’cause I’m free.”
Ensemble Of The Restless
Off of what many see as an unsung classic, Morning Star’s “Ensemble of the Restless” is absolute madness. Quippy and restless, the track drives forward with a feral energy that Petrov pushes along with his primal howl. The track also offers some of the outfit’s most illuminating lyrics. “There’s no end of this shocking truth,” Petrov caws. “Is it the truth or your image that makes your life worth living?”
Revel in Flesh
With all that’s been said about the band over the years, let’s get one thing straight: Left Hand Path remains one of the greatest metal albums ever created. It’s an unflinching and brutal debut that is often cited as the pinnacle of Swedish death metal.
A churning collection of thick guitars and merciless snarls by Petrov, “Revel in Flesh” is a near-perfect example of what rock scholars now call the “Entombed Sound.” Soaked in gory imagery, the guitars grind away like a chainsaw slicing through bone. Meanwhile, Petrov’s carnal screams expand and retract until they’re nearly indistinguishable from the meaty wave of guitars that chug along behind him.
Left Hand Path
The most recognizable Entombed song of all time, “Left Hand Path” is a long and harrowing opening track that chokes the life out of its listener. Petrov sounds demented as he gurgles and wails, with a thick wave of shifting buzzsaw guitars at his back that are constantly mutating and crashing behind him.
For the track’s final half, the guitars evaporate into something entirely different, quelling its fast pace in favor of single, thick strums, as a shredding guitar solo closes it all out. “Left Hand Path” is a masterclass in the impressive versatility of death metal, which Entombed would continue to experiment with for the rest of their career.
While some may disagree, “Drowned” is perhaps the most unhinged track by Entombed. It’s a relentless beatdown of brash guitars, with flexible, quick pace changes that metal acts around the world try to mimic to this day.
While it may just sound like noise to the uninitiated, each breakdown in “Drowned” is conducted with surgical precision, all while Petrov wails and caws uncontrollably. “Drowned” remains a testament to how impactful Entombed was on the death metal community, with their methodical guitar work and impenetrable avalanche of screams and drums still some of the toughest in metal.