L-G PETROV Talks Rebirth Of ENTOMBED A.D., Reuniting The Classic Line-Up - “When You Are Gone, You’re Out!”
September 21, 2016, a year ago
This was truly a dream come true, getting loaded interview! On the turf of Germany's Summer Breeze Festival, just outside of Dinkelsbühl. The last time BraveWords had crossed (left hand) paths with Entombed was almost ten years to the day, in their hometown of Stockholm at their Threeman head offices, where Mark Gromen and I had met with singer L-G Petrov and guitarist Alex Hellid. At the time, the pair controlled operations. Now it’s all L-G; Hellid apparently AWOL and recently (and confusingly) setting up a crowd funding campaign of sorts to reissue DCLXVI: To Ride Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth, the jaw-dropping (not in a good way) Same Difference and Uprising. As you will read, Hellid is no longer part of the Entombed tale, although there were reports of reunion shows with originals Nicke Andersson (now in the singer and guitarist in the popular rock band The Hellacopters) and original guitarist Uffe Cederlund, but under what band name is unknown. L-G will make it clear that he owns the name and the logo. And it’s been his ultimate effort to keep the Entombed locomotive chugging down the tracks. But more correctly, it’s Entombed A.D.
These ears hear a constant parade of Entombed even to this day. Left Hand Path (1990), Clandestine (1991), Wolverine Blues (1993) and the aforementioned To Ride… (1997) the band’s first four crucial records. The first two shaping the Swedish metal scene as we know it today. If you recall my recent 70000 Tons Of Metal chat with Bloodbath (here) they prey at the altar of Left Hand Path.
So after downing many beers, vodka and smoking ourselves silly at Summer Breeze 2016, L-G and I get down down to business and up to no good! And here’s what went down:
BraveWords: Talk to me about the rebirth of Entombed and the new entity Entombed A.D.
Petrov: “We don’t see it like a rebirth, but just a continuation. Stuff happened on the way and we were just playing music. This is what we do and this is the only thing that we want to do. And this is the only thing we know how to do! There are some bumps. It hasn’t been all cleared yet. As long as that thing is working in its dimension.”
BraveWords: Legally you need to add the A.D.?
Petrov: “Not really. I own the name.”
BraveWords: What’s your relationship with Alex? Are you guys tight?
BraveWords: It’s a battle behind the scenes?
Petrov: “Yes. But I’m the only one that has spoken about it. But none of this pisses me off. I don’t have time to think about it. We’re happy where we are.”
BraveWords: He’s not making music, you are.
Petrov: “Yeah! We have no idea what he’s up too.”
BraveWords: Aside from the reissues (of To Ride…, Same Difference, Uprising)
Petrov: “Yeah, you can’t keep doing reissues forever. If you want to make a quick buck maybe, but we haven’t. But we don’t think about it unless someone brings it up. Otherwise we are just having a great time. So it’s like a continuation. I don’t see it as a rebirth. And people know who we are.”
BraveWords: And the new record is strong. Elements of classic Entombed, your new vision and Mercyful Fate!
Petrov: “That makes us smile! That’s good! Between the tenth and the twelve, or the first and the second - depending on how you look at it … immediately after the first one was released, we started to work on songs immediately. And for Entombed, 18 months is very, very soon.”
BraveWords: As albums aren’t selling, we are seeing more output from everybody!
Petrov: “Yeah. But the songs still have to be good for you to be satisfied and you can put it out. Before the first Entombed A.D, it was six years since the last album (2007’s Serpent Saints – The Ten Amendments). It shouldn’t take that long.
BraveWords: Not to pry for a number, but do you make any money from selling records?
Petrov: “Anything we do, we put it back into recording.”
BraveWords: There is a great example involving Iron Maiden in Canada as The Book Of Souls broke a hard copy record in Canada. The split was like 75/25.
Petrov: “Maiden fans want to hold the album. We all do of course; the vinyl, the CD, whatever. You don’t want a USB thing. That’s boring.”
BraveWords: The current incarnation of Entombed has lasted longer than the original as LG fills us in.
Petrov: “Olle (Dahlstedt; drums) and Nicko (Elgstrand; guitar) have been in Entombed for 12 years. Actually longer than the original. So we are Entombed basically. That’s it. Then Victor (Brandt; bass) came in with great drive. And he’s also been in the band for eight years.”
BraveWords: There is a lot of current history that people don’t know.
Petrov: “There are a lot of things that people don’t know and you don’t have the energy to talk about it. We just go. We are sitting here drinking and smoking and focusing on the most important things, the music. But if people ask, you try to make a long story short. We had a meeting with the record label, the whole band, including Alex. Let’s do the songs here, record here, release here and then tour here. And we started immediately. And then Alex didn’t show up. We just continued. And he called me up in the studio and asked ‘what are you doing?’ I said ‘we are doing the record.’ ‘What record?’ And then there was a click. And then it got scary.”
BraveWords: The video for "The Winner Has Lost" is hilarious. But it’s rare for a band to film a video these days.
Petrov: “The pub is Warpigs (Brewpub; on FaceBook) in Copenhagen. Their brewery is the bar. We actually did the beer there like it is in the video. We went into the cellar and they sorted out some really good food and really good beers. So we got drunk and they taped it! The money that you saw was the actual budget and when it was spent we got thrown out basically. It was a great night.”
BraveWords: But fans can relate!
Petrov: “Yeah, really. If we weren’t recording a video, we would’ve been sitting there doing the same thing! This time there were cameras around and it was fun. We started at noon and it went ’till early evening and we were plastered!”
BraveWords: There is quite the King Diamond/Mercyful Fate influence on the new album.
Petrov: “We played with them at a couple of festivals and at Denmark we were the only band allowed to stand on the stage watching the show which was a privilege.”
BraveWords: He is a very private person and hard to meet.
Petrov: “Yes, but the whole band is very humble and great. They were actually cool with us getting a picture on stage!”
BraveWords: Does he understand how much of an influence he has been on people like you?
Petrov: “I think he knows. He’s influenced a lot of people. And he doesn’t try to show off. He does what he does and he does it really well. He’s focused. When you meet him he’s the best of guys. He doesn’t have to be arrogant.”
BraveWords: Do you think he understands how important Entombed is to the whole Swedish death metal phenomena?
Petrov: “When we toured with him in 2006, he always came into our dressing room and said ‘have a great show’!”
BraveWords: There are two kings. And the other owns a pair of blue-suede shoes!
Petrov: “There was a tattoo I saw on a guy once once that showed King Diamond with his foot on Elvis’ head and it said ‘there can only be one king.’ That was awesome.”
BraveWords: Do you foresee any kind of classic reunion of Entombed? Have you been in touch with Nicke Andersson?
Petrov: “No. The three of them are playing on a boat. But I own the name and the logo. But if that’s legal … there are rules. They all quit at one point or another.”
BraveWords: You’ve kept the death metal heart.
Petrov: “You can’t just jump back in. There are trials (laughs). But we are sweating and doing it from the heart. This is our way of living. And if you leave the ship, you can’t come in and out as you want. Of course you can go astray and do other stuff, but no.”
BraveWords: Your fanbase wants you to be you. And that’s what we love. You are on that chosen path, the left hand path!
Petrov: “Of course. Exactly. When they think it’s comfortable and say ‘I want come back and do this,’ I say ‘no you can’t.’ You have to be honest. And you have to be true to the scene. It sounds cliche, but that’s just how it is.”
BraveWords: Utilizing social media … you do it well.
Petrov: “Yes, I’m the one in control. I saw that photo of the jersey and of course I liked it! Facebook and Instagram are ways for the fans to see what we are doing. Whether it be on a plane or just drinking like normal metalheads. Stuff like that, people love it. And I love hanging when I’m not tired. You can sleep when you are dead. You need to take advantage of every minute. Sitting here drinking beer, talking to you and listening to metal in the background is just perfect. And a perfect summer breeze!”
BraveWords: During our 70000 Tons Of Metal interview, Bloodbath (Blakkheim and Jonas Renske) were quite vocal about the huge influence of Left Hand Path.
Petrov: “I’m smiling every time people say it. Some how you know it, but when people say it you go ‘yeah’! That cross is just two subway stations from my house. It was the photographers idea at the time. And it was snowing calmly. But it’s iconic. It’s a great fucking picture.”
BraveWords: And even Clandestine to this day is one of those monumental moments in metal.
Petrov: “Yes, that is one of my favourites, even though I don’t sing on it. But Left Hand Path, we recorded it and mixed it in five days.”
BraveWords: Like Black Sabbath.
Petrov: “Yeah. Sometimes it’s better when you don’t think too much. You go with the first or second take and say ‘sounds good.’ That’s how we recorded this album. But you can dwell on a song for ten years and still in the end you go back to the original first take. We actually just began to use that philosophy now. With Left Hand Path, it was pretty well rehearsed. Before that we did the Nihilist demos and stuff. But as you get older, you think more. And that can be good and bad. But with the new records, if it sounds good just take it! And it sounds good to record a record live. Some overdubs here and there. But first impressions last.”
BraveWords: Any talks with Earache about doing something special with the catalog?
Petrov: “No, we aren’t thinking about that right now, because we are too occupied with the new stuff. And Earache has done a couple of reissue things over and over again. Nah. What is done is done. And art’s great stuff. You don’t have to fix it.”
BraveWords: Do you listen to the old material much? How do you think it has weathered over time?
Petrov: “It still lasts.”
BraveWords: Some of your fans weren’t even born when they came out!
Petrov: “Yes, they were taught by their dads! But the legacy goes on. Especially when we were touring with Amon Amarth this year. There was a lot of people who didn’t have a clue who we were. But there are new waves of metal people coming all time and that’s cool.”
What are some of the key songs that need to be in your set-list in 2016?
Petrov: “Of course ‘Left Hand Path’, ’Suppose To Rot’, ‘Revel In Flesh’ and ‘Stranger Aeons’. Sometimes ‘Chaos Breed’ and stuff like that. And when you write the set-list they just come naturally.”
BraveWords: In the early ‘90s, there was a big push for the key Earache bands with the Columbia Records deal which was highlighted by Entombed, Napalm Death, Carcass and Cathedral.
Petrov: “Like Wolverine Blues sold almost two or 300,000 copies or something. And the Marvel Comics connection, that helped. But that was a Columbia Records idea. It didn’t really have any connection with the band, but somebody had the idea and it worked. And they pumped a lot of money into it. We were supposed to tour a lot there, but some people in the band couldn’t handle it. If we would’ve stuck with it as planned, we would’ve been at a whole other level today.”
BraveWords: You started going down the left hand path and there was a point that you did an extreme right turn. For example Same Difference. Explain why?
Petrov: “I’ve never been a writer. During those days I just tagged along. Personally I don’t like it. My heart isn’t in it. It wasn’t me. I don’t think it was any of us.”
BraveWords: Just labels trying to mainstream a band?
Petrov: “Yeah. It just could never happen and it didn’t happen as well. It was a nice try though. So we had an expensive studio and it had to appeal to people. Now when I listen to to it, I barely can hear a whole song. ‘What the hell are we doing!’ It’s still an Entombed album. The art was different, but it fit the music maybe! (laughs). And that’s why we don’t play those songs live!”
BraveWords: What’s the musical forecast?
Petrov: “We have a few riffs, but right now we are fully occupied with touring. We’d like to write more on the road, but it never happens. ‘Yeah, we can sit in the bus and jam,’ but it never happens. But if somebody has a basic idea, we just record it on our phone and we save it for later. And it builds. When we started working on the first Entombed A.D, we didn’t want it to be six years. If two goes by, you get lazy. And time flies! You have to be constantly at work and focused. “
BraveWords: I can’t thank you enough. You’ve been a huge influence.
Petrov: “Well, we are going to continue. And it feels good too.”
BraveWords: Your health?
Petrov: “A lot of cigarettes. But not at home. Me and the new guitar player (Nico) go on six mile walks every day and maybe we’ll stop at a bar!”
BraveWords: The Comecon debut which you sang on is just brilliant!
Petrov: “I got approached by the guys and they pretty much had everything ready. So I just came in and sang it. They had all the lyrics figured out and everything. I’m really, really lazy at writing music and lyrics. I get too bored. But when I do it, I do it. I put my mark on it, like a dog.”
BraveWords: And Firespawn was another side-project. The music keeps flowing!
Petrov: “If you do things right, you’ll have time to do other things as well. Time just means more music. It just needs to get out.”
(L-G Petrov live photos by Mark Gromen)