Metal Review – Entrenched: Preemptive Strike

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Metal Review – Entrenched: Preemptive Strike
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Entrenched: Preemptive Strike
Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
August 30th, 2011
Release length: 36:13
Myspace
Entrenched comes to us from Rochelle Park, New Jersey, and is the latest band entering into the Death Metal meets Thrash Metal style. Formed only recently in 2010, Entrenched signed to Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, which has had varying good and bad acts on the roster throughout the years. With about one year of time after forming, the group went into the studio and brings us their debut full-length offering, Preemptive Strike. Does the band strike a little too soon, or this an album hit while at it’s hottest?

Preemptive Strike does have a lot going for it, but at the same time it does have it’s faults, most of which is not too shocking for a debut album. Entrenched does try to stick with a war-theme throughout the album that isn’t really established until “Bred to Kill” despite some of the gun fire sound effects in the “Intro” song, and many songs on here are crushing and can immediately get the listener whipped up into a rage. The instruments here sound pretty clean, but in a stylish manner, giving the album a bit of a glossy feeling then something that could be really heavy or even bludgeoning. The guitars have a good amount of distortion on them, but due to the cleaner quality it doesn’t feel too heavy or even sharp. That heaviness winds up coming into play through the bass, which can be felt slightly in the mix and basically saves the guitars here by making the audio come off a little deeper and giving more of a Death Metal presence to the audio. The drums sound about the same, but the snares are actually really loud compared to the cymbols and the thud of the bass kicks, and they can actually overpower the instruments and even the vocals. However, it won’t take much to overpower the vocals, as most of the time it’s just your typical guttural performance, but the performances come up lacking. Musically, you can really feel some energy here, and definitely some aggression too, but the vocals don’t really capture either of them and often just come out like low growls without any enthusiasm behind them. “Landbrecher 666” does introduce some higher pitched screaming, and it’s a nice touch due to it adding a little more impact with the vocals to the aggressive elements of the release, but even they coming off a bit boring as well as traditional for this style.

One thing Entrenched does well here is mix up the amount of Thrash inspired material with Death Metal influenced tracks, while sticking to a common ground in each of them, remaining rather consistant. As mentioned earlier, the “Intro” track here doesn’t really do much to help set up the atmospheric war-theme outside two small sections of random gunfire that occurs. Of course, looking at the track list will tell you immediately this is going to be war thanks to track names like “Bred to Kill” and “Dropping the Tsar Bomb”. “Bed to Kill” does have some really catchy Death Metal with some Thrash Metal speed and attitude to it, and it will have you banging your head along, especially during the commanding chugging moments of this track. But right away it becomes obvious where the problem lies with this track, and more coming up. This song’s vocals are the typical deeper growls with some rhaspier screams thrown in for good measure, and while the vocals do sound ok, a more energetic performance to compliment the energetic music would have greatly helped this album along. But, it’s not until “ICBM” that the war-theme is really established, as is the atmosphere of the recording due to the audio sample that is more then the entire first third of song, which shows the band’s first real issue: Overly extended audio samples. While this one is a nice gruesome one, you can’t help but feel it’s just going on for too long. Other then that, “ICBM” is a good track, but it’s nothing too fantastic, having more of a Death Metal pace to it, but again feeling bogged down somewhat by the uninterested vocals.

“Landbrecher 666” on the other hand really introduces you to what this band should sound like the moment the “Intro” is over. Sure “Bred to Kill” is a great song that will have you headbanging along, but this track’s faster pace and catchy yet commanding music really feeds into the war theme of the album nicely, and the energetic gutturals with rhaspier screams of the vocals do sound a lot better then just low gutturals that sound bored on the previous tracks. And from here the album seems to get a sudden burst of adrenaline. While “Bred to Kill” and “ICBM” are simply good songs, the ones that follow are great and full of energy and aggression. Unlike “ICBM”, “Anesthetic Death” manages to include an audio sample properly, coming in later on during the song but it’s much shorter and fits the music and lyrics a lot better then the previously mentioned one. Working with the blistering Thrash inspired pace and Death Metal brutality, the energetic music and vocals really hammer away at the listener and staying engaging the entire just under five and a half minutes. “Burnt and Destroyed” also offers up a strong Death Metal track that just hammers away at the listener. This song does go back to putting more of a focus on the deeper gutturals like how it all started, but this time there’s a little extra emphasis on them most of the time. Coupled with the crushing sound of the music, it works out well in the end. It may not be one of the best off the effort, but the music is simply crushing and it does still make for a solid enjoyable track anyway. From here, it’s about the same as “Burnt and Destroyed” and the first two actual songs off the release.

Entrenched isn’t really anhything new. Preemptive Strike is just, at times, a more aggressive and crushing version of other bands in the Death/Thrash Metal genre like Impaled. What the band does have going for them at one point is some catchier, more brutalizing tracks with a speedier Thrash presentation. The only problem is that these tracks are very shortlived and once you get past them, there’s nothing special. The start of the album features some vocal work that just sounds like they were being performed by someone bored of the music, lacking a matching energy or any real enthusiasm for the music. However, when the music picks up a few songs into the album, so do the vocals, and they typically stay that way until towards the very end. Preemptive Strike is far from a bad album, but it’s also not one of the most amazing releases of it’s style and has it’s pitfalls here and there. It’s a good debut offering, especially considering the time span the band had to work with prior to hitting the studio, which was probably less then a year, but that also could be the downfall. While the music sounds good, there’s some songs like “Landbrecher 666” and “Dropping the Tsar Bomb” that simply don’t feel like the band put much effort into them, audio samples can be too long, but yet they really give off the most obvious influence to the band’s war theme. Overall, Preemptive Strike does feel a little rushed, but for what it is, it’s not really a bad album and is worth at least sampling if you ever get the chance.

01. Intro – 2:45
02. Bred to Kill – 3:45
03. ICBM – 3:46
04. Landbrecher 666 – 4:51
05. Frenzied Amputation – 4:13
06. Anesthetic Death – 5:22
07. Burnt and Destroyed – 3:22
08. Tooth and Nail – 4:46
09. Dropping the Tsar Bomb – 3:21
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Entrenched
Entrenched

Digital review copy of this release provided by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.