INTERVIEW: Alex Hellid From Entombed

Entombed are back with a new live album and new vocalist and recently released a new album “Clandestine Live” which is a complete live performance of Entombed’s classic album “Clandestine”, Entombed is also working on a new album.

Read an excerpt from the Interview below, the full interview is a lengthy featured article on Brave Words.


In November of 2016, Entombed commemorated the silver anniversary of their second album Clandestine with a special two-part performance that took place 25 years to the day after the album’s original release date. In the first half of the concert, the Malmo Symphony Orchestra performed a classical rendition of the death metal classic arranged by composer Thomas von Wachenfeldt, who became an avid Entombed fan when he first bought Clandestine album at the ripe old age of 12. In the second half, the current incarnation of the band “the classic-era triumverate of guitarists Alex Hellid and Uffe Cederlund with drummer Nicke Andersson, joined by vocalist Robert Andersson and bassist Edvin Aftonfalk” tore through the complete album in its familiar metallic form. While the complete show was chronicled on a CD/DVD set released a year later, the band has just released a new CD/double-vinyl package consisting of the metal portion of the event.

Guitarist and band founder Alex Hellid caught up with BraveWords to reflect on the seminal Swedish death metal act’s history, its future, and why Clandestine has achieved a kind of eternal life as a work in a state of perpetual reincarnation.

BraveWords: You, Uffe and one-time Entombed vocalist Orvar Safstrom performed with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra in 2014. How did those orchestrations differ from the 2016 performance? 

Alex Hellid: “The performance we recorded for the album was the third time we’ve done something like this. Thomas was actually the one who suggested us [for a classical re-interpretation]. That was around 2011. He had been approached to do some orchestration for a crossover event in a little Swedish town up north. The organizers asked him if he knew any bands who might be interested in playing with an orchestra. That performance was actually half an orchestra, 30 pieces, what they call a chamber orchestra. So the first orchestrations he did were for a much smaller ensemble. It was a little bigger when we did it in Gävle. At that point, we added a choir, but we didn’t play as a band at all. And then the third one was for a full symphonic orchestra. Thomas wrote more parts for each show, more cellos, violins, percussion, and more choir parts. It’s a work in progress. We’re hoping to do more of these and go outside of Sweden with them, and whatever we do next time will be different than the previous time. It’s growing as we do it.”

BraveWords: You had originally told Thomas that you wanted him to forget the band, to interpret the music as if the band wasn’t there. 

Alex Hellid: “It took me a little bit before he took me seriously on that. I was like ‘take us out’.”

BraveWords: The band did eventually end up in the performance, but you told him that you wanted him to use the band the same way a composer would use a flute or something.

Alex Hellid: “The first time, we were kind of left to our own [judgment], like ‘make sounds where you think you should.’[Laughs.] I actually brought both acoustic and electric guitars to that first show. For the second show, Thomas was sitting with us, so he was kind of like our conductor.”

BraveWords: After the release of Clandestine in 1991, one-time Entombed vocalist Johnny Dordevic emphasized that Entombed weren’t playing very complex music. In 1993, after LG Petrov returned as the band’s singer, he basically said the same thing. Yet Thomas saw this as a fertile source to exercise what an orchestra can do. 

Alex Hellid: “Yeah. That’s amazing to me, but it kind of makes sense. I’m sure that he could do well with Wolverine Blues too, but there’s less to work with there because it’s more based in bluesy pentatonic scales. With Clandestine, there are more parts and less repetition, for sure. That’s the album where we were influenced by Atheist and were trying to make it as complex, at least as complex as we could. We were very influenced by a show we played with those guys around 1990. But it was hard for us to pull it off in the live show, so we felt like we couldn’t take that approach any further. There were a lot of bands doing the technical stuff better than us. That’s why Wolverine Blues was kind of a reaction to what we did on Clandestine. We tried to simplify things instead.”

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