Metal musicians pay tribute to death metal legend L-G Petrov

L-G Petrov
(Image credit: Avalon/PYMCA/Gonzales Photo/Nikolaj Bransholm/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The world of metal has been paying tribute to former Entombed frontman and death metal trailblazer Lars-Göran Petrov, who died on Sunday, 7 March, aged 49.

Petrov was diagnosed with inoperable bile duct cancer last year, and his death was announced yesterday by his bandmates in Entombed A.D. 

Musically he was a giant in the world of singers. I like to think I’ve told him too, but LG being LG, he would have laughed it off

Mikael Åkerfeldt

He leaves behind a formidable discography and a legacy that is writ-large across all quarters of underground metal. 

With Entombed's first two albums, Left Hand Path and Clandestine, Petrov helped create the Stockholm death metal sound, and took it across the globe in 1992 when their performances on Earache's Gods Of Grind tour caught the attention of MTV's Headbanger's Ball. 

More savage than their counterparts in Gothenburg, it came out of Sunlight Studios and made the Boss HM-2 distortion pedal a pedalboard essential for metalheads. Entombed's necrotic, buzzsaw guitars and Petrov's primordial roar was an intoxicating mix.

With death metal, selling the atmosphere, the soundtracking of horror is everything, and Entombed sounded rotten from the get-go, with huge downtuned riffs all but decomposing. It was and remains majestic. 

As a frontman, Petrov was an animalistic focal point, a gurning blur of hair with a smart sense of humour and an ursine grunt. What more could primal death metal need? 

The past couple of days, musicians from across metal have taken to social media to pay their respects.

On the Opeth Facebook account, Mikael Åkerfeldt wrote of his shock when first hearing hearing of Petrov's illness, and described him as ”a Stockholm original.”

”He epitomized the term ’down to earth’. No frills,” wrote Åkerfeldt. ”He was just a downright lovely person. Brimming with positivity. A friend. Someone we knew, and he knew us. Every time I ran into him we always talked and laughed about something. He’d bum a cigarette (back when I was a smoker) and we’d have a beer, chatting away. 

Åkerfeldt said Petrov was a giant as a vocalist. While he will be remembered for the raw power of his voice in Nihilist, Entombed, death metal supergroup Firespawn – not to mention his drumming with Morbid – Åkerfeldt's favourite Petrov performance came in the more rarified atmosphere of Stockholm's Royal Opera House, where Entombed performed with the Royal Swedish Ballet for the 2005 live album Unreal Estate.

”Musically he was a giant in the world of singers. I like to think I’ve told him too, but LG being LG, he would have laughed it off. My favorite performance of his was when Entombed played at the Royal Opera here in Stockholm. It was amazing! LG at the piano! They put a lot of attending musicians to shame that evening, and I was one of them.”

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.