|Review: Unleashed - Midvinterblot|
Year released: 2006
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: October 18, 2006
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Now THIS is a release I've been looking forward to, ever since Unleashed's last album 'Sworn Allegiance' hit the shelves in 2004, I really hoped they could re-capture the drive and spirit of that album for their next effort, and after it finally dropping on my door mat a couple of days ago I'm not left disappointed. In the past, Unleashed have been a bit hit or miss really (myself personally much preferring their 'Death metal' side to their more 'Viking metal' approach to a couple of albums around the mid nineties). However, I thought they really found a rich vein of form on their 2004 album, harking to the early 90's Swedish death metal style that suits them best, and I'm glad to say they've continued along the same (left hand) path for this new release, on their new label SPV.
Kicking off with an astronomical kick to the testicles with "Blood of Lies" (no pansy gentle acoustic intros here folks!), the frenetic old school death ravages your eardrums into a state of eargasmic ecstasy, all crushing riff-work and flailing (ridiculously technical and melodic in fact) solos and 'berserker-in-max-rage-mode' vocals – to be honest, I can't understand why they haven't been involved in the recent Entombed/Dismember/Grave tour that's going on, (apart from the obvious Nihilist tribulations between Johnny and Entombed of course!), as they certainly have a fuck load more in common with Death metal than Entombed have in recent times. The frenzied pace throughout the album hardly lets up at all throughout the entirety (apart from maybe the title track, and 'The Witch' both of which slow the pace to a double bass driven, downtuned trudge), so yes; get that neck brace at the ready, because your unfortunate neck sinews are going to be fully stretched to breaking point for this fucker. Seriously.
The thing that really stuck out for me about this album is the lyrics bizarrely enough, Johnny, never one for being the most serious of lyricists in the past, has come up with some corkers this time around (all of which can clearly be heard, not simply due to the sterling production job on the album, but also for Johnny's 'raw but clear' vocal style, check out the 'In Victory or Defeat' lyric of "We are the immortals, from hell we rise, We are the immortals, death metal – no compromise!", yeah - it's cheesy, but at the same time it encompasses the old school, no bullshit attitude that enshrouded the scene back in the days, not to mention helped to form it.
So Unleashed, along with their other country-mates such as Amon Amarth and Dismember seem to be peaking again at the moment, and it's only to serve the benefit of death metal in general. Check this out, you won't regret it.
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Interview with vocalist and bassist Johnny Hedlund on October 6, 2019 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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