Unleashed – The Hunt For White Christ

Whenever the subject of Vikings and Swedish Death Metal arises, Stockholm’s Unleashed invariably find themselves at the forefront of any debate or conversation along with hairy growlers Amon Amarth. Lazy and unnecessary musical comparisons have constantly plagued both sides over the years, but the two remain quite different beasts. Whereas the beardy bunch from Tumba dove straight into Viking folklore, long-ships and battleaxes right from their inception, the more Black Metal influenced Unleashed took their time, remaining just as comfortable tackling different subjects such as war, evil, politics, the media, murder and social injustice, sometimes even evoking the spirit of Manowar by writing songs simply for the glory of METAL. Continue reading

Unleashed – Dawn of the Nine


Swedish death metal veterans Unleashed are 25 years into their career. Dawn of the Nine (Nuclear Blast), the group’s 12th album, is a quality 45 minute slab of brutal yet enjoyable old school death metal. Generally seen as one of the earliest extreme metal bands to delve into the world of Norse mythology, Dawn of the Nine sees Unleashed continue with tales of longboats, Midgard and Thor, picking up the story where 2012’s Odalheim (also Nuclear Blast)left off. There may be no shortage of other bands doing this sort of thing nowadays, but Unleashed still stand out in terms of quality.

The band – led by vocalist/bassist Johnny Hedlund and joined by Tomas Olsson & Fredrik Folkare on guitars and Anders Schultz on drums – might be long in the tooth but have crafted an album that still sounds fresh without compromising on their sound. From the opening salvo of ‘A New Day Will Rise’, the relentless shred of ‘Defenders of Midgard’ to the screaming lead single ‘Where is Your God Now?’, Dawn of the Nine is chock full of demonic bellowing , blast beats, chainsaw riffs and endless solos. It’s more heavy thrash than grinding, and you know you’re in 90s old school death metal territory, but is catchy and accessible at the same time.

Hedlund’s hellish vocals manage to somehow be guttural yet completely understandable – meaning the dense story isn’t lost behind incomprehensible grunts. There’s plenty of melodic riffing and addictively intricate solos – fans of Amon Amarth will find a lot to appreciate in the likes of ‘Where Churches Once Burned’ or ‘They Came to Die.” It’s not all blast beats however as Unleashed can varies the tempo without compromising on the heaviness; ‘Bolt Thrower’ is slow yet relentlessly brutal march, while the title track crushes at a snail’s pace before enjoying some Black Sabbath-style galloping.

‘Dawn of the Nine’ is massively heavy, surprisingly melodic, and a perfect update of classic 90s death metal. Despite being a dozen albums and a quarter decade into their career, Unleashed have still managed to concoct a quality album that’s unrelenting yet engaging and enjoyable. Fetch the mead.



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