Review: This is the first album from this band, and features the ideas used on their other two albums in a raw, disorganized form. More black metal influences come in on this album in the from of anticonsonant melodic riffs with single-string playing, and in the basic darkness and roughness of this work. Notes are bent and twisted through the scale to balance the nihilism of chromatic thrashing and the need for harmonic structure, something unfortunately too often derived from NWOBHM-era heavy metal and thus insufficient for the work as a whole to transcend its origins.
1. Where No Life Dwells (0:47)
2. Dead Forever (3:01)
3. Before the Creation Of Time (3:49)
4. For They Shall Be Slain (3:20)
5. In They Had Eyes (3:52)
6. The Dark One (3:40)
7. Into Glory Ride (3:21)
8. ...And The Laughter Has Died (3:22)
9. Unleashed (3:25)
10. Violent Ecstasy (3:14)
11. Where Life Ends (4:58)
Single hand integration of polyrhythm in strumming of one- and two-note chords creates evanescent orientation of riffs which then dive and diverge through a series of thematic articulations in power chord and lead playing which emphasizes rhythm yet soars above it to complement original questions of the dominant theme. The rough voice of vocalist Hedlund thunders a monotone in complementary cadence to the trudging verses and explosively self-deconstructing choruses, building density in rhythm and texture. Guitars are used here solely as instruments and extraneous material died long ago; the resulting cleanliness allows a gelatinous ease of transfer between agile and adept yet non-technical riffing.
As much of this resembles the NWOBHM and hardcore that influenced it, the immanent qualities of storytelling and emotion inherent to the songwriting are often obscured by the technical anchoring of the work in traditional forms and techniques, yet upon repeated listen are often discernible and in their slow emergence explain the integral relevance of this band to the Swedish metal genre, as developing in past and attempting to find future.
Review: In the hands of Unleashed the heavy-handed antiprog rock of Venom becomes an exercise in the rhythms and textures of the battlefield in musical form, meaning that simple and direct death metal makes here an engaging and thunderous art form that is often enlightening in its demonstration of the persistence of simplicity.
1. The Final Silence (2:55)
2. The Immortals (4:23)
3. A Life Beyond (4:49)
4. Shadows in the Deep (5:02)
5. Countess Bathory (4:02)
6. Never Ending Hate (2:33)
7. Onward into Countless Battles (4:15)
8. Crush the Skull (3:36)
9. Bloodbath (4:09)
10. Land of Ice (4:32)
While very little to distinguish this music from many others in the style occurs the combinations of melodic fragment and rhythm that is each unique song remain distinct enough that confusing them with another the work of another band is unlikely. With an uncanny ability to perfect feline rhythmic conversions like a speed metal band, Unleashed also never fail to satisfy the dancelike violence of excellent metal.
Death metal vocals that dry even the listener's throat accompany the strict rhythms of marching to war, a motif among other strong iconographies to this music. Its finesse is not in its delicacy, but in its finding a vocal definition of each idea it encompasses. This focus delivers us from music that lets up for an instant, and allows a good deal of inventiveness within a well-defined genre.
Review: With their third album, Unleashed do not alter their rising course and thus justify some further criticism that all of their work is all cut from the same cloth which has arisen after the first two very similar albums. Nevertheless, "Across the Open Sea" moves forward in that individual songs are stronger and have more presence than previous individual songs, but also lag behind in that no drastic revelations are uncovered and this album as a whole is weaker than their second or first.
The title track is acoustic, a ballsy step for a death metal band, and the other tracks are good but not the epic quality expected after the last album. The music is gothic old-style metal played within a death metal context, with the instrumentality of a NWOBHM band gone hobbit rock at high speed. Where older albums relied more on fast tremelo strumming, the first aspects of rhythmic emphasis and single-strum muffled chording in the speed metal style emerge, taking this band from a highly fluid state to a stable and visibly absolutist one.
1. To Asgaard We Fly (3:54)
2. Open Wide (3:12)
3. I Am God (4:33)
4. The One Insane (3:03)
5. Across The Open Sea (2:45)
6. In The Northern Lands (3:53)
7. Forever Goodbye 2045 (2:27)
8. Execute Them All (3:20)
9. Captured (3:47)
10. Breaking The Law (2:12)
11. The General (4:22)
The Viking viral hierarchy that pervades the concepts behind these songs reflects a thoughtful futurism in the strength of humans and nature working against one another, together, in a karmic cycle which is represented in the pulsing undulation between central and harmonic notes. Churning and spiralling, this sound roars into synchronization with the pummeling confluence of structure and repetition for the sake of anchoring, but with note choice and rock-styled songwriting, is not fully realized as this music would be alien to a Viking.
On the inner spatial plane of this context, Unleashed work with familiar riff types and themes to make cadenced and urgent but contemplative songs from the most basic clusters of power chords inverted twice across the fretboard. Alighting on notes for quick emphasis or dredging up the undulating power double muffle strum of speed metal bands, these manic Swedes stamp out further anthemic works which emphasize the nihilism and opportunity of life in the style traditional to metal yet looking toward the future in the aesthetics of ideology.