3/14/2008 - Review by: David Loveless
What is left to be said that has not already been said about Death Metal legends Unleashed? With a career spanning nearly 20 years and 8 mind-bending studio albums, Unleashed have already proven their status as the true leaders of Viking-influenced death metal. Vocalist/Bassist Johnny Hedlund continues to lead his Viking cohorts on a mission to slay the masses with their powerful 8th studio album, Midvinterblot. Containing 15 devistating tracks of Nordic and Viking influenced death metal, Midvinterblot once again shows why Unleashed should be feared by new (and old) bands alike, in the quest to reach death metal supremacy.
With only one song barely reaching the 4 minute mark, expect 15 blasts of uncompromised thrash-laden death metal. The album opener, Blood of Lies, wastes no time as it immediately goes into a sick, typical Unleashed riff accompanied by a surge of blast beats. After some genre-defining thrash moments, a suitable solo weaves into the mix before raging on to the closing moments of the track. The second track, This Is Our World Now, is a thrash metal attack that shows a style that has been predominant throughout Unleashed's career. The third song, We Must Join With Him, is another thrash attack with a great blend of blast beats and an awesome display of guitar harmonies on the main riff. The fourth song, the albums title track, is a groove-oriented thrash piece that is heavy as hell, and also shows hints of classic Venom! Let's skip ahead to track 7, The Avenger. Right off the bat this song reminds me of something that Zakk Wylde might write for Black Label Society - except on steroids! This song really sounds good loud and is a great song to put in the middle to get you pumped up for the remainder of the album. Forging onward to track 11, I Have Sworn Allegiance, Unleashed gives us a late 80's thrash tune that could have fit in just fine on their Where No Life Dwells or Shadows In The Deep albums. On the 15th and final track, Valhalla Awaits, Unleashed slows the fury down a bit to give us a mid-paced thrasher with an awesome solo and great riffs during the chorus parts.
Eighteen years after the release of Where No Life Dwells, Unleashed proves that they still have what it takes to release vicious death metal. The one thing that I particularly like about Unleashed is that they continue to grow with the times without compromising the sound of their roots. With that being said, Midvinterblot will definitely appeal to the older death metal crowd like me, as well as the young ones that are just testing their ears in the world of death metal! Let the march toward Valhalla continue as Unleashed will be leading the way for many years to come.
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