8/4/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Unchained - ST - 2005 - Sound Riot Records
Really, in all honesty, this doesn't sound like your typical Swedish band. I hear nothing that remotely resembles the works of that nation, with the Hammerfalls and Dream Evils taking a backseat here to the TNT, Griffin, Guardians Of Time sound. That is where Unchained lie, with their heart of stone cleary planted in the fields of Norwegian power metal and hard rock. While Sweden seems to occupy more of the "middle of the road" mindset, Unchained go more down the "thinking man's path", preparing blueprints of metal that involves rich, textured harmony and the hardest of adult oriented rock, otherwise known as AOR.
But don't get up in arms yet, Unchained are a metal band and put that on display first and foremost. You can hear the Iron Maiden influences over everything else, but the act goes one step further and incorporates melodic rock into their armory. This is the biggest selling point to me and helps define the band and seperate them from the overpopulated power genre. That is what is necessary in today's metal market, the ability to have indentity and to carry on with a more diverse style that caters to all ends of the metal spectrum. Unchained has that gift.
With strong, faster cuts like "The Great Witch Hunt" and "Ghost Of The Alchemic Hall", these Swedes clearly display dazzling, melodic speed. Guitarists Blome and Ericsson combine on some of the best twin guitar melody I've heard since Murray/Smith. The two work hand in hand throughout the entire record, really bringing huge melody to the band's captivating sound. Songs like "My Guide" blend the sing-along chorus parts with a more aggressive approach. Other tracks are based more on groove than melody, evident on the stomper "Ordinary Sinner". Vocalist Per Karlsson is sort of a cross between Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala and Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet, with most of his delivery being in that Dickinson approach, which I enjoy significantly.
Bottom Line - Unchained showoff an amazing veteran ability to create complex rhythms that are addictive and entertaining, while still holding on to that unique approach to experiement while keeping a hook. This is an amazing trait and one that really makes me hold Unchained in high regards.
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