'Midwinter Blot' was the album that really broke Unleashed for
me. It is a wonderful album of viking death metal hymns; powerful and catchy,
just perfect. 'As Yggdrasil Trembles' from 2010 was much in the same vein,
however a little less catchy than its predecessor.
And what of Unleashed anno 2012? Well, faster and harder would be the first
descriptive words I'd use. Johnny Hedlund and his merry men have found an extra
keg of powder and transformed it into a round of death metal salvos with a
indismissal stint of black metal. Yet, fear not, hymn freaks! The hymnical
aspect is far from gone with the advent of 'Odalheim'. There are indeed mighty
tunes still which call for voices to be raised high in the night.
Take for example the title track of the album with its inciting chorus, the
repeated 'Rise Odalheim!' Rise of the Mayan Warriors has the same kind of
sing-along potential. Or take the call to the men at arms that is
Gathering the Battalions. Furious piece, that!
At the same time, there is also room for mellow, acoustic intros for the tunes
The Hour of Defeat (a song that otherwise lends a great deal from melodic death),
By Celtic and British Shores, The Soil of Our Fathers (Spanish inspired intro,
by the way) and Germania (well-suited for festivals in Germany, I reckon, eh, eh?).
Vinland also holds an acoustic intro, and a fairly weird one, before hammering
through with a relentless wall of death metal.
Those of you who know me know that I like a bit of diversity, and it is
primarily via the acoustic parts that Unleashed provides that variation from the
merciless blackened death barrage.
Conclusion: The campaign continues. Unleashed is still in good shape after a
career of over 20 years and their metal as relentless as we'd expect it to be.