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With the third album, Across The Open Sea, finally Unleashed started to talk about the Vikings period and battles, leaving a bit behind the classic, a bit too common themes about darkness and death. This is where a new period begins for them even if the music has not changed because it’s always on death metal and that is good. In 37 minutes the same formula is displayed through always essential production and sounds. We can find also the classic mixture of fast paced tracks to more doom and darker sections where the band points everything on the sheer gloominess of the guitars.
“To Asgaard We Fly” is one of the most famous tracks by this band and it’s the first fast one with galloping riffs and the catchy chorus. The darkness and the essentiality of their sound is the most remarkable characteristic. Everything is sharp but also extremely gloom and if you are searching for a full sound, a powerful one you can be disappointed because these are not the most important elements in this sound. By the way, the band plays always quite well and with the right attitude even if the songs acquire more powerful in a live gig. So far, everything is good.
“Open Wide” is massive through mid-paced progression to evocate a sense of epic adventures and it’s not so well developed because has few riffs and few ideas. The general atmosphere is, by the way, quite good and with “I am God” we return to speed with simpler riffs and songwriting. This time the tremolo picking is the most used technique and it’s really dark. The vocals are always very good and suffered in many parts. They are screamed and never too growled or distorted but easily recognizable for their style and tonality.
“The One Insane” is a good example of mid-paced track where the riffs are always present and less derivative, sustaining the structure and catching the attention. The title track is an instrumental one with the arpeggios by an acoustic guitar and the glom/epic atmosphere. It’s a prelude to the monolithic riff to “In The Northern Sea”. The tempo is again not so fast with lots of stop and go parts by the guitars but it’s always quite enjoyable even if not stunning. To increase the speed and the violence we find “Forever Goodbye (2045)” while the return to mid-paced parts has the name of “Execute Them All”. The guitars are good at switching from palm muting to tremolo picking and the chorus is truly screamed and dark.
“Captured” features some clean arpeggios under the slow riffs and the vocals are darker. The restart by the middle is a bit more extreme and intense but we return immediately to the non-exceptional, slower progression. We can find a Judas Priest’s cover, “Breaking The Law”, obviously on speed with the strangely punkish vocals. It’s not bad and with the last “The General” we return to speed but everything seems a bit common and done before. In various parts, seems to me that the band is doing the homework without passion or the right rage and it’s a pity. Some parts also are a bit boring and the mid-paced tunes are not shining in originality.
All in all, this is an album that suffers a bit of the classic “less ideas” fever and it’s not at the same level of the precursors. It’s not bad but it’s a bit common and too lame. It’s better to check the efforts before this to have a good idea of what Unleashed is about.