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We had already noticed how the Unleashed sound changed a bit in the recent past, with the Victory album and this time this band is again on the borderline between the old school style and some more modern elements. However, the more modern parts are never too massive and annoying, but always quite veiled and not that exposed. That’s a better thing also because a band like Unleashed is famous for not having changed its style during the career, always following the death metal path. That could be a risky thing because sometimes no innovation leads to always weaker songwriting. However, this band was always able to release quite good efforts in my opinion.
“Warmachine” is short, massive and the good point is for the vocals: they have returned to that rough and growlish tonality, forgetting the more hardcore touch of the recent past. “In Hellfire” shows, like in the past, more thrash metal elements, especially on the guitars palm muting. The tempo is quite slow but massive and epic. The refrain is well-stuck and recognizable, while the following “Mediawhore” is definitely faster. The power of the guitars is far more present and a second guitarist was needed in order to be stronger. The up tempo parts are flowing and the riffs are incredibly heavy, while we can find a quite good solo too.
“Down Under the Ground” is slow, groovish but these elements do not add boredom to the sound and the epic elements are this time more present. “Death Metal Victory” is a true hymn by Unleashed and soon it destroys the mid-paced “My Life For You”. The tempo increase in speed and the chorus is epic enough to make scream an entire horde of warrior. Some Celtic Frost influences can be found on the slow and again epic “Hero of the Land” and this is actually very good. What I liked is that the once boring mid-paced sections they played in the past are now far more convincing and epic. This is a truly important thing to notice in order to remark their growth in songwriting.
“Löngt Nid” is not spectacular on its slow march but it’s convincing once more and at least it’s epic and battling. The following “Born Deranged” is definitely faster with a long series of up tempo and tremolo pickings. The refrain is always well-audible and the riffs are catchy. The break by the middle displays and excellent, if not that technical or complex, work by the lead guitar in order to create a dark and utterly dramatic atmosphere. “I Have Returned” s probably the most boring and derivative track on this album. It’s lame and without ideas. The slow progression is continued with the darker “Ragnarök”. This time the lead guitar is better and the atmosphere is definitely black with some arpeggios too.
“Your Pain is my Gain” shows more dynamic structures to return to speed. The riffs are more thrash metal oriented and the modern elements are far more present here. The stop and go riffs by the guitars are not the best but it’s quite convincing. The same can be found on the last “The End”. This song has more or those stop and go riffs and the vocals show also more melodic passages. It’s a pity because these last two songs could have been far better but they sink in mediocrity. The last part of this album is not that good but the rest stands out in a good way. This is definitely a better work by Unleashed.
This album in my opinion has that x factor of crunch and headbangingability that alot of DM albums fail to have. One of the reasons might be because the songs on here are mostly mid paced DM. The riffs are heavy, downtuned and thrashy..but thats a good thing . Trust me. In fact, alot of the songs have that ability to get you going..they just have that moshable feel to them. Granted, if you dissected the album further, you'd find that the songs are indeed very stripped down to bare bones metal, they do however tend to be quite repititive with the riffs and such...but its not a complete disaster, because the songs are all pretty short.
And don't expect too much for solos on this album....its not that the solos are bad..its just either just me or its that there aren't too many of them, either that or its because the soloing is not too memorable (it doesn't have to be for this type of metal).
The vocals here aren't far from standard, BUT he doesn't sing so gutteral as to where the lyrics are incomprehesable...actually I think the vocals fit very well and makes the sound even more heavy and help to add to the aforementioned "x-factor".
Anyways, this album isn't bad at all...in fact it does what it should do...its great for headbanging, its not evil sounding, but as a whole its still pretty solid.
Overall, the mid-paced songs are best. "Warmachine" is quite catchy and cool even though its not even 2 minutes long. "Mediawhore" has a nice smashing riff that is pure molten metal, the song is great too!. "Hero of the Land" actually exerts small amounts of melody, its not the best, but notable I'd say. "Born Deranged" is the speediest (no surprise...constant snare drum) and most standard death metal number...don't worry it slows down halfway through..."Ragnarok" is the closest to evil brooding DM you'll get here, while "Your Pain, My Gain" shows the most promise of the latter half of the album, as its yet another stomping moshterpiece. The last song, appropriately titled "The End" isn't really one the highlights but its still noteworthy and still manages to chug on like a big black demon train of death :) It even has one of the most vile solos on the album...vile? yeah it fits the song!
This isn't a bad record at all. It may or may not be the Unleashed that everyone adores...but oh well...I still find most of it enjoyable...