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A tragic return... - 55%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, January 7th, 2009

The first time I noticed that there weren’t reviews for Hell’s Unleashed album, I remained quite astonished. This album marked the comeback by Unleashed after few years of silence. We left them with a more modern but still enjoyably sound; with more thrash metal influences and some hardcore hints, especially for the vocals. Warrior album was far better than Victory in my humble opinion and I was really happy to see that Unleashed are not dead, for the joy of the other death metal aficionados too. This new album marks a strong return to the origins; at least that is what the fanzines said at the time. Now, I give my personal opinion on this album.

First of all, this is not a return to the roots of the glorious sound of the first years of the 90s. Since the opener, “Don’t Want to be Born” we can find the clear and pounding production but also more of those modern elements, like stop and go guitars riffs and the less growled vocals by Johnny Hedlund. Everything is dark but not fast or that death metal. The title track is definitely faster but once again more thrash metal oriented, probably also for the clear production. We go on with “Demoneater” and its galloping riffs. The structures are simple but quite dynamic and fluid. Here we can notice a prevalent death metal influence while the refrain is always well recognizable. Here the stop and go riffs are bit left in a corner to point more on the classic death/thrash assault.

“Fly Raven Fly” is definitely more grooving. The tempo is again slow and heavy. The guitars draw darker passages and the vocals return to a good form of low tonality. The lead lines are quite good but what is dull is that they point on the same two or three riffs, without inventing anything. The middle section is better thanks also to a good tapping technique on the chords that announces a goodish solo. “Mr Minister” is quite weird because it features more melodic lead lines over fast tempo. After awhile it’s more classical but the refrain is horrible with those lead lines. “Joy in the Sun” has groove elements once more and it fails on its attempt to be epic. The modern elements are too heavy while “We’ll Come for You” is faster with galloping riffs. The mid-paced section features more groove influences but the overall result is acceptable.

The groove returns with the slow and harmless “Demons Rejoice”. The few ideas are just embarrassing as “Triggerman” enters with the childish structure. It’s basically a mid-paced one with again the stop and go guitars and the almost pathetic vocals. The lead lines are once again something inaudible. “Dissection Leftovers” has banal lyrics and the music is not totally bad. The atmosphere is dark even if the riffs are the same two for all the length. “Peace, Piece by Piece” is a short track where Unleashed remembers the origins and remembers to be a death metal band. Finally the up tempo sections return and the few breaks are not bad either. With “Burnt Alive” and “Your Head is Mine” we return to groove once again and there’s nothing to save.

The last “Made in Hell” is an instrumental one done by a piano. The dark and hellish atmosphere put an end to this almost tragic return by Unleashed. I expected a far better album, especially after Warrior. If you are searching for old school stuff by this band, go back to the first two works and that’s enough.