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A Commendable Effort - 70%

corviderrant, May 8th, 2007

Unleashed have certainly been around for a while, and I have to give them respect for sticking to their guns as well as they do. They are very much like AC/DC in that they have the "If it ain't bust, don't fix it" attitude, and this is both a good and a bad thing.

It's good because they are damned good at what they do. They write some seriously anthemic tunes and have a very keen sense of songcraft and structure. They don't just mindlessly blast away at random like most bands in the death metal realm do these days, and I appreciate that. And some very strong tunes are on display here, like the title track and "We Must Join With Him", one of their rare non-Viking themed songs (this is actually about Sauron, the Eye of Mordor, a perfect character to write about in metal for sure) . And the lead guitar playing is excellent, very melodic and coherent, with solos in every song showing that even metal this heavy is a good forum for virtuosity.

The production is outstanding as well, with a good amount of low end and bass presence anchoring the guitars, a welcome thing. Even though Johnny focuses more on his vocals a la Tom Araya, he can be heard and he has some ability as well. The drums are clear and not overly triggered, and the guitars have a crisp crunch unusual at this level of down tuning (B). Good showing all around there.

The down side is that, well, many of the songs sound alike and the album tends to run out of steam by the end. One too many songs on here may be partly to blame for that. If there had been 10 or maybe even 12 songs on here, it would've been fine, but there are too many songs on this album and they start to sound interchangeable. This album does kind of overstay its welcome, sorry to say. If they'd capped off the number of songs on the album, that would have helped, IMO.

Overall, this is a consistent but lacking album. Lacking in that little extra something to elevate it higher and make it a classic. Sad to say it, as much as i respect Johnny Hedlund & Co., but true. Maybe next time around will see a stronger and more assured showing?