UNLEASHED — Midvinterblot (review)

UNLEASHED — Midvinterblot album cover Album · 2006 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Nightfly
For some reason and I'm not sure why, Unleashed never seem to have got the respect they deserve. Speaking personally, these days at least, I always expect that when they release a new album it will be very good, even excellent, old school death metal and they have been on a roll for years now. There was a time though in the late 90’s/early 00’s that they released a few whilst not dreadful by any means, less than stellar albums. On 2004’s Sworn Allegiance they really upped their game and Midvinterblot which came two years later was even better, perhaps their best album ever in fact.

Midvinterblot is a fantastic album brimming with memorable old school Swedish death metal laced with a healthy dose of thrash. Most of the songs are pretty short, fifteen in total but barely a bad one amongst them. Unleashed are on fire with an arsenal of great riffs and incendiary musicianship. Most of its up tempo but when it’s not like the (relatively) slow grind of the title track it’s just as compelling due to the catchy as hell riff. Despite the shortness of most of the songs they still manage to pack a lot in with plenty of changes and a healthy dose of melody without resorting to becoming a melodic death metal band. It’s difficult to pick favourites down to the overall great consistency but the first four of Blood Of Lies, This Is Our World Now, We Must Join With Him and Midvinterblot are a grand statement of intent. Equally good is The Avenger with its crushing riffing, the frantic short sharp Psycho Killer, The thrashing I Have Sworn Allegiance and Age Of The Warrior with numerous tempo changes from a slow grind to all out blasts.

The musicianship is as expected top notch with a special mention to drummer Anders Schultz who whilst not overly technical drives it all along to perfection with an explosive performance throwing in all the right fills when required. Johnny Hedlund’s vocals are easily recognisable and stand out amongst death metal growlers and more accessible than most which is no bad thing and you can hear clearly what he’s singing even if they may not be the most thought provoking lyrics.

In the years that followed Midvinterblot I’ve enjoyed all of Unleashed’s albums and thinking about it there must be a new one coming along soon as it’s been three years since Dawn Of The Nine. This to my ears however remains their creative highpoint.
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25 days ago
I’m just listening to the debut now - my first Unleashed album - and it’s really good. So I came here to see how their other albums stack up. Maybe this should be the next one to get.
Nightfly wrote:
5 months ago
You can always rely on them these days to release a great album and I'll automatically buy it without needing to hear it first. A measure of my confidence in them.
UMUR wrote:
5 months ago
Those mid year albums aren´t very good. They destroyed their own reputation. Thankfully they´ve returned to releasing better quality releases Again.
666sharon666 wrote:
5 months ago
Reviewer's Challenge points: 3
Vim Fuego wrote:
5 months ago
I really love the first 3 albums, and Live in Vienna. Couldn't get their albums for bloody years after that.
Unitron wrote:
5 months ago
I really need to listen to more Unleashed, I love what I've heard by them. Especially Sworn Allegiance. I should review that one.
Vim Fuego wrote:
5 months ago
That first line sums up Unleashed perfectly. They were once considered one of the big three in Swedish death metal, alongside Entombed and Dismember, then next thing they'd been usurped by At The Gates and were a target for ridicule. To me, they have always been the most consistent of the Swedish DM bands.

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