Written by: PP on 24/10/2006 17:10:20

Welcome to the world of viking mythology, blazing melodies, brutal riffs, and barking vocalists, the domain of Viking Metal and the realm where Unleashed's eighth studio album "Midvinterblot" shall reign as the dominant force this year. The whole setting, the constant blast-beats and the vocals are more likely than not to sound familiar to anyone who's ever listened to bands like Ensiferum or Entombed, but what separates Unleashed from the rest is the next to perfect execution of it all.

The riff sequences are innovative and interesting, hardly ever leaving the listener bored even during the instrumental sessions. The songs change from the melodic dual guitar passages to blazing heavy metal solo trade-offs to viciously down-tuned riff-repetitions to create a versatile sound base for frontman Hedlund's predictable, monotoneus barks and growls that, despite the ever-changing song structures, confine themselves within the exact same depth and volume and thus work as the perfect opposite for versatility.

The stylistic conversancy and technical proficiency is best demonstrated on "In Victory Or Defeat" in which the rhythm and pace constantly change together with the riffs, and the solos rally through in the best Slayer-light speed manner giving you chills and demanding your best air guitar moves to be taken out to daylight from the closet.

And ultimately, Unleashed's "Midvinterblot" has everything that's so great and everything that's so bad about the genre at the same time. While their technical skills are out of this world and their songwriting skills are perhaps better than ever during their career, the vocals reduce the 'wow' effect down to almost negligency by their limitedness and inflexibility. The whole genre would be beneficiaries if one band just decided to change the course slightly and experiment with vocals in the same way as Enslaved once did to transform the genre into what it is today. Unleashed could very well become the new trend-setters in the genre, only if they didn't choose such a risk-free investment as "Midvinterblot" is.

Download: In Victory Or Defeat, Salvation For Mankind
For the fans of: Enslaved, Ensiferum, Wintersun
Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.10.2006
Provided by Target ApS

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