Released: 2004, Candlelight
Fuck, what a monstrous record this is. I never thought Norway's Susperia (the band was formed by ex Dimmu Borgir drummer Tjodalv) could unleash something this destuctive. To be honest, I've always kind of written of Susperia as Dimmu-light. When their PREDOMINANCE debut was released, all this talk about thrash metal was thrown around, and I just didn't hear it. When the band released their follow-up, VINDICATION, I started to become a believer; but it took something as massive as UNLIMITED to truly prove to me that Susperia was band to sit up and take notice of.
So take notice I have, and I just have to say, "fuck", one more time, because UNLIMITED is one well put together record. While VINDICATED saw the Black Metal stylings of the debut being slowly pushed aside in favor of a more gruff vocalled thrashing approach, on UNLIMITED we see a totalabandoning of almost all Black Metal influence, with only a few traditional darkened octaves lying within the opening riffs of such tracks as opener "Chemistry", and "Situational Awareness".
So, how are you gonna react when you take this puppy home from the record store and pop it in your stereo? Well, if your like me, the first thing that you're going to think is, "wow, these guys like Testament...a lot". All joking aside, American Thrash metal like Chuck Billy and the boys is obviously the biggest influence Susperia has nowadays (as many Euro bands do, it seems...), which is certainly not a bad thing, even if the homage is more than a little bit obvious.
This stands out the most in the vocal approach of Athera. I've heard that a lot of fans find his voice a bit difficult to swallow. I can understand this, and although I've personally never had a problem with it, I must declare that UNLIMITED displays the man's best performance to date. Need proof? Check the insane Halford/Dane-esque screech at the end of "Years of Infinity".
Musically, things are as rivet-tight, and produced to perfection. The Studio Fredman/Subsonic Society sound is one of the best I've heard; everything is perfectly balanced, from the smooth layer of vocals atop a ravenous guitar and drum attack, with the bass guitar work of Memnock sounding especially powerful.
While the riff/melody freakouts of Elvorn and Cyrus is a perfect exchange of slash and burn, UNLIMITED is not without quality songwriting either. Songs like "Off the Grid" and "Home Sweet Hell" are exquisitely arranged, with memorable bridges and choruses galore. A lot of this memorability is due to Tjodalv's uncanny knack to know just what beat to use for maximum punishment.
This album just rolls over everything in it's path, my friends. It is, dare I say it, a serious contender for album of the year in my eyes. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see UNLIMITED topping many journalists' lists come years end, that's for sure. With 2004/2005 North American touring plans already in the works, it seems like it's only a matter of time before Susperia's supreme take over of the world begins. Mark my words, UNLIMITED is a a future classic in the making.--mg