Released: 2006, SPV/Steamhammer
Reviewer: Erin Fox
Ask fans of Unleashed which album is best by these Swedish masters of Death Metal and you'll get many different responses, but one thing is certain. MIDVINTERBLOT is the most substantial beating we've received from Unleashed in a long while, if ever. Look no further than the album’s foreboding title cut for an example of how this group uses chugging power grooves to establish authority. This song, including its inventive soloing simply thrashes. Hails to Odin and Thor for they have never sounded this damn heavy before.
Riffing remains king on “We Must Join With Him,” a track that issues a neck-snapping, Death Angel-style lick before collapsing under the might of blast beating. Vocally, Johnny Hedlund’s performance is much fuller sounding than on “Sworn Allegiance.” In terms of performance, his voice has never sounded better. Many draw a parallel to the voice of Hedlund with that of Piotr from Vader, but Hedlund has a certain inflection in his tone that is truly his own. Raise the horns. Over the years, Hedlund has became proficient at penning catchy choruses and the fact that his vocals are at once gruff and decipherable remains a big part of the overall appeal of Unleashed.
Often, the group experiments with new approaches, as they do with grand success on “Triumph Or Genocide.” An effort to enhance the track to the point of making it something out of the ordinary is evidenced here, with many appropriately articulate diversions firmly complementing this intensely dominant track. Making the effort to add the licks, fills and texture required to make these tracks superior casts the band in a great light. Having laid down these tracks in their own studio, the group had time to make the album that they wanted to make and it shows.
While many artists claim to have made the album of their career with each successive album, Unleashed backs up their words with an amazing offering in MIDVINTERBLOT. There’s very little here that can be frowned upon. After a lengthy run, these Swedes have returned at the top of their game. Make no mistake, MIDVINTERBLOT is a beast, indeed. Any true Unleashed fan will not come away from this album disappointed.