AGGREGATED ASSAULT!

Accept

4.4
Free Metal E-Mail









New Users Sign Up

Connect. Befriend. Follow.

Share |



Other swag here
metal rules swag



Unleashed
Sworn Allegiance
August 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Unleashed have had Johnny as a frontman for a long time. Johnny first started out as a member in the famous Swedish band Nihilist, which later morphed into Entombed. When that happened Johnny left the band to form Unleashed in 1989. From that point on Unleashed have been one of the most influential death metal bands in the world.



This is Unleashed’s seventh studio album and this year they celebrate 15 years in the industry. Their first release came 1990 with an EP called REVENGE. Their debut album came the following year under the name WHERE NO LIFE DWELLS. SWORN ALLEGIANCE is the follow up to their album from 2002, HELL’S UNLEASHED. Over the years they have toured with acts like Death, Morbid Angel, At The Gates, Cannibal Corpse, Entombed and Samael, so audiences have had plenty of opportunities to see them live.



As to be expected, the material on SWORN ALLEGIANCE is about vikings and Scandinavian mythology. I don’t know who wrote the fourteen tracks or in which studio they were recorded, but the album was mixed by Fredrik Folkare in Chrome Studios. Whoever did the production did a really great job, as the album sounds like impressive death metal should. It’s heavy, aggressive and hard.



SWORN ALLEGIANCE feels very vital and hungry and it sounds like death metal did at the beginning of the 90’s when the genre became a major force on the Swedish scene. Unleashed have managed to combine the early 90’s death scene with a dose of the 21st century and the result is magnificent. It’s hard, fast and grinding the whole album through. Fourteen tracks make up the album and all of them clock in under five minutes. The longest one is 4:09 and the shortest 1:40.



“Winterland”, “Destruction (Of The Race Of Men)”, “Helljoy”, “Insane For Blood”, “I Bring You Death”, “Attack”, “Praised Be The Lord”, “Metalheads” and “Long Live The Beast” are very fast, hard and brutal. Johnny sounds extremely angry in his vocals and all of the songs are of great speed. There are a lot of tempo changes and Anders makes frequent use of his double bass pedals. “Only The Dead”, “The Longships Are Coming”, “CEO”, “One Night In Nazareth”, “To MiklagDrd” are more grinding death metal songs. They’re not as fast as the other songs, but still heavy. Fredrik gets the opportunity to shine on several guitar solos during these songs. The second song has a chorus that immediately stays in your head. It’s a constant repeat of the chorus with hardly any verse at all. Finally the song “To MiklagDrd” has serious influences from Swedish folkmusic.



With this album Unleashed really show that the are still a major force within the death metal scene today. SWORN ALLEGIANCE is a really strong album straight through, the only negative thing is the number of songs. Maybe they should have stopped with ten or eleven ‘cause a few of the songs feels like they could have been left behind.



Favorite tracks are “Winterland”, “Destruction (Of Race Of Men)”, “Only The Dead”; “ CEO”; “Helljoy”; “Attack!” and the tribute to the band’s fans “Metalhead”.



This is an absolute “must have” album for every fan of Swedish death metal or death metal in general.
Track Listing

1. Winterland
2. Destruction (Of The Race Of Men)
3. Only The Dead
4. The Longships Are Coming
5. Helljoy
6. Insane For Blood
7. I Bring You Death
8. Attack!
9. CEO
10. One Night In Nazareth
11. Praised Be The Lord
12. Metalheads
13. To MiklagDrd
14. Long Live The Beast

Lineup

Fredrik – lead guitar
Johnny – lead vocals, bass
Tomas – rhythm guitar
Anders – drums


Next review: » Unleashed - Sworn Allegiance
Previous review: » Unleashed - Oldaheim

Unleashed
Sworn Allegiance
September 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.2/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Unleashed are one of the godfathers of Swedish death metal along with Entombed and Grave. They came out in the early 90s with groove-laden songs that contained brutal downtuned riffs and growled vocals. Despite a few bumps in the road along the way, including a five year break between 1997 and 2002 (maybe they were hanging out with Grave?), the band has delivered a solid death metal record that should bring back some fans they lost on 2002’s poorly-received HELL’S UNLEASHED. That album was a less-than-stellar comeback with its subpar lyrics, paint by numbers riffs and overall mediocrity. The band sounds better than ever and Johnny Hedlund’s furious growl tackles you full force. The dueling guitars of Fredrik Lindgren and Tomas Olsson are a potent match up that shred at times, while chug at others. Overall, SWORN ALLEGIANCE has improved in spades on the things that befell its predecessor, but it’s not perfect, either.



“Winterland” is a typical Unleashed track with speedy riffs, punishing vocals and a brutal double bass attack. The band has created a virtual feeling of an “ice cold winterland” to go along with the lyrics. “Destruction (Of The Race of Men)” continues the sensory assault with Anders Schultz’ double bass attack and Tomas Olsson’s rhythms. Hedlund’s growling vocals during the chorus prove he has a unique voice among a sea of death metal sound-alikes. “Only The Dead” is as brainless a song as the band has ever released, but things are obviously tongue-in-cheek as Hedlund bellows out, “I only fuck the dead!” The music is worthy of a neck-snapping headbang or two, but what in the hell were they thinking when putting pen to paper for lyrics like, “You open wide and prepare to receive…you crave hard penetration and order me to cum deep.” “The Longships Are Coming” touches on a popular topic within the Unleashed camp—Vikings. Describing the first known Viking attacks in the year 793, the lyrics capture the fear that the monks must have felt seeing the Norse warriors heading for shore. “Insane For Blood” is a groovy track that showcases the beauty of a Fredrik Lindgren guitar solo, as does “To Miklagard.” “Attack!” clocks in at 1;40, but in that time, Unleashed does a better imitation of REIGN IN BLOOD-era Slayer than even Slayer could do these days! This track is pure aggression and ends all too briefly, but at the same time, its brevity is effective. “CEO” tells the story of a white-collar lecher and its slower tempo really slows down the energy of the album. “Praised Be The Lord” is a scathing commentary on religion and how it has become a big business. “Praised be the Lord/Give us all you can afford”…NICE! “Metalheads” is a good thrasher sure to get the people fired up in a live setting. It is dedicated to the metalheads at live shows who get into the scrum and like to mix things up. The Manowar-like lyrical silliness of the power of metal is horribly cheesy, but at the same time, this song just plain kicks ass!



SWORN ALLEGIANCE is a damn good album, but not without one minor fault. Rather than go for quality, Unleashed seems to have gone for quantity on this record drawing fourteen songs over a scant 44 minutes. Tracks like “Helljoy,” “I Bring You Death” and “One Night In Nazareth” are throwaway tracks that could easily have left off and not missed one bit.



I am extremely pleased by how Unleashed have improved in leaps and bounds over their mediocre last offering with SWORN ALLEGIANCE. It is a big step up over the HELL’S UNLEASHED debacle with better lyrics, better playing and an overall sense of harmony within the band itself. Along with Grave’s FIENDISH REGRESSION, which will be released the same day as SWORN ALLEGIANCE, the familiar taste of brutal old-school Swedish death is coming back with a vengeance by the very bands who started it all.



KILLER KUTS: “Winterland,” “Destruction (Of The Race Of Men)” “Only The Dead,” “Insane For Blood,” “Attack!,” “Metalheads”
Track Listing

1. Winterland
2. Destruction (Of The Race Of Men)
3. Only The Dead
4. The Longships Are Coming
5. Helljoy
6. Insane For Blood
7. I Bring You Death
8. Attack!
9. CEO
10. One Night In Nazareth
11. Praised Be The Lord
12. Metalheads
13. To Miklagard
14. Long Live The Beast

Lineup

Johnny Hedlund—Vocals/Bass
Fredrik Folkare—Lead Guitar
Tomas Olsson—Rhythm Guitar
Anders Schultz—Drums


Next review: » Unleashed - Sworn Allegiance
Previous review: » Unleashed - Oldaheim

Unleashed
Sworn Allegiance
September 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: MetalGeorge

After an initially disappointing comeback with 2002's HELL'S UNLEASHED, Sweden's perrenial underdogs have returned with their best release since 1995's VICTORY. With both a musical and lyrical return to their roots, SWORN ALLEGIANCE is Unleashed's brutal metal statement for the ages. The tempo is fast, the riffs gallop and crush, the leads scorch and soar: all is right for Scandinavia's heaviest Vikings.



Indeed, many of the songs here deal with the medieval topics we have come to expect from Unleashed, such as opener "Winterland", as well as "The Longships Are Coming", "Attack!", "To Miklagard", and the "Lord of the Rings" inspired "Destruction (Of the Race of Men)". The speed and heaviness of the band's classic back catalog is echoed within each note of SWORN ALLEGIANCE, as well, galloping rhythms and crushing songs being the order of the day here.



What's curious is the strong addition of melody within this album. While the overall atmosphere is most definitely heavy to the bone, there are also subtle guitar harmonies and ripping old-school lead work to be found here as well. What really killed HELL'S UNLEASHED for most people was the inclusion of goofy songs like "Demoneater"; it just felt like an unserious return for a band who had prided themselves on flying the old school Death Metal banner for so long.



While SWORN VENGEANCE does include one clunker in the form of "CEO", the overall vibe of the record is angry and aggressive, yet with a killer Venom-esque looseness to it, as well (see the track "Metalheads" for proof of this). Even frontman Johnny Hedlund spits his vitriol like a more brutal version of legendary bass assassin Cronos.



Overall, consider this a winning return to form for the Swedish legends who helped define the Stockholm Sound in the early 90s. Moreover, it is one of the better old school Death Metal records I've heard in some time, easily beating out the new Grave in comparison. For raw and rockin' fun, you can't beat a lil' SWORN VENGEANCE.--mg
Track Listing

1. Winterland
2. Destruction (Of the Race of Men)
3. Only the Dead
4. The Longships Are Coming
5. Helljoy
6. Insane For Blood
7. I Bring You Death
8. Attack!
9. CEO
10. One Night in Nazareth
11. Praised Be the Lord
12. Metalheads
13. To Miklagard
14. Long Live the Beast

Lineup

Fredrick--lead guitar
Johnny--bass and vocals
Tomas--rhythm guitar
Anders--drums


Next review: » Unleashed Power - Absorbed
Previous review: » Unleashed - Oldaheim





Home | About Metal-Rules.com | Staff | Advertise With Us | Staff Openings | Donations

Content is © 2009-2012 Metal-Rules.com. All Rights Reserved.
Graphics by Hammerblaze studio.