Unleashed - Hell's Unleashed
Century Media
Death Metal
14 songs (43'19")
Release year: 2002
Unleashed, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex

“Like it or not but we’re back again” proclaim Unleashed, a legendary death metal crew, in the title track of their latest album Hell’s Unleashed. All fans of old-school death metal must be rejoicing around the world! So, what’s Unleashed like today after five years of silence?

This is what hasn’t changed. Unleashed are still playing mid-tempo “war”-styled death metal. Not overly technical, and not overly fast, but riff-oriented, and crunchier than hard-shelled nuts. This is what changed. To me the biggest change came in the vocals. While never a growler, Johnny’s vocals are practically clean. He still would not be confused with a power metal singer, but the lyrics are clearly heard. Not melodic, he drops those words like a hammer hitting an anvil. All songs are quite simple in structure. Intro lead, or directly into the main riff, verse with the main riff distinctly heard, chorus, verse, chorus, lead, chorus. Longer epics are missing, with no song being over 4 min, most of them are actually closer to 3 min. Viking-Norse styled lyrics also aren’t prevalent as it was the case in the past. Production, on the other hand, is much improved. Clean and heavy, up-front bass and rhythm guitar execute those riffs so tightly your neck will be tired of headbanging by track 5.

As I said before, the whole album is pretty much mid-tempo. Only the verse portion of the title track, the verse in catchy Demoneater and blistering Peace, Piece by Piece have some faster blast beat drumming in them. Some songs have thrash inklings (We’ll Come for You), or double bass drum lines. Most of the time, though, this is going to “rock you to the ground”. “AC/DC of death metal” still can come up with crusher riffs that will make you want to be a bass player in a band somewhere near you. For starters, I would recommend sampling Fly Raven Fly, Triggerman and my personal favorite vampiric Dissection Leftovers. New lead guitarist Fredrik (he actually joined the band on Warrior) does not do as much tremolo as old lead guitarist Fredrik (if your name isn’t Fredrik you have no chance joining Unleashed!). The leads aren’t long, and that is probably what keeps the songs short and focused. I can’t say Fredrik’s leads would dazzle you with technicality, but some upper fretboard work on Mrs. Minister is quite frantic as well as the “siren blaring” sounds on the opener Don’t Want To Be Born. Sometimes, like the beginning of Joy In The Sun, lead-main riff-vocals converge in one unison. Drums are somewhat buried, but that was also the case with Victory. Still, subtle rhythm acceleration before the lead in Fly Raven Fly and deceleration right after it are noticeable. Bass lines are a delight, and are clearly distinguishable (Burnt Alive). As far as melody goes … well, I don’t think Unleashed were ever about “melody” in the sense it is most understood. However, the songs are undeniably catchy, and make you give this album multiple listens.

The whole album is very straightforward, and pretty much in your face. Listening to Unleashed while working out (or shoveling snow as I did recently) will keep you motivated the whole time. I doubt the band will find itself new fans with this album. Many, in fact, will call this stuff “oversimplified”, and some purists may chime in with “primitive”. The old fans, including myself, will not be disappointed as Unleashed delivered the goods. The band says: “We create hell … You unleash it”. Let’s play it loud!

Killing Songs :
Demoneater, Fly Raven Fly, Mrs. Minister, Triggerman, Dissection Leftovers, Burnt Alive, Your Head Is Mine
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Unleashed that we have reviewed:
Unleashed - Hammer Battalion reviewed by Alex and quoted 89 / 100
Unleashed - Midvinterblot reviewed by Alex and quoted 87 / 100
Unleashed - Sworn Allegiance reviewed by Jack and quoted 40 / 100
3 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!