If you consider Entombed to be the most popular band that came out of the swedish death metal scene, then Johnny Hedlund could have been the swedish Dave Mustaine. Remember that before Entombed was Nihilist and that band only ceased to exist because the musicians didn’t want to fire Hedlund. Therefore, they broke up and reformed without him the following day under the name of Entombed. It may sound like a childish move because it is, much like firing Mustaine and leaving him on the road, very fire away, with only a ticket to get on the bus. Both men used that frustration, and their desire to make more music, to form their own band. Mustaine created Megadeth and Hedlund formed Unleashed. None never got as popular as their old band but Unleashed never let that get into their way of making more death metal.
Here we are now with album number twelve and nothing has seems to change. I’m not an expert on Unleashed‘s career but when you compare the old school death metal found on Where no life dwells and the slightly more melodic riffs of Dawn of the nine, there isn’t much to differentiate the two. Despite being separated by around 25 years, both albums are quite solid and offer a similar style of death metal obsessed with Nordic mythology.
However, the main problems remains also the same: Unleashed‘s music is not very catchy and the song writing is not as immediate as most of Entombed‘s or even Dismember‘s material. One of the biggest factor that separates both these bands is the crust elements that most of the newer wave of Entombed influenced bands have picked up on (see Bastard Priest or Black Breath) and that does Unleashed does not have. The drum beat is quite rigid and militaristic on A new day will rise but unlike Amon Amarth it’s not build around a simple but effective groove. Unleashed uses effectively a kind of black metal melody to carry the song but does not offer enough variation during the track’s duration to entertain the listener. The same can be said about They came to die even if the chorus is more memorable.
It is not to say that Unleashed‘s material on Dawn of the nine is not competent. Taken individually, each song is enjoyable enough despite the very rigid style that the musicians stick to. What is regrettable is that as a whole the album is nothing more than a collection of songs. Nothing carries one track to another, which makes it a bit dull for a forty five minute affair. Therefore, although it is unlikely that fans of Unleashed will be disappointed, new listener will probably not be grabbed by it’s consistency. Dawn of the nine is nonetheless a solid slab of swedish death metal but it’s a very predictable one.