Unleashed – Dawn of the Nine26th April 2015
More tales of ancient and distant lands where war and power poison and corrupt are strewn across the lyrical landscape of the twelfth release by Swedish death metal veterans Unleashed. Dawn of the Nine starts as it means to go on and Johnny Hedlund’s quartet waste no time on introductions on the power laden ‘A New Day Will Rise’; instead we are met with a wall of kick drums and savage guitar. Headlund’s vocals are perfect [as always] providing the narration for the coming war and are as subtle as road kill. At just under four minutes the song is perfectly pitched as the album opener; no messing about with long overdone digressions and the lead guitar by Fredrik Folkare [who also produced the album] is well placed and suitably skilful. Lyrically and musically this theme continues on ‘They Came To Die’; swift rhythmic transitions and rapid fire drumming are punctuated by repeat cries of the song title to drive home the true sonic message that Unleashed have come to convey. The album beds in over the next couple of tracks and by the time Folkare’s lead guitar on ‘Where Is Your God Now?’ is in full force I would defy anyone that has not heard this band before not to be a fan.
‘The Bolt Thrower’ introduces us to a character described in the opening lines as having ‘been born of the northern wind, with a spirit of steel, destined to win’. I’ll take it; lyrics like that cheer me up to no end and make me want to drink beer. Winner! Aside from the obvious musical aptitude that an Unleashed album denotes, there is something equally potent in the lyrical casting that Hedlund brings. Whilst his vocals are indeed sandpaper rough he takes care in ensuring his diction is precise so that every word is clear and understood so that none of the story is lost. Once again the tales appear to be derived from Norse folklore and fictional tales of warring nations, fantasy and bloodshed. Who wouldn’t want to listen to Unleashed? Weak people that’s who.
Dawn of the Nine continues to deliver exactly what is expected from a band who have been doing the rounds for as long as Unleashed have. Rock solid death metal held together by a band of musicians so accomplished they are unlikely to ever put a foot wrong.
The title track ‘Dawn of the Nine’ is a doom laden Sabbath-esque epic just shy of seven minutes and allows Hedlund to bring his true storytelling talents to the fore, before crunching guitars steer the song into faster well treaded territory. ‘Welcome The Son Of Thor’ brings the album to a crushing end and the only thing to do at this point is to hit the play button and do it all over again.
If I was pushed to form a criticism then perhaps I may be forced to say that the band is a little formulaic in that there are no surprises on this album; no signs of the band pushing the boundaries, but that is OK with me. ‘Dawn Of The Nine’ is in no way the heaviest death metal album around, in fact it is pretty melodic in comparison to most, but again, thats OK with me too. What it is, is a perfect example of metal created by a band that has heritage and skill. In short I love this band and I love what they do. So there it is. Buy this album.
Score: 8 out of 10