Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Unleashed - Midvinterblot

Unleashed – Midvinterblot

Although this is not a ‘new’ release at the time of this writing, Midvinterblot certainly warrants attention and some words of praise. Unleashed is no strange entity to many death metalers, but I think they often get brushed aside for the more celebrated sons of the classic Swedish death metal scene. This boggles my mind, as their debut full-length, Where No Life Dwells (1991), is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Midvinterblot is a slab of classic Unleashed, although the brute force is much more melodic than I would have expected. I haven’t given any attention to the past few records so maybe this isn’t a new development, but it took me by surprise. The production is solid and thick, although the guitars could’ve used a small boost in the mix. My first exposure to underground metal was through Swedish death metal bands and that style almost always satiates me. Unleashed have produced a solid record with Midvinterblot, but I will say that it’s almost too slick and too melodic at times for my taste. It seems out of place to hear Johnny Hedlund’s raspy growl over the top of constant noodling, lead guitar wails.

Choice tracks include “In Victory Or Defeat,” “I Have Sworn Allegiance,” and the epic closing track “Valhalla Awaits.”