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UNLEASHED-6


UNLEASHED

"Dawn of the Nine"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Unless you're completely new to the world of extreme metal, you don't need me to tell you about Unleashed. Simply put, they're one of the pillars of the Swedish death metal scene. Their long and prolific career has been something of a rollercoaster ride, with classic albums and subpar efforts both. Their last album "Odalheim" was frankly one of the latter. Too much on the black metal side and not heavy enough as far as guitar sound goes.

"Dawn of the Nine", while not ranking with the greatest Unleashed efforts, is a real improvement. Its thicker and punchier than "Odalheim" while continuing the same epic tale of Norse revenge on Christianity. "A New Day Will Rise" starts quickly but with a lot of the freezing melody of "Odalheim". It's OK but better is to come. It really isn't until ""Where Is Your God Now?" that "Dawn of the Nine" kicks into high gear...and stays there. That kicks off with a furious scream from Johnny Hedlung and a break-neck assault. "The Bolt Thrower" follows and believe it or not, is kind of a chunky stomper not a million miles away from the band of that name. "Let The Hammer Fly" is another blazing Swedish screamer fit for burning churches and raping nuns. Speaking of which, "Where Churches Once Burned" is a slow and ominous tune with the black metal feel but subtly mixed into standard Unleashed death metal. A good cut, but "Land of the Thousand Lakes" is better yet...starting with bone-shaking bass and turning into something doomy and formidable.

The album hews to familiar themes and sounds...to be expected, since really Unleashed can be called the AC/DC of Swedish death metal. But its a bit too cozy to make "Dawn of the Nine" a truly breakout album.  It's sturdy Swedish steel and Unleashed delivering their trademark style in high fashion. Hail the Hammer Battalions!