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Unleashed - Where No Life Dwells
Review: This is the first album from this band, and features the ideas used on their other two albums in a raw, disorganized form. More black metal influences come in on this album in the from of anticonsonant melodic riffs with single-string playing, and in the basic darkness and roughness of this work. Notes are bent and twisted through the scale to balance the nihilism of chromatic thrashing and the need for harmonic structure, something unfortunately too often derived from NWOBHM-era heavy metal and thus insufficient for the work as a whole to transcend its origins.
Single hand integration of polyrhythm in strumming of one- and two-note chords creates evanescent orientation of riffs which then dive and diverge through a series of thematic articulations in power chord and lead playing which emphasizes rhythm yet soars above it to complement original questions of the dominant theme. The rough voice of vocalist Hedlund thunders a monotone in complementary cadence to the trudging verses and explosively self-deconstructing choruses, building density in rhythm and texture. Guitars are used here solely as instruments and extraneous material died long ago; the resulting cleanliness allows a gelatinous ease of transfer between agile and adept yet non-technical riffing.
As much of this resembles the NWOBHM and hardcore that influenced it, the immanent qualities of storytelling and emotion inherent to the songwriting are often obscured by the technical anchoring of the work in traditional forms and techniques, yet upon repeated listen are often discernible and in their slow emergence explain the integral relevance of this band to the Swedish metal genre, as developing in past and attempting to find future.