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Unleashed - Across the Open Sea
Review: With their third album, Unleashed do not alter their rising course and thus justify some further criticism that all of their work is all cut from the same cloth which has arisen after the first two very similar albums. Nevertheless, "Across the Open Sea" moves forward in that individual songs are stronger and have more presence than previous individual songs, but also lag behind in that no drastic revelations are uncovered and this album as a whole is weaker than their second or first.
The title track is acoustic, a ballsy step for a death metal band, and the other tracks are good but not the epic quality expected after the last album. The music is gothic old-style metal played within a death metal context, with the instrumentality of a NWOBHM band gone hobbit rock at high speed. Where older albums relied more on fast tremelo strumming, the first aspects of rhythmic emphasis and single-strum muffled chording in the speed metal style emerge, taking this band from a highly fluid state to a stable and visibly absolutist one.
The Viking viral hierarchy that pervades the concepts behind these songs reflects a thoughtful futurism in the strength of humans and nature working against one another, together, in a karmic cycle which is represented in the pulsing undulation between central and harmonic notes. Churning and spiralling, this sound roars into synchronization with the pummeling confluence of structure and repetition for the sake of anchoring, but with note choice and rock-styled songwriting, is not fully realized as this music would be alien to a Viking.
On the inner spatial plane of this context, Unleashed work with familiar riff types and themes to make cadenced and urgent but contemplative songs from the most basic clusters of power chords inverted twice across the fretboard. Alighting on notes for quick emphasis or dredging up the undulating power double muffle strum of speed metal bands, these manic Swedes stamp out further anthemic works which emphasize the nihilism and opportunity of life in the style traditional to metal yet looking toward the future in the aesthetics of ideology.