Since they made their debut in 1991, Unleashed has been churning out top notch death metal before anyone knew what to call it. This year, the band celebrates their 21st birthday with their 11th studio album Odalheim. This latest epic tale picks up where 2010’s As Yggdrasil Trembles left off. It is a tale of the Ragnarök and the events following the final battle.
As the great tree signals the beginning of the world’s end, “Fimbulwinter” kicks off the album and begins the long, cold journey into Odalheim. Although Unleashed made their mark and cemented their legacy as one of the forefathers of the Swedish death metal scene, the lead track doesn’t have much of a death metal feel, and tips the listener to the fact that this album is heading an a different direction, with a decidedly black metal influence. As the album progresses, you hear flashes of death metal, and even songs that are definitely death metal, but Odalheim has certainly been gripped by the frostbitten lords of darkness. Songs like the title track, “White Christ,” and “By Celtic and British Shores,” all exhibit black metal tendencies, but never fear as the band flex their death metal might and signature sound with tracks like “The Hour of Defeat,” “Gathering the Battalions,” and “Rise of the Maya Warriors.” Vocalist Johnny Hedlund still belts out vocals with great conviction, but also plays with the familiar, raspy black metal vocal stylings.
For long time fans, this album may throw them off a bit, considering this isn’t a pure death metal album. There is no doubt that this is an Unleashed album, but Odalheim definitely dabbles into other realms of the metal underworld. Despite the deviation from the death metal confines that made their name, the change can be good. Hopefully fans, who are notorious for being unbelievably close-minded, will listen to the album for what it is, a solid album from one of the bands that put this genre on the map in the first place.
1. Fimbulwinter *
3. White Christ *
4. The Hour Of Defeat *
5. Gathering The Battalions
7. Rise Of The Maya Warriors
8. By Celtic And British Shores *
9. The Soil Of Our Fathers
11. The Great Battle Of Odalheim
* Editor’s Choice