Saturday, May 08, 2010

Unleashed: As Yggdrasil Trembles (2010) Review

Despite the scary-looking, black metallish cover art--all black and white with skulls and an almost illegible band logo--Unleashed's latest As Yggdrasil Trembles is surprisingly accessible.

Once you get past the album cover and into the music itself, you quickly realize Unleashed has nothing to do with black metal. This is pure, old-school death metal, something you might expect from a band who have been doing death for twenty years. And just in case you didn't believe their dedication to the old school of death, they included a bonus track--a cover of Death's "Evil Dead". That's a lot of death in one paragraph.

The music generally chugs along at mid-tempo (well, mid-tempo for death metal, which is pretty fast), though it does have a bit of range into some faster and slower territory. The instruments create a wall of sound, but it's not so thick that you could get lost in it. The vocals, done in a halfbreed rasp/growl, are actually understandable, but at least the lyrics aren't ridiculous: They focus on Norse mythology and war.

All the other elements are good, but the lead guitar is what stands out. Often, it strays into melodic death territory, and the solos are extremely well-composed, fitting seamlessly into the rest of the music.

Top tracks on the album include "Wir Kapitulieren Niemals", "So It Begins", and "Return Fire".

The Verdict: One of the oldest practitioners of death has proven that death is not dead, as some would have you believe. It's simply biding its time to reign ascendant over thrash and black metal once again.

With excellent songwriting, they've created an album that doesn't have to innovate to be good. Unleashed still has it, after 20 years. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent album in my opinion. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as their last one, but Unleashed is definitely still going strong.