Album Review – Unleashed / Dawn Of The Nine (2015)

Let the mighty God of Thunder bang his head to the sound of old school Death Metal while he mercilessly smashes his foes with his hammer.

Rating5

unleashed_dawn of the nineFormed in the “distant” year of 1989 in the beautiful city of Stockholm, Sweden, and still alive and kicking after almost three decades, the iconic Death Metal band Unleashed can credit their longevity and glory to their unique music concept, being the pioneers in implementing completely different themes from most Death Metal bands, such as Viking culture, Norse folklore and even references to the work by the renowned English writer and poet J. R. R. Tolkien, to their furious and coarse sounding.

In order to keep the almighty God of Thunder grinning and banging his head to the brutal sound of Death Metal while he smashes hordes of infidels with Mjölnir, Unleashed are releasing in 2015 their twelfth studio album, the good Dawn Of The Nine. Although the album does not flirt with Black Metal as much as its predecessor, the excellent Odalheim (2012), which means it lacks a little more darkness, it’s still a celebration of extreme music, war, vengeance and sacrilege that will satisfy the hunger of death metallers all over the world for more of the band’s Viking Death Metal.

Shifting between Viking Metal and more traditional Death Metal, the opening track A New Day Will Rise relies upon a strong atmospheric background and the aggressive vocals by Johnny Hedlund, while the other band members make sure the music stays visceral. It’s not the most creative songwriting in the world, but it’s still very cohesive, which is also valid for They Came to Die and its elements of Thrash Metal and Symphonic Black Metal, offering a more exciting headbanging tune. The guitar lines by Fredrik Folkare and Tomas Måsgard enrich the melody found in the music, and of course drummer Anders Schultz doesn’t seem “happy” and crushes whoever is in his path. The ominous intro already summarizes the darkness in Defenders of Midgard, a song about the will to keep fighting for our beliefs and our beloved ones (“But we will rise again / And fight, fight to defend / Our Midgard ’til the very end / Fight to defend / Our Midgard ’til the very end”). However, the music itself is boring, getting really repetitive after a while and consequently falling flat, despite the good guitar solo by Fredrik.

Fortunately, they finally unleash their infamous Death Metal in Where Is Your God Now?: its direct lyrics about being a true godless warrior (“Here we are alive again / In a battle without end / So we rise from the caves / And march until sol descends”) are very effective and the growls by Johnny are a lot more cutting. In other words, get ready for some sick circle pits to the sound of this evil mix of Death and Black Metal. And although Johnny sounds a little tired in The Bolt Thrower, it’s another good old school Death Metal tune, where the most curious detail is that I don’t know if they’re talking about the ancient missile weapon named “ballista” or if it’s a tribute to British Death Metal band Bolt Thrower. Well, Johnny sings “a master of war that feels no pain”, which makes me think it’s about the band. Or maybe it’s the weapon? What a tricky question.

unleashed_2015Let the Hammer Fly is a straightforward fast tune that might not be innovative but works pretty well, where its instrumental appropriately sticks to the basics of extreme music and its second half feels a lot darker, with highlights to another good guitar solo by Fredrik Folkare; while Where Churches Once Burned, with a stronger atmospheric background and Black Metal-ish riffs, sounds a lot more extreme and blasphemous thanks to the melodic guitar lines by Fredrik and the blast beats fired by Anders until the song evolves to a mournful ending. In Land of the Thousand Lakes, Johnny begins with some low-tuned bass lines before the song becomes barbaric, which translates into a fast and brutal assault of riffs and beats that will break your fuckin’ neck.

The pure Doom Metal title-track Dawn of the Nine doesn’t live up to its goal, proving Unleashed sound a lot more powerful when they play at high speed and more violently. The song gets slightly more interesting in some parts, sounding like old school Black Sabbath, but that’s not enough to salvage it. And last but not least, Welcome the Son of Thor! is another decent Viking Death Metal tune despite its uninspired lyrics, where the primeval bass lines by Johnny are really potent and therefore add more balance to the drumming by Anders.

Long story short, if this is your type of music and you are interested in Scandinavian culture and floklore, there are different versions of the album available at the Nuclear Blast webstore, Amazon, iTunes and other retailers. As aforementioned, Dawn Of The Nine will surely keep the Norse gods and demons well pleased and ready for more Unleashed in a near future.

Best moments of the album: They Came to Die, Where Is Your God Now? and Where Churches Once Burned.

Worst moments of the album: Defenders of Midgard and Dawn of the Nine.

Released in 2015 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. A New Day Will Rise 3:51
2. They Came to Die 3:13
3. Defenders of Midgard 4:37
4. Where Is Your God Now? 4:24
5. The Bolt Thrower 3:49
6. Let the Hammer Fly 4:10
7. Where Churches Once Burned 5:18
8. Land of the Thousand Lakes 4:15
9. Dawn of the Nine 6:41
10. Welcome the Son of Thor! 4:34

Band members
Johnny Hedlund – vocals, bass
Fredrik Folkare – lead guitar
Tomas Måsgard – rhythm guitar
Anders Schultz – drums

Album Review – Dub Buk / Цвях (2014)

If you’re a fan of extreme music, you should definitely take a listen to the excellent new album from this East Slavic Melodic Black Metal band.

Rating4

coverI’ve never had to use Google and Google Translator so much in my life to try to understand what a band wants to say in their music as I had now with Ukrainian Melodic Black Metal band Dub Buk and their new album, the violent Цвях. Even with the help of Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s creations, it was still pretty tough to get the whole message (if you’re Ukrainian, please correct any stupid mistake that I might have made with the translations below), but the high quality of their music outshines that language barrier and makes listening the entire album a very pleasant and, of course, boisterous experience.

Цвях, which according to Google is pronounced “Tsvyakh” and means “Nail” in English (and it makes sense, as per the bloody nail in the album art), is in my opinion the most professional and polished release from this Kharkiv-based band formed in 1997. And before you ask, that doesn’t weaken the brutality in any of the songs presented in the album: quite the contrary, the high end production allowed the band to better display their technique and enhanced the sonority of all instruments.

The first track of the album is called Всуе (Vsue, or “Vain” in English), and it’s a fuckin’ awesome massacre. The astonishing level of violence in this song pumped me up to listen to the rest of the album and check if all songs could keep up with the same excellent instrumental, especially drums and riffs, and the totally demonic vocals. Fortunately for my total delectation the following track, Галиматья Блаженных (Halymat’ya Blazhennykh, or “Blessed Nonsense”) is Black Metal at its finest, with a very nice groove and an excellent guitar solo, testifying the band’s capacity.

Then we have Бунт 917 (Bunt 917, or “Riot 917”), another track that corroborates these guys are nonstop machines, with great vocals (although I don’t understand a word he’s saying) and a drummer that is a total beast; Дохлый Живьём (Dokhlyy Zhyv’ëm, or “Dead Alive”), the longest track of the album, which starts with an awesome scream and has riffs with some hints of more modern Slayer; and the also violent but not so good Ислам (Yslam, or “Islam”). I’m almost sure they’re not saying good things about Islam in this song, but again, I really don’t care and prefer focusing on the music here.

Свиное Ухо (Svynoe Ukho, or “Pork Ear”) is another highlight of the album, with a narrated intro in Ukranian, Slayer-ish riffs and guitar solo, a goddamn heavy passage at around 2 minutes, and disturbing pig sounds at the end. In other words, a complete Black Metal extravaganza, followed by А-Человек (A-Chelovek, or “A-Man”), an average song with a slower rhythm that falls flat after a while.

dub_bukClosing the album we have the sonic massacre Копоть (Kopot’, or “Soot”), with more awesome riffs, some beautiful female vocals, a drummer completely on fire, and I have to say I really enjoyed all the breaks and variations in this song especially after the third minute; and the only song entirely in English in the album,Execute Them All, a very professional cover version for one of the songs from Swedish Death Metal icons Unleashed, with highlight to the deeper guttural used in this track.

As I mentioned above, I tried to understand parts of the lyrics just to see what type of message Dub Buk tries to send to their fans. I know they usually sing about anti-judeochristianity, paganism and other controversial themes, and although I do not agree nor disagree with their beliefs, that didn’t stop me from enjoying some very good quality extreme music. Furthermore, I recommend taking a look at this album, which can be purchased at the EastHate website. If you love Black Metal, you won’t regret buying it by any means.

Best moments of the album: Всуе, Дохлый Живьём, Свиное Ухо and Копоть.

Worst moments of the album: Ислам and А-Человек.

Released in 2014 Eastside Records

Track listing
1. Всуе 5:21
2. Галиматья Блаженных 3:26
3. Бунт 917 4:42
4. Дохлый Живьём 6:03
5. Ислам 5:22
6. Свиное Ухо 4:27
7. А-Человек 4:58
8. Копоть 5:35
9. Execute Them All (Unleashed cover) 3:22

Band members
I.Z.V.E.R.G. (И. З. В. Е. Р. Г.) – bass, vocals
Vsesvit (Всесвит) – drums
Istukan (Истукан) – guitars
Cwietuszczaja Knjazna (Цветущая Княжна) – keyboards