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Unleashed: Across the open sea

Unleashed: Across the open sea

27/08/10  ||  Daemonomania

Introduction

Everyone knows about Unleashed already, right? Moldering
practitioners of Swedish death from 1989 and onward. In lieu of an
introduction, I will instead dedicate a brief haiku to their 1993 album
“Across the open sea”:

Sunrise on cold waves

Reveals a longship and one

Viking saying “fuck”

That should just about cover it.

Songwriting

7. Let’s be honest, there isn’t a ton of variation present on “ATOS”.
Or anywhere else in the early Unleashed discography. But this sounds
different from their earlier works in that they embraced more simple
song structures. One could almost say this is “death ‘n roll”, though
to less of an extent than the mighty “Wolverine blues”.

The worst two songs on this album break from the basic grooving riff
interspersed with faster parts formula. When da ‘Leash is keeping it
low-brow, however, they provide many a classic track. Plenty of
coldbeer drinking headbanging good times await those who can stand old
slow death metal with an SFU-ish devotion to unpretentiousness.

Production

9. I liketh. Gives punch to the guitar and bass tone, lets you hear
Hedlund’s excellent vocals, and keeps the uncomplicated drums in their
appropriate place. Daembo is not a production expert. I have no idea
which knobs were twiddled, which levers were pushed, which switches were
opened to stimulate the flow of magic. So I just accept it as
beautiful fact without fully understanding what went into making it
happen. Kind of like breakdancing. Or atomic energy.

Guitars

7. Keep It Swedish Stupid. The guitarwork will not make you fellate
a donkey, but it will keep your head bobbing in a fashion that would
suggest such actions. Here and there the generic last name six string
duo of Olsson/Lindgren come across as a bit uninspired, but for the most
part they summon forth that godly distorted tone for the chugs with the
cool melodic lines above. Solos are sometimes great, sometimes whammy,
and oft times absent. They certainly dumbed down their riff-writing
ability to fit the easygoing nature of the songs at hand.

Vocals

9. What a great fukken growler Hedlund was. Or is? Don’t have much
recent Unleashed output. Anyway, his high to mid-range snarls are
absolutely perfect for the material. Nothing beats his occasional evil
laughter, or how he screams the last word at the end of a verse. “The
one insaaaaane!” Though I know I’ll probably be shunned for
saying it, I’d put Johnny boy at a close second behind Jorgo in the
great lineup of masterful Swedeath frontmen. Am I forgetting somebody?
Wayne Brady?

Bass

8. Also very good. The bass is pretty prominent, at least to my
ears, and follows the chugging of the guitars whilst bubbling up to the
surface on occasion. Adds to the low end. Props to Headland for keeping it real whilst both growling and plucking.

Drums

7. Not exactly standout. But the dude keeps solid, slightly sloppy
time and propels even the most repetitive of groove-fests onward into
glory (ride cymbal). Bonus points are awarded for the frequent
inclusion of that polka beat when he’s trying to go fast. Always
reminds the listener instantly of where and when the music comes from.
The Schultz-arrino has his moments throughout and I offer hails unto
him. Great job on the opener “To Asgaard we fly” in particular.

Lyrics

7. Pretty interesting, actually. Not because the lyrics are good
per se, but because they are all over the place. “The general” is
clearly snagged from another source. Their awful awful cover of
“Breaking the law” ain’t their lyrics either. The rest features the
typically bad grammar of the time period, with humorous subject matter
to match. Gotta love “The one insane” – it bursts with important advice
for anyone running a mental health facility. If you have a murderous
inmate, don’t tell him/her you are going to administer colored pills or
neurosurgery. Also, DO NOT give him/her
access to a hatchet! The results will be tragic. “Forever goodbye
(2045)” is a pretty funny attempt at sci-fi. Less chuckle worthy is the
irritating “Captured”. Whiny lyrics and a poor song structure does not
inspire the Lokishot.

Cover art

10. Wowsa. Take one killer logo. Add a cool font for the album
title. Slap it over a superdope dark bluish picture of raiders being
Nordic as fvck on a grim ship of death. These mothafuckas are on their
way across the open sea, alright. And you can bet they’ll be doing some
killing when they get to their destination. Thor Heyerdahl, eat your
heart out. I may be neither art critic, nor breakdancer, nor production
expert, nor atomic energyicist, but I know a good metal album cover
when I see one.

Logo

10. Look closely at the logo. Observe its beauty. Revel in the
pure old school awesomeness. Fly to fucken Ass-guard and brand it right
into Oden’s fucken forehead. Ha HA!

Booklet

8. Got the reissue with “Shadows in the deep”. Century Media
actually stepped up to the plate and offered some band photos and hairy
Swede commentary on the recording process, etc. Lyrics included of
course. CM do that for all of these double album reissues and I must
say it is appreciated.

Overall and ending rant

While these Class 666’ers are fun to write, something about the overall impression of the album gets lost in breaking things down too much. So this ending rant shall serve to convey the deep feelings I have for “ATOS”. Is is NOT
a near-perfect platter of early 90’s Scandinavian venom like “You’ll
never see” or “Penetralia”. It is a lot of fun though. Instantly
memorable material that will have even the most jaded of old-school
‘heads growling along in no time. If you take metal so seriously that
you can’t down a few brews and enjoy a dumb song about unleashing dark
desires and spitting forth fire, I pity you. For the rest of us I
suggest getting quite drunk and giving ‘er a spin. You’ll soon hail the
allseeing one-eyed deity (that being my penis)!

8

  • Information
  • Released: 1993
  • Label: Century Media
  • Website: www.unleashed.se
  • Band
  • Johnny Hedlund: vocals, bass
  • Fredrik Lindgren: guitars
  • Tomas Olsson: guitars
  • Anders Schultz: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. To Asgaard We Fly
  • 02. Open Wide
  • 03. I Am God
  • 04. The One Insane
  • 05. Across The Open Sea
  • 06. In The Northern Lands
  • 07. Forever Goodbye (2045)
  • 08. Execute Them All
  • 09. Captured
  • 10. Breaking The Law (Judas Priest Cover)
  • 11. The General
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This entry was posted on June 29, 2014 by in Class6(66).
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