Hell’s Unleashed (Century Media)
by Tim Den
Why the “hell” have Unleashed reformed? As if the last five years of their existence during the mid-’90s weren’t painful enough? Shit, I worshiped the band’s first two albums (Where No Life Dwells and Shadows in the Deep, both of which are indeed “milestone records that laid the foundations of Swedish death metal” as the bio states). I practically learned how to grind from these guys. But by album number three (Across the Open Sea), they had become about as dangerous as Vikings with swords attacking a nuclear submarine. Replacing breakneck riffing with laughable “mid-tempo stomps” was one thing, but the vocals now sounded like some dude reading cues over two-chorded riffs (the “Scissorfight” syndrome?). Fast-forward to 2002, and nothing has changed. Still boring as ever and crawling on their bellies at the speed of slugs, Unleashed sound like they belong in a death metal elderly home. If anyone actually thinks this dragging, mind-numbingly slow-witted album stands a chance against the likes of Mastodon and Meshuggah, they’re living in a time warp (just like the band).
(2323 W. El Segundo Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250)