UNLEASHED - Dawn Of The Nine Gatefold LP (Green/Purple/Black Splatter Vinyl)

UNLEASHED - Dawn Of The Nine Gatefold LP (Green/Purple/Black Splatter Vinyl)

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Believe it or not, this is full length studio album number twelve from Johnny Hedlund and his bunch of merry men. Considering they’ve had a career spanning over 25 years, I suppose you could say they’ve been fairly consistent to their fans. For me, they’re a band I’ve followed for the majority of their career, from the early classic Swedish death metal efforts, through to what I considered their sketchy barren period of ‘Victory’, ‘Warrior’ and ‘Hell’s Unleashed’, back through to the quality of ‘Sworn Allegiance’ and onward into glory. Generally I think you’d be hard pushed to say they’ve stumbled massively in quality for a good decade plus, and ‘Dawn of the Nine’ continues their roll of catchy, chest beating anthemic death metal.

My particular favourite things about Unleashed are all present and correct. Firstly, Johnny’s signature growl (which has gruffness and venom aplenty, yet having the power to cut through for crystal clear lyrical enunciation) is on fine form, leading this album into another great success for “storytelling” in extreme metal form. Lyrically, I think the guy is a master – rousing and inspiring, exactly what I look for in metal. Secondly, the riffage. The DAMN riffage. Tomas Olsson and Fredrik Folkare have to be one of the most under-appreciated guitar duos in extreme metal, rarely failing to dredge out the very slimiest, catchiest riffs for each successive album, even though they’re plagued with the same issue all current songwriters have – the majority of the good ones were already written 25+ years ago.

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