Review Summary: A solid first release by one of Sweden’s well known old school death metal acts.
Unleashed, along with a few other bands founded what is today known as the Swedish Death Metal Scene. With similar musical styles to Entombed, Grave, and Dismember, Unleashed can most notably known for a sound that is more clear in production rather than the crusty sound of the aforementioned bands. Although crust and crunch are very desirable for most osdm enthusiasts I found that the clearer approach on Unleashed’ first LP “Where No Life Dwells” can accurately be looked at as an acquired sound or a change of feel if you will from the expected. The production is still well leveled and isn’t clear like the modern death metal you find nowadays [take for instance, Immolation’s newest material]; rather, it’s simply clearer than a lot of the early death metal found between the 1990-1995 eras. But it must be noted that there is still just enough crust to keep the listener engulfed moderate levels of haze.
Unleashed started off very strong with this first release but unfortunately as time went on they never really achieved the level of creativity or raw energy found on “Where No Life Dwells”; even the names of their latter albums deteriorated with their sound. It was likened to a burning flame that slowly died off as its fuel source diminished. As an enjoyer of osdm I really could only recommend check this album out if anyone was interested in what Unleashed had to offer.
As mentioned before “Where No Life Dwells” is a solid osdm release which is introduced with 48 seconds of folk guitar that immediately jumps into track 2 with a heavy hitting riff and smashing drums, only to be superceded by tremolos and blast beats within seconds. After the assault, we’re taken into an almost doom-like bass drop with plodding riffs; the madness continues to repeat itself and that pretty much sums up Unleashed’ musical approach and formula. Almost every track contains this style of quick tempo switches and common guitar techniques of tremolos and chugs; blast beats and double bass. Even with these expected moments “Where No Life Dwells” is executed very well and there is enough variation with each moment to keep you interested. In fact, there are even moments that break the mold where “Before the Creation of Time” drops to a slow tempo harmonizing section over drum build-ups, and “For They Shall Be Slain” contains a really inventive-catchy solo over very high tempo blast beats. Highlights are few and sometimes the typical song structures can make for a tedious listen but the overall album is relatively short and shouldn’t be too overbearing. The “bonus edition” offers 7 additional tracks ranging from material off their EP’s, demos, and compilations which sometimes have more of a crusty sound to them than the actual LP, so don’t overlook those if you check this out.
While “Where No Life Dwells” is not the greatest death metal achievement known to man it does offer tasty riffs with a very distinguishable osdm sound[mines a bit of crust as mentioned] that would be a great addition to any collector of osdm, or even for anyone interested in what Unleashed has to offer. It’s also a very accessible album for anyone interested in the roots of Swedish Death Metal or even death metal in general.