Though the Viking-obsessed Swedish death metal of UNLEASHED can’t be denied in terms of the influence it’s possessed over the course of time, the output of UNLEASHED post-reunion has been questionable at best. Hell’s Unleashed in 2002 was an embarrassing false start for the band, a blemish which was only slightly redeemed with 2004’s mildly more aggressive Sworn Allegiance.
It wasn’t until 2006’s Midvinterblot where things finally started coming together for the troupe who recorded such genre-defining classics as Across the Open Sea and Where No Life Dwells. The band were starting to dust off the proverbial cobwebs, and decided to focus on what they do best: simplistic, pounding death metal the old school way. This is the sound echoed and perfected once again on As Yggdrasil Trembles, a twelve track effort which serves as a veritable and historical chronicling of UNLEASHED’s mighty Viking history.
Indeed, bassist/vocalist/ex-NIHILIST man Johnny Hedlund and Co. have their creative heads firmly in place this time around, delivering an album which rides on—workmanlike in the best possible way—into glory and devastation, focusing primarily on delivering The Riff to their waiting legions. The effect was a whole is almost AC/DC-like in its simplistic furor—the band have never quite been as musically involved as their peers in ENTOMBED or DISMEMBER—but oh so rewarding in the end.
Similar to the reunion path of their countrymen GRAVE, UNLEASHED have finally returned for good this time ‘round with As Yggdrasil Trembles, a righteous return to form, and proof that Swedish Death Metal still conquers all. (Nuclear Blast)