There is nothing to do: the experience and brilliance that are accumulated through years and years of records, tours and collaborations cannot be matched by the young bands unless you come across to something really phenomenal. And when you listen to an album like The Hunt for White Christ, which is the last release from the legendary Swedish band Unleashed, you perceive in just a few seconds all the value and the weight of what the band has acquired in thirty years of honorable career in death metal. And that’s why, in spite of the thousands of publications that are released every year by masses of young bands, in the end we find ourselves listening for most of the time to the old legends of metal.
Sacred monsters of metal like Unleashed manage to shape the musical material according to their will and this is done in such a natural way that they make appear easy what’s in reality complex and challenging: to combine the heaviness and aggressiveness of death metal with a language that’s direct, immediate, and easy to be assimilated. And that’s basically the content of The Hunt for White Christ.
Unleashed, from Stockholm, need very little introduction: thirteen studio albums, a line-up that remained stable for the last twenty years and a level of quality that has been impressively uniform across the different phases of their career.
The sound of their newest release doesn’t differ substantially from the traditional style that they have consolidated over the last decade. Basically we have a fierce and violent version of death metal but where all the components, starting from the guttural voice of the leader Johnny Hedlund, are extremely understandable and clear. This peculiar characteristic of their music, together with the capacity to write engaging and banging riffs, make the songs of The Hunt for White Christ easy to appreciate for all the fans of the genre. Their style is further enriched by intriguing black metal components that contribute to the creation of the dark and disturbing atmospheres that we like so much in their music.
Unleashed’s new album is compact, solid and homogeneous from the beginning to the end. However, there is a group of songs in the second part of the record that result particularly impressive and engaging.
In more general terms, I didn’t find any sign of fatigue or repetitiveness in their newest collection of songs. I’m aware that some of the band’s longtime fans were demanding a return to the more crude and unpolished sounds of their early works; but I’m among the ones who believe that both the effectiveness and the enjoyability of their music benefit from the unique sound that they have refined and consolidated in the last ten years.
The Hunt for White Christ can be streamed from Spotify.
Standout tracks: Stand Your Ground, The City of Jorsala Shall Fall, the title-track and Vidaurgelmthul.