Sunday, 25 March 2012

UNLEASHED - Where No Life Dwells (1991)

01  Where No Life Dwells
02  Dead Forever
03  Before the Creation Of Time
04  For They Shall Be Slain
05  In They Had Eyes
06  The Dark One
07  Into Glory Ride
08  ...And The Laughter Has Died
09  Unleashed
10  Violent Ecstasy
11  Where Life Ends

Unleashed was founded in 1989 by vocalist and bassist Johnny Hedlund. Unleashed recorded demos "Revenge" and "Utter Dark", which got them a record deal with the German label Century Media Records. In 1991, the band released their debut studio album, Where No Life Dwells, and toured with Morbid Angel in Europe and United States. Unlike most other Swedish death metal acts at the time, Unleashed went to the Woodhouse Studios in Dortmund, Germany with producer Waldemar Sorychta to record the album, and not to the Sunlight Studio in Stockholm, Sweden, where most of their fellow countrymen recorded their early albums. That's instantly audible when you listen to Where No Life Dwells, which has a very different sound compared to most other old school Swedish death metal recordings.

The sound on Where No Life Dwells is "lighter" and not as muddy as the sound on many early nineties death metal recordings. The brutality is intact though, which is ensured by the brutal growls by lead vocalist/ bassist Johnny Hedlund. The drumwork isn't something really outstanding yet it's extremely frantic and fits totally with the riffing and as most Swedish Death there are almost no blast-beats which I think it's a good thing. Bass isn't very prominent and is mixed down with the guitar riffs giving their already dark and inundant sound a lower range. The album begins with the beautiful acoustic title track intro but from the first notes of the second track Dead Forever to the last notes of the closing track Where Life Ends, there's little variation to be found. The songs are simple, formualic and for the most part pretty effective. I wouldn't be completely out of line calling the album a bit one-dimensional, though tracks like "Dead Forever", "Before the Creation of Time", "Into Glory Ride" and "Unleashed" really stand out.

As death metal debuts go, this is a very impressive one from the stylistically myopic but musically consistent Unleashed. Anyone who likes death metal from this era should like Where No Life Dwells and would probably look for more Unleashed albums after hearing it.

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