Unleashed
Before the Creation of Time

1990; Fuck I’m old. In Death Metal history, however, it’s like I’m still in my twenties and it was DEATH METAL. Bands were releasing albums left and right, Napalm Death, Morbid Angel; the Earache label alone was like a goddamn factory with its roster of bands.

Not to be left out were these dudes from Sweden who had a cool thing going on; first they were called Nihilist, then a split up of sorts happened and they became Entombed and Johnny Hedlund formed Unleashed and the rest is music history.

Unleashed released three demos before releasing their debut full-length Where No Life Dwells in 1991 (some of you weren’t even born yet) I’m by no means a gatekeeper, but I love history lessons and I’ll try not to get long-winded for tl/dr sake… With that in mind, this album is a collection of those demos and they are raw as fuck.

As well they should be, raw as fuck. Because right away that Swedish buzzsaw guitar tone is noticeable front and center. “The Dark One” kicks it off, and it’s pure Armageddon. Flashing back to the spirit of the 90s Swedish Death Metal scene and it’s a bludgeoning track.

I realize that reviewing a reissue such as this is like trying to preach to the choir. You know by now that “Ancient Dead,” “Violent Ecstasy” and “The Utterdark Revenge” are classic ragers, timepieces from a bygone era.

The attention that Darkness Shall Rise Productions paid to the album’s production is awesome. “Unleashed” sounds suitably raw while retaining the brutality and that savage production creates a beefy bottom end that gives life to this collection. We do get two versions of “Unleashed” and “The Dark One” as well as the other tracks.

From the press blurb “On this compilation, you can find every song the band recorded before their classic debut album, Where No Life Dwells, from 1991! It includes The Utter Dark (3 songs), Revenge (3 songs), and the complete Bielefeld recording session (7 songs), which contains songs from the And The Laughter Has Died… 7” EP, the Century Media Promo Tape, and songs from the Century Media compilation In The Eyes Of Death.” I wish I still had my copy of that Eyes Of Death compilation. There were so many killer bands featured on that sampler.

A masterful job has been done with this reissue. These three demos are vital to the memory of the band’s humble beginnings. Growing into the Viking Death Metal monster they’ve become.

Also include is a brand new interview with the man himself, Johnny Hedlund, recorded specifically for this reissue.

If you love that 90s Swedish Death Metal scene and want to revisit the early days, then you’re going to want this in your collection. Horns up!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
June 18th, 2024

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