Johnny Hedlund may disagree with our Punk idea, but by the sound of album #11 opener “Fimbulwinter,” he’s completely open to the whole Black Metal thing. Jokes aside, I hate to be the guy who pulls his dick out in front of the kids at the wedding reception, but I’m getting a little sick of all the press I’ve read on Odalheim. Everyone and their gay dad is proclaiming with stern conviction that this is by so far and away the greatest album of the Swedeath horde’s legendary career. One deaf homosexual called it, “Without question, as close as Unleashed have ever come to producing the perfect album.” Even Johnny himself has declared that his band has “never sounded so good.” I’m sorry, but that’s just not true. All bands say that, a few of them actually mean it, but in the case of this sacred legacy, I beg to differ. Yes, Odalheim is stylistically adventurous, their speediest work to date, as technically advanced as they’ve ever been, undoubtedly the best sounding production they’ve ever achieved, and Hedlund’s trademark vokills never seem to age. But compared to the unholy trinity that is their first three albums, this is like going to the fucking circus. It’s not a horrible album, this band is incapable of making a truly horrible album. Sure, there’s a couple clunkers in the discography, but phoned-in Unleashed beats the tar piss out of Gojira, or Deathspell Omega, or whatever fags like. That said, Odalheim is easily my least favorite. When the mood strikes and I reach for Unleashed, it isn’t blast beats, eight guitar solos per song, lush intros, and extravagantly layered, ultra-melodic structures I’m craving. I want Death fucking Metal the Unleashed way! I want the dark one to fucking smile! The only good time you’ll have with this stinker is by taking a shot every time Hedlund name-drops an Unleashed album title in a song. Believe me, you and your friends will be one hammered battalion. A severe letdown.
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