No new hamster-wheel-metal earth scorched here, but the mixture is high-octane if anyone is still living and dying by this genre. Unleashed is a black-metal band in a death-metal body, singing like pirate-oafs and pretending to admire Mastodon's riffing here and there but forever falling back to Bathory-style three- and four-chord drone. The "huh, that's mildly different" part comes courtesy of underemployed guitarist Fredrik Folkare, who uses a squeaky-clean, high-pitch Helloween sound for his lead work, much of it easily surpassing Yngwie-ness on its way to Joe Satriani territory. At one point, Folkare reverse-engineers "Flight of the Bumblebee" in "We Must Join with Him" (referring to J.R.R. Tolkien's Sauron, which goes toward the band members' only real problem: a lack of which hard-sounding god-dude name to take in vain, since they throw out a bunch of "Hail, Odin"s in "In Victory or Defeat" and blab similar props to our old buddy Lucifer in other places. Doh?). — Eric W. Saeger

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Eric W. Saeger