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Unchained - ST - 2005 - Sound Riot Records

Track Listing
1. My Guide
2. The Analyst
3. Ghost Of The Alchemic Hall
4. Theater Of Fear
5. I Dream
6. Ordinary Sinner
7. Like The Candle
8. The Great Witch Hunt
9. Seventh Sin
Unchained are a young band from Ronneby, Sweden, originally formed by school boys who were all in a band called Psyche Force. Guitarist David Blome wanted to get out of that band and form his own group with some ex-Psyche Force band mates. The end product is Unchained, who presented a few demos to the metal community before signing with the quality label Sound Riot Records. Now the group have unleashed their debut self-titled masterpiece, produced by Daniel Johnsson and David Blome.

Really, in all honesty, this doesn't sound like your typical Swedish band. I hear nothing that remotely resembles the works of that nation, with the Hammerfalls and Dream Evils taking a backseat here to the TNT, Griffin, Guardians Of Time sound. That is where Unchained lie, with their heart of stone cleary planted in the fields of Norwegian power metal and hard rock. While Sweden seems to occupy more of the "middle of the road" mindset, Unchained go more down the "thinking man's path", preparing blueprints of metal that involves rich, textured harmony and the hardest of adult oriented rock, otherwise known as AOR.

But don't get up in arms yet, Unchained are a metal band and put that on display first and foremost. You can hear the Iron Maiden influences over everything else, but the act goes one step further and incorporates melodic rock into their armory. This is the biggest selling point to me and helps define the band and seperate them from the overpopulated power genre. That is what is necessary in today's metal market, the ability to have indentity and to carry on with a more diverse style that caters to all ends of the metal spectrum. Unchained has that gift.

With strong, faster cuts like "The Great Witch Hunt" and "Ghost Of The Alchemic Hall", these Swedes clearly display dazzling, melodic speed. Guitarists Blome and Ericsson combine on some of the best twin guitar melody I've heard since Murray/Smith. The two work hand in hand throughout the entire record, really bringing huge melody to the band's captivating sound. Songs like "My Guide" blend the sing-along chorus parts with a more aggressive approach. Other tracks are based more on groove than melody, evident on the stomper "Ordinary Sinner". Vocalist Per Karlsson is sort of a cross between Sentenced vocalist Ville Laihiala and Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet, with most of his delivery being in that Dickinson approach, which I enjoy significantly.

Bottom Line - Unchained showoff an amazing veteran ability to create complex rhythms that are addictive and entertaining, while still holding on to that unique approach to experiement while keeping a hook. This is an amazing trait and one that really makes me hold Unchained in high regards.


--EC 08.06.05
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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S/TUnchained
2005
Eric Compton8/4/2005


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