Unleashed - _Sworn Allegiance_
(Century Media , 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (
If anything is to be said for Unleashed's seventh studio effort, it's that at the very least it delivers a marked improvement over 2002's _Hell Unleashed_, and the cringingly self-deprecating _Warrior_. At the same time though, one has to wonder just how badly we need a new Unleashed album, given its place in an increasingly saturated genre. Sure, songs like "Winterland" and "Destruction" are skillfully performed examples of old-school death metal, but even by vintage standards they still come up pretty short against the likes of recent Bloodbath and Demonoid efforts. Likewise, Fredrik Folkare's superb sound engineering is crisp and hard-hitting, but no amount of audio tinkering can hide the relentless absurdity of cliché dribble like "I only fuck the dead" or "You open wide and prepare to receive / a hunger for sex unseen". Ultimately, with _Sworn Allegiance_ it is very much a case of nothing lost and nothing gained. It's an album that will more than likely please existing fans, but offers absolutely nothing to highlight it over the efforts of its numerous superior contemporaries.
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