Unchained - s/t 3.5/5

Reviewed: 7-1-05


1. My guide
2. The analyst
3. Ghost of the alchemic
4. Theater of fear
5. I dream
6. Ordinary sinner
7. Like the candle
8. The great witch hunt
9. Seventh sin

Unchained is a power/melodic metal band from Sweden and this is their first full-length CD. They should appeal to fans of power metal, although they aren’t the standard power metal band as they have a little more variety than is often found in the genre. Unchained features a double lead guitar duo with only small contributions from a keyboard player. The songwriting is good and has solid melodies but, again, differs a little from power metal as Unchained doesn’t feature the big, sing-a-long choruses often found in the genre. For these reasons, Unchained could be better thought of as melodic metal rather than power metal. Regardless of how it is labeled, this CD is a very solid debut release.

The songwriting and overall style reminds me of a combination of Mob Rules and Iron Maiden. The melodies are fairly long and drawn out, as opposed to being quick and catchy; this is very much like Mob Rules and there are times when the tracks sound like they could be from a Mob Rules CD. The Iron Maiden comparison is in the harmony guitar melodies. The CD opens with a very good track, “My guide” and continues with the most different sounding track, “The analyst” which is slower and more atmospheric than you would expect on a CD like this. There is just one ballad, the very good “I dream” and the best track on the CD, “Like the candle”, comes up later on the CD. The band is very solid. Singer Per Karlsson has a strong, gruff voice and the rest of the band is very capable; they also have plenty of things going on behind the main melody which gives the listener something extra to listen for. Other than trying to improve the songwriting from good to very good, the main improvement the band could make is in the production. The production of the CD isn’t bad, but it's not as full and crisp as is often found on the better produced CDs.

Overall this is a very good debut release. The songwriting is good, it is recognizable for the genre and, yet, original sounding at the same time. The band is good and has plenty going on in the song at any given time. The songwriting could be more consistent and the production could certainly be improved, but even with those improvement opportunities, this is a fine CD by a band with great promise.




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