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Interview

Unleashed's Anders Schultz Talks New Album "Odalheim"

The Swedish death metal vikings in Unleashed dropped new album "Odalheim" last month, which is preparing the metal masses for the coming changes after Ragnarök as the world is born anew.

If you haven't had a chance to hear the hymns of the new age dawning, or even if you've already taken the death metal beating offering by the album and risen again, drummer Anders Schultz dived into the creation of "Odalheim" with Metalunderground.com to let fans see further into the process.

In the full interview available below, Anders discusses recording the album at guitarist Fredrik Folkare's Chrome Studios, staying true to himself and his art over 20 years, the Swedish metal scene, and even the recent trend of releasing lyric clips over full music videos.

xFiruath: Musically, how would you compare “Odalheim” to “As Yggdrasil Trembles” or your other earlier albums?

Anders: It's a definite progression of our sound as well as a more aggressive and furious record this time around actually. But in comparison to the past few albums it's as I said basically just taking it one more step forward.

xFiruath: When did the writing for these songs take place and how does Unleashed generally write material?

Anders: We are constantly writing and this has been the process for a long time now. As soon as an album is done, writing starts and just grows and moves forward with time. Actually, sometimes riffs that have haven’t worked out for a previous song or album might get thrown back in the mix on a later one.

xFiruath: What specific themes and moods are you trying to create with the lyrics and music on “Odalheim,” and what sort of pictures do you hope the music will paint in the listener’s head?

Anders: Well the lyrics are a whole concept, of what will happen after ragnarök and the music is to be the soundtrack of this whole event and story.

xFiruath: Where did the recording sessions take place, and do you guys hole up in a studio far from home to record straight through or do you stay closer to where you live so you can head home at night?

Anders: We recorded again in our own Fredrik’s Chrome studios. We all live a bit spread out but we don't feel the need to travel and hole up somewhere to record. Better to be able to handle everyday life while still recording. Having the luxury of having our own studio means less pressure, or rather the only pressure is from ourselves to perform.

xFiruath: There seems to be a trend lately of record labels putting out lyric videos instead of shooting full music videos. What do you think of this shift, and will Unleashed be doing any music videos for this album?

Anders: Yeah we've noticed this. Don’t really have any special opinion on this, but it seems understandable. In order for us to make a proper video that would be on the level to do the song and theme justice, the budget would just be too high. So this is an easy way to spread the word without going bankrupt I guess, haha.

xFiruath: What do you think of the metal scene in Sweden and how is Unleashed received there?

Anders: It's a constant here I believe. Always growing, and more so now than ever it seems. It's funny, we used to be for the longest time like the black sheep in our own home scene so to speak. Never really figured why, and never really cared. But in any case nowadays it seems we are well received and given due credit.

xFiruath: Unleashed has been around for more than 20 years now. What would you say has been the most important lesson you’ve learned in music over those years of performing and recording?

Anders: Hard to say really. I guess one thing we've learned...or proved, actually, is the fact that it pays off in the long run to keep true to yourself and to what you do. That's why we're still here.

xFiruath: Have you been to any great concerts lately or seen anything crazy in the pit in recent memory?

Anders: I traveled to London the other week to see Boltfest, with Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, Discharge, etc. That was a brilliant show and the whole weekend was more or less crazy...

xFiruath: Where is Unleashed heading out on tour in the near future?

Anders: At the moment we are focusing on playing as many festivals as possible and will try to hook up some touring in support of the new album in the fall.

xFiruath: What albums and bands are you digging lately, and do you specifically listen to or avoid specific types of music while writing/recording?

Anders: We don't avoid anything special whilst writing and such. As I said, writing goes on for years constantly so that would be hard. That latest Vektor and Vomitory albums are examples of stuff I been listening to lately.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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5 Comments on "Unleashed Heralds A New Beginning After Ragnarök"

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BrianMN's avatar

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1. BrianMN writes:

No like.
Is this the same band that wrote "Shadows in the Deep" and "Where no life dwells"????
Doesn't even sound like them.
Guitars don't sound the same and it sounds like 90's black metal.
This has no groove.
NP...The Final Silence....

# May 24, 2012 @ 11:02 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rex_84's avatar

Writer

2. Rex_84 writes:

I agree with Brian, but I don't think it's a bad thing. You can tell this is still Unleashed, the 2000s version, but they have incorporated black metal elements into their sound. The Big 4 of Stockholm created timeless material, but making the same album over and over again would get boring.

Take Dismember for example. I followed them throughout their career and I always liked what they were doing, but in the end, I couldn't state which of their latest albums I liked the best because they all sounded the same. Now Dismember has split.

It's nice to hear bands like Undead Creep recreate this sound or Grave put out "Fiendish Regression," but the first proper recording by Grave, Unleashed, Entombed and Dismember will never be repeated or paralleled. Once it's done too many times, that sound loses its magic.

# May 24, 2012 @ 11:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianMN's avatar

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3. BrianMN writes:

I'll agree...and disagree.
I don't like it when any band keeps making the same album over and over. Slayer being a good example of a band that has ridden it's own "Seasons" coattails for far too long.
However...Fear Factory is a good exampls of a band that came back after losing half the members with an album (Mechanize) that rivaled any of their previous albums. It retained the core sound while expanding on it.
Unleashed...I have no problem with them adding influences.
It all really boils down to the songs themselves.
So far...and I won't write off the whole album till I've heard it. The song on here simply did not hold my attention.
And please don't get me started on Entombed.
They went bat $hit right after Clandestine and haven't really mattered since.
Dismember....good songs plagued by horrible production was the bane of their career.
Indecent and Obscene had awesome songs but my GOD the production.
I understand raw but does it have to sound like you recorded it in a gas station restroom?

# May 24, 2012 @ 12:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianMN's avatar

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4. BrianMN writes:

Unleashed “Odalheim” mini review.

“Fimbulwinter”...a blaster but I like the slower groovy part better, great lead. Fast parts not very memorable.
Slow and mid paced is where the song excels.
Fast parts are too “black metal-ish” for my tastes.

“Olalheim”…I love the acoustic. Always have with this band. Not many can make an acoustic sound so evil.
Once again the slow parts are what stand out. Moody, atmospheric lead with a crunchy background…very cool.

“White Christ”…Love the intro and it chugs at a nice pace but lost my attention quickly.

“Hour of Defeat”…Traditional Unleashed and so far the only real stand out track. Scorching lead.

“Gathering the Battalions”…More traditional Unleashed. Good but not great. More lead goodness. Ends on a cool note.

“Vinland”… Everything that makes a good song is here. Black metal put to good use.

“Rise of the Maya Warriors”…not sure how the Maya fit into the scheme of things and I don’t care enough to bother with the lyrics.
Decent chorus but otherwise…meh.

“By Celtic and British Shores”… It’s fast…that’s about it.

“Soil of our Fathers” …YES!!!.....Viking victory. Best song on the album.

“Germania”…I keep picturing Ihsahn with a Viking helmet on….that wasn’t a compliment.

“The Great Battle of Olalheim”…The longest track on the album and the least interesting.
If I had been at the Great Battle of Olalheim the only thing to kill me would have been boredom.

Final thoughts….
A hard album to judge since almost every song has awesome parts and weak parts.
If they would have taken all the awesome parts and made fewer songs I think the album would have worked much better.
There are only a few real stand out tracks worth (legally) downloading.
The production and lead work are excellent.
The album just doesn’t have much flow to it.
I’d give it two and a half out of five.
I’d recommend more acoustic guitar, more memorable riffs and a better flow/theme for the album.
Diehards will love it, older fans will shrug and wonder just WTF went wrong with the Swedish scene from the 90’s.
…still scratching my head over the Maya song…
Stand out tracks…
Hour of Defeat.
Vinland.
Soil of our Fathers.
Olalheim gets BrianMN’s official “half a$$ed recommendation”.

# May 24, 2012 @ 1:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rex_84's avatar

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5. Rex_84 writes:

"half a$$ed recommendation" haha. I haven't heard enough of the album to comment.

# May 25, 2012 @ 12:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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