Unleashed, the self-styled chief vikings of Swedish death metal, has a new album coming out called Dawn of the Nine and a new lyric video of one of the songs, below. The video’s got a few snippets of reviews of the record thrown in.
Bandleader Johnny Hedlund released an explanation of the lyrical concept, saying it continues with “the story about the World of Odalheim. In the aftermath of the great battle at Uppsala fields and after some time has passed, the Battalions of the World hunt down White Christ to challenge him personally. Needless to say he needs to be faced with the atrocities he is responsible for. But just like most cowards it seems that he fled to higher ground. The Hammer Battalions are ready, waiting eagerly … Where is your god now?”
The band’s label, Nuclear Blast, took it a step further and put together videos called “The Meaning Behind The Songs,” featuring excerpts from the album and brief text explanations of the lyrics from Hedlund. The videos on YouTube:
The record comes out on April 20th in the E.U., April 27th in the U.K., May 5th in North America. Nuclear Blast is taking pre-orders.
It’s been over a quarter-century since Unleashed first got together in Stockholm, so it should be OK for us to run a cleaned-up version of the first interview we did with Hedlund from archive zine issue #2, back in 1991. D.U. interviewed Hedlund backstage at the Bayou in Washington, D.C. after Unleashed played. The guitarists from Entombed were back there as well, strumming their guitars to warm up for their set. Nick Teta, Jr. contributed.
All right, we’ll basically need a brief history of the band, when you guys formed and all that.
Well, taking you back to the early days, first off, I got kicked out of Nihilist, of course. And three months after I formed Unleashed, I think in, uh, November or December ’89. And we did two demos that we sent to a couple record companies. And the best deal we got was definitely for Century Media, and that’s the one we got now. And we released the first album May this year, and I think it was out in the States here July. That’s to make it short. [laughs]
What are your songs about?
Ah, well, quite a lot of different things, really. Well, for example, we got three songs that is about anti-Christism, sort of. We got songs about the Norsemen. We got songs about the mountains, which is a slow one, about if they had eyes. And we got songs about aggressions and things like that, hate towards things that you feel hate towards, you know. Our lyrics deal with quite a lot of specific things. There’s not just one thing all over.
How did you hook up with the American tour with Entombed and Morbid Angel?
Well, first off, we did the European tour with Morbid Angel and Sadus, and, well, the guys from Morbid Angel wanted us to tour in the States with them, and that was the whole thing. They just brutally asked for it, and of course I said yes, you know? And our record company was definitely into it, so here we are. [laughs]
What do you think of the American audiences?
Great! Especially tonight, believe me. This was the best so far. Tampa was cool as well. And yeah, all the shows were great, you know? But so far, this place was definitely the best, absolutely.
What are your influences like?
Well, everything we listen to, I mean, both lyrically and musically. Musically, I would say, if it comes to only death metal bands, quite a lot, you know: Slayer, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, Paradise Lost, uh, Immolation. Of course Nihilist, Entombed, because that’s what I came from. And old Death as well. Yeah, a lot of bands.
How is the Swedish death metal scene? Are there any up-and-coming bands?
Well, yeah, there is one million bands to be exact, you know? But there’s no shows; there’s no clubs like this. If we had a club like this, I would be happy, and the audience in Sweden would be happy as well. ‘Cause there is no shows whatsoever. You can watch Slayer when they get to Stockholm every other year. But there’s a hell of [a lot of] underground bands. I mean, all my friends play in a death metal band. But there’s hardly no shows at all to watch, if you haven’t got a good record contract, and someone to push for you, someone to get you on a tour. But that is a problem. It’s not like here.
Well, basically it’s over, but is there any final word you’d like to add?
I want to thank you for the interview. Thank you for having a good time, ’cause I did tonight.
Photo courtesy Nuclear Blast