The ancient evils of Unanimated

UNANIMATED: Ancient God Of Evil

Release year: 1995/2008
Label: No Fashion Records/Regain Records

As is well-known, and has been established even on this site a number of times, Sweden in the 90’s was a true hotbed for death metal. Unanimated, formed originally in 1988 and with a first demo released in 1990, were part of this initial wave of Swedish death metal. However, by the time they released their second album Ancient God Of Evil in 1995, death metal’s star was in decline and black metal was rising. With the wisdom of hindsight, this shifting of fortunes can perhaps to some extent be heard on Ancient God Of Evil.

Already on their debut, the quite passable In The Forest of The Dreaming Dead from 1993, Unanimated took on a far more melodic style than that of the swedeath pioneers. Their label in the 90’s, No Fashion Records, seemed to be the home of many cornerstones of the non-Gothernburg sounding melodic Swedish death metallers, and when comparing Unanimated to some labelmates, there were many strong similarities. Aligning Unanimated with bands such as the mighty Dissection, who released their debut The Somberlain on No Fashion, A Canorous Quintet, The Moaning and Decameron, to mention just a few, it is not hard to find the common ground between them. A foundation in death metal, with a considerable addition of atmospheric melodies, the occasional inclusion of keyboards and acoustic guitars, and finally musical and/or visual elements borrowed from black metal.

The above is almost a picture perfect description of Ancient God Of Evil, or the albums of any of those others – and ultimately it was only Dissection who took the formula to true and unquestioned immortality on Storm Of The Light’s Bane.

Ancient God Of Evil is a perfectly good album. It doesn’t have many hit songs, and none of the tracks have risen to the canon of 90’s swedish death metal, but from start to end there’s nary a weak moment on the album. But, and my opinion is scarcely surprising after the previous two paragraphs, Ancient God Of Evil isn’t particularly memorable. It sounds a bit generic. It sounds like a mid-90’s blackly melodic death metal album on No Fashion, and whilst it is better than most of the competition, it’s still just another mid-90’s blackly melodic death metal album on No Fashion. The hoarsely screaming the vocals, the occasional black metal tinged riff, the epic and melancholic melodies, the thrashing plod of a beat, everything is par for the course. It’s good, but not the kind of good that you remember for forever and ever after hearing it.

As a result, it is impossible to earnestly proclaim Ancient God Of Evil a masterpiece in Swedish death metal. Because, really, it isn’t. It’s a good album, and definitely worth the time for any fan of classic Swedisth death metal, but ultimately it’s one of those “second tier” albums which will offer most to people who want more, more, more after the most obvious classics.

3.5/5

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