Unanimated - Ancient God of Evil
Regain Records
Melodic Black/Death Metal
11 songs (42'25")
Release year: 1995
Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex
Archive review

Some albums can be considered metal evolution missing links. They sit, strategically positioned, both in metal and overall time continuum, at the genre crossroads. Perhaps not considered decisively classic or influential, at the time of their release or nowadays, they still occupy an important niche. They connect the past with the future, or represent the offshoot which did not explode with the number of followers ultimately overpopulating the style.

Just like the evolution theory buffs (count me as one of them) rejoiced recently when European scientists announced the discovery of an early mammal which may count both apes and humans as its descendants, the discerning metal fans may be ecstatic to find out that Swedish Unanimated made a comeback after almost 15 years of silence. Along with their new album, In the Light of Darkness, Regain unearthed Unanimated last hurrah from their previous incarnation, reissuing an album which can count as such missing link.

When Unanimated seemingly left the metal fold for good in 1995, they did it with an album called Ancient God of Evil, which somehow got lost amongst the crucial pillars in Swedish metal of that time. Consider the context. Skydancer by Dark Tranquillity in 1993 followed by Of Chaos and Eternal Light EP in 1995, Lunar Strain by In Flames in 1994 followed by Subterranean EP later in the same year, Wolverine Blues by Entombed in 1993, long-defunct now Eucharist with A Velvet Creation in 1993 and, finally, Dissection, the band Unanimated is often compared to, with the monster pair The Somberlain, 1993, and Storm of the Light’s Bane in that same 1995. Having already released a debut In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead a couple of years earlier, Unanimated were shooting for the product a bit more melodic and memorable, more involved in the guitar department, but still decidedly cold and deathly in their next installment, Ancient God of Evil. Or so I think were their goals based on the audio evidence submitted.

Ancient God of Evil presents a dizzying flurry of melodies and riffs, infused with cold atmosphere and caustic lyrics. Depending on your mood and overall disposition, you can enjoy, cringe, cower in fear or play endless air guitar to this music. Many of these songs are up tempo (Life Demise, Oceans of Time), but unlike Dark Tranquillity on Skydancer, Unanimated are not overly noodly or completely fascinated with Iron Maiden. The melodies are very involved and leads are numerous, flowing in and out of themselves, but just as soon as little headbanging is needed, the hooky riffing is provided (The Depths of a Black Sea). Ancient God of Evil song structures are far from straightforward, the compositions taking off on tangents, changing textures and tempos often (Dead Calm, Die Alone). Just like Dissection, the atmosphere of Unanimated songs borrows from black metal and stays frozen, cold harmonies prevail (Dead Calm) and epic feel being most noticeable (Die Alone). Songs like Ruins are wandering, traversing their path in the remote mountains, spurred on by the raspy voice of Micke Jansson, reminiscent in its timbre of L-G Petrov. Peter Stjarnvind rarely blasts (the opening of Dying Emotions), yet the band stays aggressive, when it wants to be. At the same time, even back in the days this band was not afraid to bring contrasting piano (Dying Emotions) and synth touches (re-recording of Storms from the Skies of Grief from the debut), or compose decidedly non-extreme distortion-free instrumentals (Mireille<), just like Eucharist.

To summarize, I consider Ancient God of Evil to be a “missing link”, because it is a decidedly melodic, equal amount of death and black affair, seeking its own place, just before Gothenburg scene exploded and many a band retained “death” in the style of music they played for purely legacy purposes. If you are fond of Skydancer, A Velvet Creation, Mirrorworlds and early Dissection, I can’t imagine you not liking this album. Produced by the band itself and engineered by Dan Swano, the sound of the album is absolutely vibrant and not outdated, and definitely not caught up in all of the overproduction sins to come shortly. And, while I am at it, I will give a quick plug to the fact Regain also has some Nifelheim reissues coming down the pipeline.

Killing Songs :
Life Demise, Oceans of Time, Mireille, Die Alone
Alex quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Unanimated that we have reviewed:
Unanimated - In the Light of Darkness reviewed by Alex and quoted 86 / 100
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