Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unanimated - Ancient God of Evil (1995)

Ancient God of Evil is the second full-length album from Sweden's Unanimated. Released in March 1995, on No Fashion Records, this features even more of a Black Metal feeling than what was already present on In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead. Comparisons have been made with Dissection, though the similarities are not as overt as might be implied. The band's sophomore effort does well to pick up from where their debut left off, but displays a solid progression and, in many cases, is much more successful in achieving its goals.

One of the prime differences in songwriting is the presence of so many more cold tremolo riffs that, along with the intense drumming and raspy vocals, are among the main reasons for this being compared to Dissection. Micke Jansson's voice is certainly in the same vein as Jon Nödtveidt's vocal approach, though Unanimated definitely possesses a unique vibe. As for Peter Stjärnvind's performance, his style is much more rooted in old school Death and Thrash, hearkening back to his days in Merciless. Much of the material sounds like a continuation of the style utilized on the first album, even if the overall atmosphere is a little more frozen and bleak. However, the songs that are most likely to be responsible for Ancient God of Evil being considered a Swedish Black Metal album are "Life Demise", "Oceans of Time" and parts of "Die Alone". Even those tracks are more of a hybrid of Black and Death, with the former dominating the sound. Consequently, these are the most memorable songs on here.

The production is very crisp and clear, but not to the extent that it could be considered plastic or fake. Despite the fact that many like to consider this band to be part of the melodic Death Metal movement, it sounds much closer to Storm of the Light's Bane or Opus Nocturne than Lunar Strain, for example. The mix is exactly as it should be, with the guitar melodies fully able to carve through everything else and straight into the listener's mind. The vocals and percussion are at an acceptable level, clear enough to be heard well but not so much as to distract from the frozen riffs.

Ancient God of Evil is a very solid album, though one that could have been better. The aforementioned songs demonstrate that where the album really shines is during the more Black Metal-oriented material, of which there should have been much more. The other songs are decent enough, but fail to make the same impact and the overall quality of the album suffers, as a result. Perhaps, they would have gotten it right if the band had lasted long enough to record a third album, back then. At least they eventually reunited, but a decade and a half was too little, too late.