This Swedish band was an early melodic pioneer, making rocking death metal in the older styles of Dismember and others with heavy black metal stylings as well.
flag of Sweden Unanimated - Fire Storm demo (1991)
Unanimated - In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead (1993)
Unanimated - Ancient God of Evil (1995)
Unanimated - In the Light of Darkness (2009)
Unanimated - Fire Storm


1. The Call (1:42)
2. Through the Gates (4:01)
3. The Blackness of the Fallen Star (5:06)
4. Storms from the Skies of Grief (3:37)
5. In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead (5:32)
Length: 19:58

Fire Storm (1991, self-released)
A generation before their time, Unanimated were, like Cemetary, a band that adapted heavy metal to the new death metal style, which they saw as a way of softening its rough edges, and using the melodic composition for which Swedish bands are famous to create an atmosphere like medievalist acts Dead Can Dance. They thus presaged black metal, and the reverting of Swedish death metal into "New Wave of Swedish Death Metal" (NWOSDM) at the same time, which was like Cradle of Filth before them basically melodic heavy metal with death/black metal drums, tremolo and vocals. One step forward, one step back, in other words; that dichotomy is present in this extremely musically literate but simple approach that, much like Cemetary, relies on a sense of deepening mystery as its melodies get more tangentially related and float through a minor key in an appearance of the esoteric and mystical. The weakness of course is that by veering so close to heavy metal, Unanimated often fall into kick-happy riffs that bounce along and disrupt that mood with the null-mood of modern music that is poignantly balanced between cheerful and depressed, and so resembles the attitude of an office worker on Monday afternoon. The songs on this demo represent the highlights of the first album in a more indulgently bluesy and rhythmically rigid form.

Production: Relatively clear but frothy, sort of diffuse.

Review: One cannot argue that this is not death metal yet a black metal influence in concept and setting pervades. Beautifully harmonic, with melodic flowing lines and the single-string speed picking favored by black metal bands, this release is populated by well-built songs in the rock/heavy metal/Swedish death metal style with a human ear in mind, and the result is metal that is more moody and restless than heavy but extreme enough to exceed its ancestors.


1. At Dawn/Whispering Shadows (4:27)
2. Blackness of the Fallen Star (4:17)
3. Fire Storm (5:28)
4. Storms from the Skies of Grief (3:38)
5. Through the Gates (3:53)
6. Wind of a Dismal Past (3:58)
7. Silence Ends (1:34)
8. Mournful Twilight (3:25)
9. In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead (4:44)
10. Cold Northern Breeze (4:42)
11. Buried Alive [Venom cover] (3:28)
Length: 43:36

Unanimated - In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead - Swedish Melodic Death Metal 1994 Pavement
Copyright © 1994 Pavement

Much has been said about the similarities between this band and Emperor. Both have superior songwriting and treatment of melody; Unanimated typically begin a tune slowly, and then build into the main riff, which is usually a dynamically phrased riff without a whole lot of tonal nonlinearity. The result is flowing death metal that periodically stops to bash the hell out of things; although the playing is good, and real guitar solos occur on this album, I'd say the major failing of it would be the repetition and lack of real dynamism and intricacy. The addition of those elements would make this a first-class death metal band.

Unanimated - Ancient God of Evil


1. Life Demise (4:01)
2. Eye of the Greyhound (4:31)
3. Oceans of Time (5:55)
4. Dead Calm (4:01)
5. Mireille (2:39)
6. The Depths of a Black Sea (3:55)
7. Ruins (3:57)
8. Dying Emotions Domain (4:47)
9. Die Alone (5:23)
Length: 39:09

Ancient God of Evil (1995, No Fashion)
Life defiles purity. This is why an album can have both some of the most brilliant work in metal, and yet be awash in its greatest failings: a reversion to the mean, or to its rock music and heavy metal ancestors, abandoning what made death metal stand above the masses. A bullet racing at the surface line of white sand would produce the smooth refulgent synthesis of tones that is the slowly self-emergent melodic motif in each song, a half-symmetry of interrogation and a route back toward some tonal clarity through melding and divisive notes harmonizing their similarities in sonic shape from within the complex structure of their own internal harmonies and the rising phenomena of each song that thrust momentum to apex at the revelation of new direction in sonic motion. However, as these hopes rise, they are brought to ground by the pull of the mass audience that loves the bouncy, color-note-infused style of heavy metal, or its speed metal updated hybrid, Pantera. This downfall manifested itself in the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal (NWOSDM) for which Ancient God of Evil is a blueprint: death metal riffs and the riff/introduction/riff pattern Slayer innovated, made into a gleaming gel that can hold suspended lots of delicious heavy metal riffs and abundant bluesy leads, so that the music is carnival-style -- one unrelated distraction after another held together by rhythm. For those of us who like music that does not attempt to norm itself, this album is a disappointment; there are great riffs on here, and some great musical ideas, but the structure is formulaic and it quickly runs out of momentum on each track and drops into a hybrid heavy metal style that has no attention span and so is of very limited reward.

Unanimated - In the Light of Darkness

1. Ascend with the Stench of Death (1:49)
2. Retribution in Blood (6:43) mp3 sample
3. The Endless Beyond (5:50)
4. Diabolic Voices (4:52)
5. In the Light of Darkness (4:52)
6. The Unconquered One (3:36) mp3 sample
7. Enemy of the Sun (5:48)
8. Serpent's Curse (4:44)
9. Death to Life (5:22) mp3 sample
10. Strategia Luciferi (2:10)
Length: 45:46

In the Light of Darkness (2009, Regain)
The year 2009 may be the one of metal restatements. Fifteen years past the prime of these genres, the recent rash of comeback albums sound for the most part like bands trying to restate the parts of the past that warrant hearing again. The fundamental flexibility of death metal shines through in this longevity. Swedish melodic death metal band Unanimated push back at time with familiar personnel and a thoughtfully recognizable aesthetic. Is there enough here with that to justify praise of a legitimate resurrection? Not quite, unfortunately; while this band always toyed with rock-derived melodic progressions and central rhythms, and the bluesy soloing was a hallmark of their approach from the beginning, this recording lacks the instinct for texture and variation, both within and between tracks, to properly underscore any kind of latent beauty possibly concealing itself within these stripped-down compositions. Listening to this back-to-back with In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead will confirm this impression. The latter, fearless and bursting with adventurous energy, moves itself over and not through its baser elements, even as all of them have a place; the former, having mostly inverted this relationship, seems totally unaware that this unconscious slight-of-mind has occurred and is content with its simpler plod. While it is easy to see this as a continuation of the past -- in some cases a near-literal one, with generous subconscious borrowing of popular Swedish motifs -- it is just as easily envisioned that it will be forgotten in five years for not having properly re-lived it. - kontinual

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