Review Summary: A great sounding second outing- nothing more, nothing less
Melodic death metal gets a lot of flack. Be it for its lack of originality (We Are the Void, Dark Tranquillity), lack of serious punch (A Sense of Purpose, In Flames) or for its sheer monotony (Across the Dark, Insomnium), it is fair to say that the genre had dropped off the scale as of late. Ironically, one often finds they have to look back through the catalogues of time to dig up some of the best efforts around and Unanimated’s first two offerings are pretty dam decent. “Ancient God of Evil” was released in 1995 amid the flurry of the genre’s heavyweights and while it lacks the serious punch of “Slaughter of the Soul” and furious lead guitar of “The Gallery”, the groups second effort is more than worth listening to for any fans of proper, old school death metal of the melodic kind.
Perhaps the greatest strength of “Ancient God of Evil” is that it is incredibly solid, with no real weak track on display. And while there is no real standout either, all of the songs have an element of catchiness and ferocity that will please all of those wanting a bit more bite from the genre. Opener “Life Demise”, which featured in “Haggard: The Movie” (no, me neither) is probably the strongest track on here, being nothing more than a guitar and symphonic lead belter while “Dead Calm” has riffs akin to Satyricon’s masterpiece “Nemesis Divina” which only adds to its appeal. Much like fellow genre compatriots “Gates of Ishtar” the band takes a much more black metal oriented path than, say At the Gates or Dark Tranquillity and this adds further to its appeal. Hell, this could even be used as a gateway into the genre of black metal, for the gritty production and symphonics give it an atmosphere which feels almost too cold, too harsh for the boundaries of melodic death metal.
And it’s not only the instrumentation which should get a nod of approval. Vocalist Micke Jansson puts in a performance akin to Mikael Stanne during the days of “The Gallery” and Opeth’s earliest works and his vocal content isn’t bad either. Everywhere are references to a cold, barren and desolate wasteland akin to the early days of Darkthrone, and while unoriginal the delivery and emotion behind the lyrics means this fault can go unnoticed.
“Ancient God of Evil” really is solid, old school melodic death metal of the good kind. The guitars are full of melody, punch and even groove at times, the scarce use of extra symphonics means that when such sections come along they are even more effective than perhaps they should be and the lyrics of Jansson fit alongside the music well. Even if it is a tad unoriginal and overshadowed by other releases, those looking for great outing into the blackened side of melodic death metal should certainly pick this up.
1. Life Demise
2. Eye of the Greyhound
3. The Depth’s of a Black Sea
5. Dead Calm