For this Sunday’s look back into metal’s past I have Bardo Methodology to thank for the idea of focusing on Unanimated. Last week, that site featured an excellent interview of Richard Cabeza by Niklas Göransson, which reminded me not only of Unanimated’s past glories but also of the fact that the band is still alive, though it’s anyone’s guess when they will complete work on a fourth album.
As Göransson notes, Cabeza is “Stockholm death metal royalty” (though he has lived in Dallas, Texas, for the last 14 years). In addition to being one of Unanimated’s founding members in 1989, he was a bass player for Dismember and Murder Squad, a vocalist for General Surgery, and a live member of Satyricon and Dark Funeral.
Unanimated’s line-up over time has included other metal luminaries, including guitarists Johan Bohlin (Desultory), Jonas Mellberg (ex-Therion), and Set Teitan (Watain (live), ex-Dissection), drummer Peter Stjärnvind (Pest, Murder Squad, ex-Entombed, ex-Nfelheim), and vocalist Micke Broberg (ex-Damnation, ex-Harms Way).
Since the band’s last album, 2009’s In the Light of Darkness, original Unanimated members Cabeza, Bohlin, and Broberg have recruited drummer Anders Schultz (Unleashed) and second guitarist Jonas Deroueche (Face of Evil, ex-Carbonized) to join the band for work on a new fourth album.
Unanimated’s first two albums were 1993’s In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead and 1995’s Ancient God of Evil. Not long after Ancient God was released, Unanimated split up and did not come back together until 2007, ultimately recording In the Light of Darkness.
With a little research, you’ll find evidence that Unanimated was one of the significant early bands in the Swedish melodic death metal movement, though they didn’t have quite the lasting success or notoriety of groups like At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames. They were one of the first bands in the genre to incorporate keyboards, and their music often spilled over into the realms of black metal. The songs also displayed considerable variety, from seething, rampaging viciousness to passages of epic, pagan majesty augmented by clean vocals and acoustic guitar.
Below I’ve picked a few songs spread across Unanimated’s three albums to date, to demonstrate both the variety and the growth in the band’s music, as well as the high level of skill of all the performers. The songs hold up extremely well despite the passage of time… well enough that we ought to be anxious for the completion of that new album.
“Fire Storm” (In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead)
“Cold Northern Breeze” (In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead)
“Life Demise” (Ancient God of Evil)
“Retribution In Blood” (In the Light of Darkness)
Hadn’t heard of these guys before – luckily, it seems this time I have their name in my back pocket before the new album comes out.
Unanimated is still together in the same way Dawn is still together…in other words, you’ll probably be married with children by the time a new album comes out
That’s funny, as I’ve been waiting for the new Dawn to come out for a long time, as well as Unanimated, and am basically married at this point with children.
Have they done a thing on Dawn yet? If not, they sure need to. Unanimated is good, really good, but Dawn is the single most under rated band in Metal in my opinion.
In fact, Dawn is very high on my list of bands to feature in this series. As in… next Sunday. 🙂
That was the point of my joke 🙂 …I graduated high school when Ancient God of Evil came out and had been married for several years when In the Light of Darkness was finally released. At that rate MY kids will be graduating before the next one comes out.
As for Dawn, there was some buzz about the new one finally happening a couple years back when the re-releases all came out but nothing came of it. Theyve been talking about it for close to 20 years now, and at this point I’ll be shocked as shit if it ever comes out
Always thought these guys were great! Ive never really thought of them as a melodeath band though…Theyre melodic in the same way Dissection or Necrophobic is melodic, not like the super catchy riffs of the Gothenburg sound
I think that’s right. Yet most things written about them seem to group them in with the early insurgence of melodic death metal (while noting the black metal influence).
That’s a lot of those bands. Ever heard Ceremonial Oath? Early At the Gates? All of it had some bleak black metal aspects. It wasn’t really until Soilwork, least in my perception, that things started going more Melo-Death.
Honestly…for myself Id probably put it somewhere around Heartwork era Carcass, and if not there, definitely by the time In Flames released Lunar Strain…melody wasnt just an accent for those albums, it was very much the front and center idea.
Excellent band, I think that “Ancient God of Evil” is a pillar for the genre along with “In the Forest of The Dreaming Dead”
Really wish someone would re-issue those first 2 albums. My collection craves it…
I was wishing the same thing as I wrote this post. I bet that whoever releases the new album will do just that. Hopefully in our lifetimes.
If you like Unanimated, consider EUCHARIST for the next part of the series:
(they seems to have reunited for a gig in April, maybe if they get some attention they’ll do some more…)
Thanks for the recommendation!
i feel like that this article skips a bit on the impact this band has. When it comes to melodic black/death metal everybody talks about dissection but Unanimated did everything first to the point where storm of the lights bane even took riffs nearly directly from ancient god of evil.