In The Light Of Darkness
posted on 5/2009 By:
I was surprised to learn that In the Light of Darkness is in fact the third album from Sweden’s Unanimated. The band, which features former Dismember bassist Richard Cabeza and former Entombed drummer Peter Stjarmvind, released a pair of albums in the early nineties and then went silent for fourteen years. As per my usual routine when choosing an album to review I visited Unanimated’s Myspace page and was pleased to find among their list of influences bands such as Mercyful Fate, Bathory, Venom, Celtic Frost, Slayer and Morbid Angel. Given the band's respectable pedigree and a list of influences that reads like a list of my favorite bands, I was prepared to have my socks thoroughly rocked off. Alas, my socks are still firmly in place.
In the Light of Darkness is not at all what I was expecting; It lacks the over the top delivery of Mercyful Fate or Venom, it is devoid of the crusty barbarism of Celtic Frost or Bathory, and it has little of the blistering intensity of Slayer or Morbid Angel. The band plays primarily mid-paced melodic death metal, with a heavy focus on the melodic aspect. Unanimated’s songs are driven by Guitarist Johan Bohlin’s sinuous lead lines. Bohlin’s playing is tasteful and highly musical, reminiscent of Jon Nödtveidt’s work with Dissection. The rhythm guitar work, however, relies too heavily on tremolo picking and rudimentary power chord riffs. The band never seems to come up with anything with real teeth. Cabeza and Stjarmvind’s rumbling grooves and Micke Jansson’s blackened vocals do a fair job of making the compositions sound threatening, but threats only work for a while. When it comes time to actually do some damage, Bohlin answers instead with more melody. I keep waiting for a nasty, ugly riff to come and rip my face off, but it never happens. This just is not that type of record.
Irrespective of my expectations, In the Light of Darkness is actually a pretty decent album. The band's brooding, lumbering grooves and black metal styled vocals give them a far more sinister sound than bouncier, “happier” sounding bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquility, and Bohlin’s flair for mournful melody cannot be denied. I can see this record appealing to fans of the more “evil” side of melodic death metal inhabited by bands like Dissection and Necrophobic. If like me, you are looking for some sort of hybrid of Don’t Break the Oath, Blood Fire Death, Morbid Tales, and Blessed Are the Sick, In the Light of Darkness is not it.
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