Now if you happen to read a majority of my reviews you will know I love Sweden & its best export bar, IKEA. which is melodic black metal & blackened death metal.
So when a few months ago Sweden’s own veterans Unanimated announced they would be releasing a new album a decade after 2009’s “In the Light of Darkness” i couldn’t be more ecstatic.
For the uninitiated Unanimated were formed in 1988 but their first full length In the “Forest of the Dreaming Dead” which was released in 1993 is one of the first new waves of melodic black metal bands with the likes of Dissection, Sacramentum & Necrophobic.
Quickly after the band followed up with the phenomenal “Ancient God of Evil” in 1995, but it wasn’t until a long hiatus we had any new material until the aforementioned “In the Light of Darkness.”
Now a decade later Unanimated are back with a new album “Victory in Blood” featuring 12 songs that are ear pounding blasting melodic black metal.
Featuring two new members to the band line up, Anders Schultz on drums and Jonas Deroueche playing the guitars.
Has Unanimated been able to keep that fantastic sounds forged in their earlier material or is it just too late?
Right by the opening track & title track “Victory in Blood” you can tell the band are taking their new material the next step up.
Firing on all cylinders the band have been able to build a sonic wall of punishment but at the same time make every element dynamic, audible & each instrument stand out. Where some other acts fall short Unanimated have taken this album “Victory In Blood” to the highest level in production & songwriting.
The band’s core sound is still here, but through the album, they are able to keep the speed they are known for and write an album full of fast-paced melody weaved assaults.
At over four minutes “As the Night Takes Us” is a track start to finish breezes past in the best possible way. Reminding me of early Immortal, keeping a slightly more simple black metal sound this track is full tilt & every so often leans into the spiritual & experimental but at its core is a straightforward black metal track that is a pleasure to listen to.
What you will quickly learn is that Unanimated are stellar songwriters. Yes, there is a list of top-notch black metal bands with great legacies but not many have been able to keep up the quality of their material. This is where Unanimated differs.
A later track on the album “Scepter of Vengeance” for one shows the bands ability to write tracks that to the casual listener but might seem one level & a straightforward black metal track but all members are doing something so varied & precise.
With each listens, I would pick out moments & only listen to the bass, vocals or drums and be speechless.
What makes this album a near-perfect album for me is Mikael Broberg’s vocal performance. Yes, black metal vocals are harsh & abrasive but for me, I love when a vocalist has a great presence & also enunciates the words they are singing to make the vocal performance that more impact.
Anders Schultz’s drumming throughout the album is also one of the backbones of the album. His technical ability keeps the album from going stale to quick & in partnership with guitarist’s Richard Cabez, Bass Jojje Bohlin & Jonas Derouche with the sonic assaults on strings & bass they are able to create melody within such brutal & haunting guitar riffs.
The closing track “The Poetry of the Sacred Earth” is a nearly seven-minute culmination of everything Unanimated have created on “Victory In Blood”.
They also give the song room to breath, it still has the fast-paced tremolo riffing signature within black metal but the band play more with dynamics throughout the track even leading to a bridge at the five-minute mark that slows the track down before reintroducing the band & a stand out solo that elevates the track before the album ends & leaves you knowing Unanimated are still kings of Swedish melodic black metal
Victory In Blood is out via Century Media Records on 3rd December 2021