In the Light of Darkness the Covenant of Death

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When Unanimated broke up in 1996, they were a melodic death metal band with a symphonic black metal influence. But times change. After reuniting 11 years later in 2007, Unanimated made black metal their main ingredient -- and In the Light of Darkness, the Swedish band's first album since getting back together, is essentially symphonic black metal with death metal elements. Most of the extreme vocals favor a black metal rasp over death metal's "Cookie Monster" growl, and there are also plenty of blastbeats and ultra-ominous, ultra-dark harmonies that add to the disc's black metal appeal. In the Light of Darkness isn't blackened death metal -- it is black metal first and foremost. But one thing that hasn't changed about Unanimated is their melodic nature. For all their heaviness and aggression, tracks like "Serpent's Curse," "Diabolic Voices," "Retribution in Blood," and "Enemy of the Sun" are musical and nuanced in a way that the harsher and more unforgiving black metal bands (such as Gorgoroth and Marduk) are not. Brutality is definitely part of the equation on In the Light of Darkness, but this album is never an exercise in brutality for the sake of brutality. Further, it's easy to understand the lyrics on this 2009 release. Many death metal and black metal vocalists render lyrics indecipherable (which is a common complaint about extreme metal), but that is seldom a problem on In the Light of Darkness. Overall, lead singer Micke Jansson is quite understandable on this 45-minute CD, which doesn't break any new ground for symphonic black metal but is still an excellent comeback album for Unanimated.

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