Here's a bizarre entry for you - 1995's Ancient God of Evil, created by Stockholm's Unanimated, sports a sound more inline with the Gothenburg sound (In Flames / At The Gates) and at times, even leaning towards a modern black metal approach (much like Stockholm's heroes of the period, Dissection). Making genre distinctions with this album is a difficult task, because it is clearly a "roots" album, helping develop the sound of the growing "melodic death metal" and "Swedish black metal” movements.
"Life Demise" kicks off the album sounding like a lost track off of Dissection's classic, "Storm of the Light's Bane." Purists argue that the two bands sound nothing alike, but I don't know what the hell they're listening to. At The Gates are another clear influence on Unanimated's sound with Micke Broberg's vocals sounding remarkably similar to Lindberg's approach on late-period Gates stuff. "Oceans of Time" hits that mark too - even starting with a pogo-beat and Iron Maiden harmony-laden riff. It is rich with money riffs throughout, making this track one of the true standouts. “The Depths of a Black Sea” is downright triumphant, making me think, yet again, of Dissection (this time, their excellent “Where Dead Angels Lie”). While yes, this stuff is a little derivative, it is from the same time period, so who’s to say who ripped off who? The point is, it’s catchy as hell with so many choice riffs, you’ll want to spin it a few times in a row.
In Flames would make a living off of this melo-death approach, so I'm not sure what happened to Unanimated - it sounds like an extension of the same ideas (“Jester Race” with more edge maybe). Hell, they pretty much started at the same time. But while one band became a ridiculous success the other, has only this obscure little gem for you to seek out - it’s worth your time if you are a fan of melodic death or black. The debut is listenable, but not nearly as approachable as this one. Listenable and accessible death metal simply does not get any better than this one - seek it out at all costs! 5 out of 5.