The Haunted – Unseen

The Haunted

Unseen

01. Never Better
02. No Ghost
03. Catch 22
04. Disappear
05. Motionless
06. Unseen
07. The Skull
08. Ocean Park
09. The City
10. Them
11. All Ends Well
12. Done

[03/22/2011]
[Century Media]

If you’re already a Haunted fan then you probably know what’s been said about this album, how it’s the most pop-oriented record so far. Well the claims are true, this is a far cry from the band who screamed “Godpuppet” back in 2003 and still a little far off the band who released the amazing rEVOLVEr only a year later. Gone is some of the venom and bile from those releases, replaced by an emphasis on melodies and writing more memorable songs.

Unseen opens with something a little more familiar in the form of “Never Better“, a fast paced thrash style opening section that wouldn’t feel out of place on previous album Versus. However, the song takes a sudden ham-fisted turn and comes up with an anthemic clean sung chorus that reminds me a little of modern day In Flames, it was always known that Peter Dolving was a great a vocalist but it’s on tracks like these he really shows the range of his voice. “No Ghost” changes the theme again, this was the track played live at P3 Guld and at the time I said the song had more a ‘rock and roll swagger‘ to it. Listening to this studio version really brings that heavy, southern-fried, swung feel to the forefront and brings to mind the unfortunately hated Load/Reload era of Metallica.

In fact I’d say pretty much every song on this album is something of an experiment in trying to vary a sound they been refining for the last two or three releases. Sometimes it works better than others, “Disappear” brings another chorus that could easily stack up to any chorus In Flames have written in the last few years and, despite it’s less than a minute length, acoustic “Ocean Park” doesn’t feel like filler; more like an insight into the softer side of The Haunted which works works quite well as a dark and moody acoustic piece. However, “The Skull” (whilst being one of my personal favourite tracks for it’s huge groove riffs and caustic attitude) sells itself a little short by incorporating an outro comprised of jolly workman-like whistling and during “Them” Dolving veers onto an almost dainty nursery rhyme style for a brief while, both of which feel just a little unnecessary.

Overall, Unseen just shows off how varied Dolving can be when given the chance. The music itself is solid and they should all be rightly proud of what they have made, but as a whole the album feels a little rough around the edges. If The Haunted continue to go in this direction, I won’t be displeased, there’s millions of bands that can do the angry thing but just not many that can do it in such a memorable way. It’ll probably be the case that this is the sound of a band getting used to a different sound and that the next album will know it’s own boundaries a little more. If Unseen is a one off, then it’s not a blemish on their career at all, it just shows a band that’s willing to experiment a little. And as a long time fan, I’m happy with it.

The Haunted’s Unseen gets…

3/5

-DL

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