You Won’t See This New Direction In Unseen Coming

Let me begin by making one thing clear: I fucking love The Haunted. I’ve been listening to them since One Kill Wonder first came out, and I own everything they’ve ever put out (besides their greatest hits collection). So, as you could imagine, I was pretty stoked when I heard The Haunted would be putting out a new record this year. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the album they’d eventually release.

When I first heard murmurs about the upcoming album, a lot of what I heard was that it would be much slower than anything they’d put out up to that point. So what? I thought, I loved The Dead Eye. In fact, that album sits up with their self-titled and One Kill Wonder as my favorite albums of theirs. I wasn’t worried – until I found a link of a live video of the band performing “No Ghost” at some kind of award show. I watched about half of it before I shut it off, assuming this was some kind of mistake, maybe it was a cover song they were doing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

You see, Unseen is a VERY different album. Peter Dolving claims it’s an album they’d been waiting to find the right time in their career to release. I’m not sure if I can agree that now was that time. What The Haunted released is a very uninspired and half-baked grunge rock album. That might sound harsh, but that’s the only way I can properly convey my feelings for this album. There’s a track called “Ocean Park”, just 50 seconds long, that doesn’t even feel like it was a finished idea. There’s almost nothing interesting about this track, it just seems like filler, honestly.

This album is slow, and so was The Dead Eye, but that album also had dynamics; it went from fast to slow, from heavy to soft, and did so brilliantly. Unseen is boring for the most part, with weak vocals and very half-assed guitar work [I counted only four (mediocre) solos on the entire album, and this is a band that loves their solos].  The riffs are way too simple and the tempo remains a steady rock tempo throughout, with the intro riff to “Never Better” being the fastest moment of the album. The technical prowess guitarists Anders Björler and Patrik Jensén have demonstrated throughout their careers is almost nonexistent on this release.

Gone is the mohawk, gone is the angst. We want the mohawk back, Dolving.

Dolving has always been one of my favorite metal vocalists, for a couple main reasons: his lyrics always seemed really intelligent and always very pissed off, and you could always hear it in his delivery. Most of Unseen is sung, with only a few sprinkles of screaming, but it’s the way the vocals are sung that will immediately put people off. It sounds like Dolving is going for a Black Label Society meets Nirvana meets Down kind of sound. It’s also the fact that the lyrics seem trite and rushed over the course of the album.

One clear lyrical moment I can respect, however, is during “All End Well,” where he almost explicitly states he doesn’t give a fuck what people will think of this record because he and his band want to do it. That’s a big middle-finger to the music industry and to peoples’ expectations, and seems very punk in doing so. Interestingly enough, the second half of the chorus to that song sounds oddly familiar to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” Play the lyrics of The Haunted’s “I don’t care what people say,” and Nirvana’s “No I don’t have a gun” back to back. If I’m not the only person that hears that similarity, please let me know!

Every Swedish metal band goes through a brief phase where they try and Americanize or make their sound a bit more appealing to mainstream audiences. In Flames did it with Reroute to Remain, Soilwork did it with Figure Number Five, and now The Haunted will do it with Unseen. I’m hoping The Haunted will do what Soilwork did and get back on track with their next release; they’re way too good of a band to stop now. I can respect them for trying to hone a new sound, but I truly think they could have released this album under a different name and it would have been easier to swallow as fans. This album is a Haunted album in name and tonality alone, but stylistically and thematically this is something very far from what you’d expect from the group.

Though there are a handful of songs I’ll mention below that are pretty bad ass, the album’s title track especially, but unfortunately you’ll find a lot of this album is forgettable. I have far too much faith in the musicianship of this band to write them off after Unseen’s disappointment, so I’ll still stand by them and hope they get back on track with their next release. Let me know what you thought of this record in the comments section below!

 


-ivan.

Standout Tracks:

“Unseen,” “Catch 22,” “The City,” “Motionless,” and “Never Better.”

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About Ivan Torres
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wrecked Reviews. Vocalist of A Thousand Kingdoms. More Metal Than Colossus.

2 Responses to You Won’t See This New Direction In Unseen Coming

  1. Missliz says:

    Good review dude. Bought the album today and am pretty happy with it so far. I mean, of course everyone wants to hear another revolver or one kill wonder but at the same time, I can really appreciate the haunted’s current direction. As you said, there are some killer tracks, or as i see it – moments of absolute mastery on Unseen which people are just ignoring. These guys are musicians. They arent creating commercial tunes for top 40, they arent trying to fit into a particular type of genre. They made an album that feels right to them, and its totally absurd the flogging they are receiving for it. The haunted bring the best live show you will ever see, have created albums that will go down as some of the greatest of all time, and i think some people need to open their eyes, stop being so narrow minded and realise that there is more to life (and music) than just thrashing and screaming. Appreciate things for what they are. The dead eye flippin rules, and can hardly be compared to their earlier albums! Unseen is different, and great, in a completely different way to how the haunted’s previous albums are great. Massive respect the swedes!

  2. Pingback: The Fallout: Dolving Leaves The Haunted [Again] « Wrecked Reviews – Music, Video Games, and Entertainment – Bay Area

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