Let it be officially declared that THE HAUNTED are done thrashing. As if the band’s previous few releases were any clue, Unseen is an unequivocal statement that the former Swedish thrashers have long moved onto find new sounds. Leave your old views of the band behind if you want to give yourself any chance of enjoying Unseen.
Unseen is a further departure away from fist in the face metal, and demonstrates the band’s exploration of various heavy rock sounds. The pace is slowed to mostly mid-tempos. Aggression and heaviness do not compose the record’s hallmarks either. The album’s tone is brooding and slithering; perhaps not unlike TOOL to a lesser degree.
The record is a mixed bag in terms of quality. Some work, some don’t. “Motionless,” “Unseen,” and “The City” are, by far, Unseen’s best tracks. “All Ends Well” is not bad; it’s got a great vocal chorus. “No Ghost” sounds a little out of place with its mid-tempo, heavy bluesy rock. “Catch 22” and “Disappear” are brooding tracks with plenty of TOOL influences. Songs like “The Skull,” “Ocean Park,” and “Done” don’t really do much.
Peter Dolving largely ditches his monotone yelling vocals (ala Tom Araya) and sings on the majority of the record. While it’s great to hear his charismatic and multidimensional singing, some vocal lines sound great while others don’t quite hit. There’s no doubting the personal and emotional nature of the lyrics though.
One can feel the effort put into this record but too often the execution isn’t there. Perhaps an EP of the strongest songs would’ve been best. However, that would’ve sacrificed artistic integrity. At the end of the day, the band has put forth too many solid, jawdropping records for lower standards to be acceptable. (Century Media Records)