Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: The Haunted - Unseen

Band: The Haunted
Album: Unseen
Year: 2011
Country: Sweden
Genre: Alternative Metal/Hard Rock

It seems The Haunted have decided to seriously try their hand at some sort of modern/alternative metal sound. To say the effort falls on its face is really putting it nicely. I'm a fan of a couple of their earlier albums but there is really none of that thrashy melodic death metal style present on Unseen. What we instead get is a blatant attempt at commercially accessible radio rock/metal. But lets face it, if that's what I was looking for I'd just turn on the radio.

This album is seriously lacking in real aggression. We get glimpses here and there but they are just that. Its strange but The Skull is probably the most raging song here. Its strange because its starts off more mellow than most the others with clean guitar parts before ramping into a heavy build up. And to be honest, even being probably the best song on the album its only ok. The City actually has some pretty decent riffs as well. Its not that much heavier than anything else on Unseen but the quality is there so I can look past it.

And then there is Peter Dolving. Peter is like the Swedish version of Phil Anselmo. He does a sort of hardcore shout that a million other vocalists have done, many better than him. There is nothing unique or interesting about his style. He isn't heavy or interesting and nothing about his vocals stand out. This goes for his cleans as well, which have just as much if not more time on Unseen than his shouting. Its sort of a plain style through and through.

The problem with Unseen is that it is highly forgettable. The vocals, the music, is all just kind of there. We get hints in tracks like Them, The Skull, and The City, of the former greatness of the band. But just hints. Ocean Park somehow made it on the album which is a "song" that comes in at under a minute and proves rather useless. I cant fathom why this is even on here. The Haunted seem to have been trying to emulate some sort of heavy grunge sound. Take a listen to All Ends Well, there is a sort of Stone Temple Pilots thing going on there. Which is another problem, a lot of the songs on Unseen just sound derivative.

In the end there are very few redeeming factors in this album. Besides a few songs this is a extremely weak showing. There are other bands out there doing the same thing but better and you should probably go listen to them. Even if I had heard most of this on the radio one day it wouldn't have stuck with me. In keeping with their fellow countrymen like In Flames, Soilwork, and Sonic Syndicate, The Haunted have opted for safe, uninteresting and drab music. What a shame.

Score: 3/10
Standout Track: The Skull, Them, The City

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