Cripes, what an underwhelming album. Too bad this is the immediate reaction of the expectant listener who has just enthusiastically embraced Unseen, the latest opus from Sweden's finest thrash band. That's right, The Haunted are Sweden's finest thrash metal band. How could they be anything else when most of the group hails from At the Gates, who invented melodic death metal (and spawned a global movement) as we know it? The Haunted also have their own fair share of legendary albums like One Kill Wonder, …Made Me Do It, and the utterly ripping rEVOLVEr.
Much to the dismay of a faithful legion of fans, everything past their 2004 opus has been hit and miss. The Dead Eye earned itself universal scorn, Versus wasn't as bad as a lot of critics made it out to be, and now this Unseen is…weird. Yup, that's the word that best sums up Unseen. From the minimalist cover art to the brooding songs that clutter its running time, Unseen is the strangest alum the Swedish super duper group (for they are a very talented bunch) have released so far. The funny thing is a lot of the noise inside the album hardly qualifies as heavy metal, much less thrash, though a few tidbits still harken to the band's roots.
It can't be helped, boys and girls, for The Haunted are a lot happier exploring their capabilities than giving what the fans are screaming for (pure molten ferocious Swedish thrash metal). The real tragedy of Unseen, however, is a lot of the songs aren't that impressive. Sure, the sparkling No Ghost, which the band performed with relish at a recent Swedish awards ceremony, stand tall. Alas, the rest of the material isn't as commendable.
The best Unseen has to offer are the heavier cuts such as The Skull, Done, Catch 22, and Motionless. Forget the title track cos its utter cat piss, a commercial jingle that's predictable and bland. Is there anyone who'll fall in love with Unseen? That's really up to the fans and open minded listeners. Unseen is a step in a new direction and whatever flack the band gets for it is their fault. Besides, frontman Peter Dolving has stated again and again that The Haunted are more inclined to expand boundaries than stick with a formula. If you can't stand that mindset and its musical offspring, stay away from Unseen.
Is there anyone who'll fall in love with The Haunted's Unseen? That's really up to the fans and open minded listeners. Unseen is a step in a new direction and whatever flack the band gets for it is their fault.