The Haunted are an incredibly consistent band in many regards. Up to now, they’ve released a new album every two to three years. They have also grown and evolved with each new release. If someone tells you that ‘Versus’ sounds just like ‘The Dead Eye’, you can pretty much be sure that they have no idea what they’re talking about. And so it is with ‘Unseen’. It comes out two and a half years after ‘Versus’ and the sound has definitely evolved. But has it evolved for the better? Check after the jump to find out!
The album opens up with ‘Never Better’, a heavy hitting track that alternates between 7/4 and 4/4, throwing a wrench into my need for some serious head banging. Peter Dolving’s vocals are fantastic as usual. I’m convinced that the man has one of the best voices in heavy metal. He uses vocal harmonies, usually meant to add beauty and depth, to add to the rage and anger that his lyrics call forth. The guitars sound thick and powerful and, when mixed with the bass, are immediately recognizable as having that ‘The Haunted’ sound. The drums also sound fantastic with the toms having depth and a ‘boominess’ to them that sounds great when the bass is maxed out.
The production on the album sounds fantastic. The variety of guitar tones make each song sound unique while the bass delivers a solid foundation. The drums are, as mentioned above, deep and boomy with a fantastic mix. The addition of small electronic passages sprinkled here and there throughout the album add a spice that helps rather than hinder. But the highlight of the album is the scope of Peter Dolving’s voice. The man does some astounding vocal harmonies, such as in the track ‘The Skull’. He is also one of the few metal vocalists that manage to actually sound furious when he yells rather than just bellowing for the sake of bellowing.
As I mentioned above, The Haunted is a band that evolves with each new release and ‘Unseen’ is no different of a case. Many people will feel that this album is dangerously close to the band sacrificing their integrity and becoming ‘commercial’. For instance, the opening of ‘The City’ sounds suspiciously like something that came off of a Mars Volta release. While I’m not one to buy into that train of though, I can definitely see how others would hear that. Some of these songs don’t have the violence and aggressive attitude that I heard on ‘rEVOLVEr’ or ‘Versus’. However, these are still very solid songs that are identifiably The Haunted.
The Final Word: The Haunted has delivered another extremely solid album that is more than deserving of your attention. If you find that you’re not that into the album at first, spin it a few more times and see how your opinion has changed. I think this is a new and exciting step for The Haunted and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they are received with this album.