THE HAUNTED - Unseen [Review]

Genre: Thrash/Groove Metal

Label: Century Media Records

Release Date: March 21st, 2011

Reviewer: Spiritcrusher

Most unexpected album of the year? I know it's still March 2011, but I can really say that The Haunted's latest new album, Unseen, was something that I don't think most fans really expected. It's definitely a transition from the "thrash" label many fans put on them. If you expect this album to sound just like "Made Me Do It", then that's not what you're going to get. To be fair though, I did like this album, but I needed to give it a few listens.

I can see really progressive and "groove" elements in this. I can also see some influences coming from more modern melodic death metal bands. Overall, this is an interestingly different sound than before. I think I'm going to focus on the more unique songs off this album.

The album opens up with "Never Better". It begins with an increasingly strong build up to what would be expected as a thrash riff, but it turns into a really hard-hitting progressive metal song. The vocals aren't as harsh, as Peter Dolving seems to focus much more on singing than screams/harsh vocals as he seemed to have done so in previous albums.

The next track just shocked me quite a bit. No Ghost is something for those groove metal fans out there. It's quite melodic, but also has a really "chuggy" riff over a "slow" beat, at least for The Haunted's standards. It's another song that was quite unexpected.

Disappear is a track I actually really enjoyed. Not necessarily fast or hard hitting as one would expect, but I enjoyed the melodic riffs, and I thought Dolving did a great job with the singing. It was reminiscent a bit of In Flames to a certain degree, which I enjoyed.

I also really enjoyed Motionless. I think this song could fit in The Dead Eye album. Nice heavy riffs, awesome buildups to some cool thrash riffs, and Dolving sounding much more pissed off than usual. I think any of The Haunted fans who are bitter about the new album can at least give this song credit.

For all the progressive rock/metal fans, I think you guys would really enjoy The Skull. The intro's clean tapping riff and harmonized singing with the eery leads that pop up sound pretty good. Here's the catch though, it builds up to the more heavier sound that most The Haunted fans will be familiar with from their previous albums.

Ocean Park is a 50 second track with Peter Dolving singing with nothing but acoustic guitar and light rain in the background. It was very unexpected but an interesting transition to the next song The City, which I LOVE.

The City is heavy, fast, melodic, and of course the prog/groove fans will probably enjoy the riffs which are a creatively written. It all picks up into a really cool hard hitting song, with gang vocals and all the good stuff that comes in such a combination. The next song, Them, is another thrashy song that most of the fans of the older albums would like, with a GREAT solo.

All Ends Well is interesting track. It's a nice mix of progressive riffing and catchy melodies. It shows that The Haunted are adding more and more progressive elements in their music, but want to keep their songs catchy.

Their final track, Done, does the same thing. It's heavy and hard hitting but goes with experimenting their time signatures with the rhythm of their riffs. It sounds good. The leads that appear in the song are enjoyable too.

All in all, this is NOT Made Me Do It. This is quite an experimental album with lots of progressive and groove elements in there. I think we're going to see a lot more of this in their future material. However, for all the fans who miss their songs with more elements of "thrash", there are quite a few tracks that still have those elements that are reminiscent of their older material.

Personal favorites:
  • Motionless
  • Dissappear
  • The City

Tracks most of The Haunted's fans never saw coming:
  • No Ghost
  • Never Better
  • Catch 22
  • Unseen

I'm going to give this album a solid 7.5/10

I can't say this is my favorite album, but kudos to the band for making progress with their music based on their own decisions and not appealing to anyone. Some of the tracks on this album are absolutely outstanding, and some of them are simply an acquired taste. It's still worth the listen! The Haunted once again present a well done album.