The Haunted
Unseen

Wow, now this was unexpected. I haven’t been this disappointed, this…disgusted, with a new album in quite some time, though I remember the last time quite clearly. I was 15, my summer vacation had just started, and I was eagerly anticipating this album. I got a ride to the record shop, picked it up, and remember looking it over thoroughly while standing in line. I got a bad feeling at that point, but mostly ignored it. I came home, popped it in the player and listened to the whole thing while a horrible feeling of disbelief, disappointment and disgust gradually washed over me. When it finished, I took it out and nearly broke it, but ended up putting it back in it’s case and tossing it aside, to be mostly forgotten about for a long while. The album of course was Metallica‘s Load. Unseen is equally horrible, much to my dismay.

I’ve never been a subscriber of blind fanboyism, so I won’t hesitate to call out a complete failure, as Unseen is. So where does it fail? Everywhere. The riffs are weak, watered down and considerably un-thrash. The fast and sometimes masterful lead work of past efforts is long gone. Dolving’s vocals lack power, and at times I swear he’s near rapping (see opener “Never Better”). At others, he sounds almost whiny in his delivery (“Motionless”, “Unseen”), which is always annoying.

Everything is stripped back, gutted of aggression and nearly all metallic elements, leaving a simplified, easily digestible and ready-for-radio template. “No Ghost” tries on it’s southern, bluesy shoes, but ends up sounding really out of place. When they try to get heavy, it comes out in the form of “The Skull”, a track that starts on a Tool-ish note, then breaks into a chunky, groove based riff that ultimately sounds forced, and/or pulled from the nu-metal playbook.

I honestly don’t have a single good thing to say about Unseen. There’s not a memorable moment to be found on it – it’s atrocious. “All Ends Well” is a complete abomination that, believe it or not, stands out as more horrible than the rest – I can’t even begin to describe whats wrong with it.

What it all adds up to is The Haunted are putting in their bid to join the mainstream. Simplifying their sound, adding extra catchy hooks, gutting the aggression – the problem though – it doesn’t work, because in the end, none of it is all that catchy.

I was on board when the band started to broaden their sound on rEVOLVEr, and the much maligned The Dead Eye – both albums were still very much metal, still thrashy, yet many new elements and ideas were brought to the table, and for the most part, I thought they worked. Some of you may recall my review of their last, Versus, and my nitpicking of them treading water instead of moving forward with their sound. I know I recall that well, but Unseen is not what I had in mind — a complete abandoning of their core sound in favor of this…abortion of an album that sees them sounding more like modern hard rock or alt-metal or Dio forbid, nu-metal, is a travesty.

Blind supporters will undoubtedly call it “art”, “avant-garde”, “experimental”, etc etc and try their best to convince the rest of us it’s some sort of brilliant masterwork, but I’m not fooled, this is garbage. But then again, maybe I’ve got it all wrong and Unseen really is meant to be some kind of masterful work of art – in which case it’s still a big steaming pile of…well, you get the picture by now.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
April 11th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: vugelnox

    I’ve seen this praised for the band willing to defy expectations and try something new and there is something to be said for that… but its all for naught when the music is this bad.


  2. Commented by: drowningincorn

    I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, so don’t really have much to compare this too or get emotional about. At heart this is a rock record, not a metal one. My band straddles that rock played with metal form line, so that in and of itself doesn’t bother me. I tend to like the albums metal bands make when they go rock when taken on their own.

    First the good: I like the song Motionless quite a bit actually. The City has a chorus part I really like. This song would be pretty killer without the made for high school chorus and the fact it doesn’t go anywhere. Ok, so I like the chorus part and the end part. Them is a good song except for the bridge with is “meh.” Oh great, that shitty bridge just turned into the whole rest of the song, damnit… All ends well isn’t bad except for that vocal part that sounds like it came from a 3rd rate 90’s band. Yeah, that just sunk it. Fuck…

    The rest of this album is just fucking awful.

    I’m left thinking that if they took the few tracks I mentioned, maybe another riff here or there, and had Doug Pinnick of King’s X produce arrange the tracks they could have had pretty killer E.P. showing off their new rock direction. As it stands, this thing overall is pretty cringe worthy and sounds about a decade too late.


  3. Commented by: MrC

    The title track sounds like Korn. Peter sounds like Jonathan Davis’ at points, clearly this is not a good thing. Atrocious.


  4. Commented by: markr

    I have never disliked a band if they got less heavy or aggressive as long the music was still good. The Haunted did that lots in the past, and they have some really cool songs, that are not as aggressive as others. I thought this album would be more of that, but this is bad. Just bad uninteresting music in general. I hope they see it as the failed experiment it is and then get back to what they do best for future releases.


  5. Commented by: Evil In U

    The only way this album can be described as experimental is if you’ve never heard of Tool, deftones and Korn.


  6. Commented by: Andy Synn

    Am I allowed to like it without applying for my fanboy card?


  7. Commented by: AARONIUS

    Okay okay everybody calm down. This is a good (not great) album. Metallica’s load was an abomination to be sure but not this. It does have the same problem “Load” did, which is it should have been released under a different band name. I admit I was shocked when I listened to Unseen for the first time, however compared to other hard rock/metal it’s acceptable. My opinion is it just should’ve been released as something other than a “Haunted” album.


  8. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    “Blind supporters will undoubtedly call it “art”, “avant-garde”, “experimental”, etc etc and try their best to convince the rest of us it’s some sort of brilliant masterwork, but I’m not fooled, this is garbage”

    Or maybe some people genuinely like the album and can appreciate the music for what it is. Your definition of “blind” is evidently anyone who disagrees with you or your review. Let me show you how this works, when I turn the tables…

    “Blind supporters of this review will undoubtedly call it “funny”, “honest”, “insightful”, etc etc and try their best to convince the rest of us it’s some sort of brilliant masterwork, but I’m not fooled, this is garbage”

    See how clever it is to try and preemptively stifle any debate? *rolls eyes*

    I’ve been a fan (and yes I am male… so “fanboy” fits I suppose) of The Haunted since day one and in my view this is the best album of 2011 hands down.


  9. Commented by: Evil In U

    The only word I will use to describe this review is “accurate” ;)


  10. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Substitute “funny” for “accurate” in the above. :lol:


  11. Commented by: Plasmaterial

    The review of this over at MetalReview.com is a VERY good read…and sums up my thoughts on this album: shocked at first, but after letting it sink in on multiple listens, I like the album for what it is.

    But it is understandable as to why many would detest this album.


  12. Commented by: faust

    I tried very hard to find some redeeming qualities about this record. I couldn’t. Unseen is a bizarrely bad album. Larry’s review is spot-fuckin-on. People who are hailing this to be a masterwork need to know that denial is not a fuckin river in Egypt.


  13. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    People that use the phrase “denial is not a fuckin river in Egypt” need to know that it stopped being funny 15 billion times it was said ago.

    Some people like this album, some people hate it. Get over it.


  14. Commented by: faust

    Wow..15 billion times wasn’t enough to get the message across then. Some people have the skull of a Pachycephalosaur.
    Album sucks, get over it. Stop being a hypocritical poseur. It doesn’t impress anyone. Not even Peter fuckin Dolving.


  15. Commented by: shaden

    better than the dead eye for sure.but def not nearly as good as the new romeo must die,which kicks the shit outa this cd.

    first haunted was the best haunted,end of story.


  16. Commented by: faust

    There’s a band called “Romeo Must Die” ??


  17. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    “hypocritical poseur”? What? So because I like this album I’m a hypocrite and a poseur? Uh, ok, sure man.


  18. Commented by: Coles

    this album will cure AIDS or mutate it to spread faster. I’ve said everything, yet nothing at all. you read, you lose.


  19. Commented by: markr

    There’s a band called Romeo must die?


  20. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Coles… awesome comment!! :lol:


  21. Commented by: Scott Alisoglu

    I can honestly say I don’t even want to listen to this album now and this is not the first review I’ve seen slamming it. But perhaps I should do my critical duty and review it as well… I can’t imagine my opinion would be any different, especially since Larry’s reviews tend to be spot on.


  22. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Wow, I expected Scott Alisoglu to have a more open mind. After that comment I doubt I’ll ever read one of your reviews the same way again.

    This album is amazing, and the only thing preventing some people from liking it is the knucklehead cave dweller mentality that seems to be so common in the sub-culture today.


  23. Commented by: mccumberv

    Sounds like Korn, Dolving has always wanted to turn the Haunted into a Nu-metal band, better stage for him to get up there and whore out his personality with all his dumbshit teenage angst, what’s the point in releasing an album like this? They sure as hell aren’t reinventing anything or breaking any new ground, they dumbed it down, rehashed old Coal Chamber riffs and those vocals…holy shit they suck worse than Anders from In Flames, both of those dudes have a man-crush on Davis from Korn, what a disgrace.


  24. Commented by: faust

    “This album is amazing, and the only thing preventing some people from liking it is the knucklehead cave dweller mentality that seems to be so common in the sub-culture today.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha.. What a pretentious idiot.

    What’s preventing people from liking “Unseen” is it is pure tripe and is about as fuckin enjoyable as “Quorn”. Get the pun ?? Of course you don’t!


  25. Commented by: Coles

    I wish I could close the circle of AIDS started by ko<\n, but it looks to have infected Dolving as well. do you see what I did there? I related the start of musical AIDS to Ko<\n. on a more serious note, AIDS levels spiked in the 90s, curiously enough when Ko<\n blew up. Yep, Ko<\n gets big = AIDS gets big. Proven science kids.


  26. Commented by: shane

    LOL! Both Shaden and Blackwater make me laugh. Idiotic comments constantly.


  27. Commented by: Stahl

    The most wasted 42:21 of my life. The ONLY thing I could commend is the heavy-ass recording/production. For what it is, it may be good to some. But at that point, why not just change the name of the band ?


  28. Commented by: raphaël

    I got every Haunted records and though I really thought I’d hate Unseen (after hearing the title track for the first time) I’m just liking it more after each spin. Dolving’s performance is unbelievable, like his voice could pretty much cover any type of singing. Per’s drumming has never so subtle and naturally flowing with the music and the overall production is greasy and warm though you can hear there’s quite a bit of processing going on. The songs have all a particular mood and colour and the more mid-paced and melodic direction doesn’t bother me at all. Those guys had the balls to put out exactly the record they wanted certainly knowing the regular metalhead would hate it. At the end of the day, I dont mind if Unseen is “metal”, “pop”, “alt rock” or whatever some people want to label this record. I can still hear the core of what I love in that band in the new songs, and find the overall result far more interesting and daring than the average “Versus”.


  29. Commented by: Bonehenge

    15 when load came out?!? So you were about 5 when Master of Puppets came out then. Wow, your opinion on this type of music means shit.


  30. Commented by: King Missle

    This is almost as bad as the new In Flames, which means its horrible.


  31. Commented by: faust

    That’s a logically fallacious argument Bonehead.


  32. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    I love how faust thinks he’s an authority on philosophy after taking probably one or two undergraduate courses on the subject. What a fucking tool. STFU already you woman beating degenerate, no one gives a shit about your smarmy self-importance.


Leave a Reply

Due to the nature of the human race, all first posts are to be moderated. Don't whine about the delay. This is not a democracy.

  • River of Souls - The Well of Urd
  • Bloodlust - At the Devil's Left Hand
  • Lifeless - The Occult Mastery
  • Phrenelith - Desolate Endscape
  • Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper
  • Sinmara - Within the Weaves of Infinity EP
  • Longhouse - II:Vanishing
  • Archspire - Relentless Mutation
  • Eruption - Cloaks of Oblivion
  • The Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers
  • Witch Vomit - Poisoned Blood EP
  • Lo-Ruhamah - Anointing
  • Satan's Dealer - Dealer Of The Gods
  • Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry
  • Septicflesh - The Codex Omega