The Haunted - _Unseen_
(Century Media, 2011)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (
Consistency is quite a daunting task to achieve if you're a band. It can be very tricky because putting out a great record can be hard and putting out another great is even harder, and then comes that third one which can seem like climbing Mount Sinai on an August morning to many bands. These early numerals are in fact well behind a band like The Haunted. For those who've only skimmed the surface of the extreme metal world, The Haunted formed after the breakup of the legendary Swedish group At the Gates. The first two The Haunted albums, despite having different vocalists, had many hints as to why the Björler brothers were taking this project seriously and not just as something on the side.As the years went by, The Haunted got better as a group and Peter Dolving's rabid screams became a trademark in their sound, which found its stride with 2004's _rEVOLVEr_ and 2006's _The Dead Eye_. The questions and arguments started finding their way to the surface when 2008's _Versus_ was released and I, being an avid fan of the two previous records, didn't really think of _Versus_ as a step back for The Haunted -- but it did make me a bit skeptic about the future. Now with three years after the relatively mediocre _Versus_, you'd expect that The Haunted have had time to produce a record with more composure and homogeneity. 2011's effort carries the name _Unseen_, and it is in fact homogenous; but its composure is up for argumentation._Unseen_ is, unfortunately, the exact opposite of what I was expecting from this esteemed Swedish conglomerate. I find it falls a lot closer to _Versus_ than any other record they've put out in the past, and that is definitely not a good sign for the future. Mr. Dolving's snarls are inexistent this time, Per Möller Jensen isn't pummeling the drums fast enough, and the guitars sound altogether weak and frail; all that means that _Unseen_ is quite an edge-less album without a single exciting moment to wipe out the utterly disappointing memory of actually listening to it.Yet in the interest of being as honest a reviewer as possible, this album does show that The Haunted are actually capable of sounding different than usual but as things stand today, you wouldn't miss much if _Unseen_ remains unseen. Maybe, just maybe, this is a transitional album that would lead to a slower, less aggressive, more expansive and intelligent sound in the future, but until the Björler brothers and their former Rottweiler of a vocalist find a way to do that, I wouldn't be surprised if people walk out while tracks from this record are being played live.
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