The Haunted - _The Dead Eye_
(Century Media, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (7.5 out of 10)
If you're at all surprised by the distinctly more melodic direction that The Haunted have taken with album number five, don’t be. This was on the cards as far back as _The Haunted Made Me Do It_, where the band followed up their Slayer-riffic debut with a more tuneful collection that drew its fair share of critical ire, most likely for the manner in which it left fans of the first record so blindsided. Recoiling from this approach briefly, the return of Peter Dolving allowed the Swedes to reboot with _rEVOLVEr_, and for all that record's experimentalism and zest, hindsight will now undoubtedly label it as the one that set the stage for _The Dead Eye_ -- yet ironically _The Dead Eye_ fails to be a match for its predecessor.

Where _rEVOLVEr_ saw the band take several bold steps in directions they hadn't previously traversed, this time round they're almost playing it safe -- at least by commercial standards. Opener "The Flood" and the successive "The Medication" are easily among the band's most catchy and (let's not mince words here) yielding numbers to date; no bad thing necessarily, but a far cry from the proverbial battle-sirens of "99" or "Hate Song". With "The Prosecution", the billowing verse/chorus approach hints at leftover sessions from _Slaughter of the Soul_ or even _Terminal Spirit Disease_. Even Peter Dolving, a metallic revelation on _rEVOLVEr_, doesn't deliver his intensely personal discourse with the same tenet, and when he and the rest of his bandmates go all Deftones on our assembled behinds during "The Fallout" -- well, you do the math.

Despite what these observations might imply, _The Dead Eye_ remains a cut above simply being average. Heck, the brothers Björler would have had to have been perpetually drunk to have delivered mediocre. It's just a shame that what they do offer this time round is so damn ordinary (relatively speaking) because that's undoubtedly the last thing anyone would want to see The Haunted turn into.


(article published 5/10/2006)

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