I’ve done some wrestling with this bastard. When I normally listen to any of The Haunted’s albums, I come complete with a huge grin on my face and my trusty air guitar in hand. Not so with ‘Unseen'; my face resembles that of someone who has received terrible news and placed under suicide watch, just in case. I listened to the album several times, peeking under riffs, poking around behind drum beats, calling ‘Haunted! Haunted! Come out wherever you are!’ Alas, the crafty sods were nowhere to be seen. More importantly, they were nowhere to be heard.
Ok, I’m exaggerating, but only slightly. You can tell this is a Haunted album due to the distinctive guitar tone and vocal delivery of Dolving. Unfortunately, it sounds like The Haunted having a stab at other peoples songs. Once leaders of their genre, they appear to be pandering to all trends from the past 10 years, resulting in an incoherent mess.
The album starts out on a reasonably positive note with the ironically titled ‘Never Better’ which sounds like a B side at best before things take a turn for the worse. The Haunted literally go south with ‘No Ghost’. I had to check iTunes wasn’t on random and playing Clutch. I was going to do a track by track post mortem on this effort but being completely honest, it drains me of energy every time I listen to it, so we’ll just touch on the odd moment. ‘Disappear’ is OK. ‘All Ends Well’ is quite possibly the worst song I’ve heard all year. The chorus is catchy, the verse is awful and then at roughly the 3 minute mark the song goes into territory that I can only describe as ‘fucking awful’. Even now, I’m scratching my head wondering what on earth was going on in the band meeting when they wrote this. It sounds like some horrid compilation album from the world’s shittest nu-metal bands.
Now I’ve looked at the various arguments people are banding around regarding this album. I’m probably regarded as conservative in my views and narrow minded at not ‘digging’ this new ‘vibe’ that The Haunted are ploughing. Not at all. I’m all for experimenting, I’m all for a band moving forward and developing their sound. This album quite simply is just not good. Their school report would read: ‘The Haunted can do better’. In a live arena, The Haunted are a formidable force and any track from the back catalogue can kick start a mosh pit. I’m in serious doubt if anything on offer here will result in anything other than a trip to be bar.
I hated this album from the first spin and whilst this has now mellowed to a strong dislike following some intensive tolerance therapy, this will always be my ‘Phantom Menace’ in The Haunted saga.