“No false pride, no fashion, no fake set of values” is a bold statement as well as the artistic slogan you stumble across each time you visit THE HAUNTED’s website and indeed, this band has always been an uncompromising, innovative and daring group of artists crafting their albums with a strong vision and maximum of conviction and creativity. Now, this development has reached a new climax in “Unseen”, the band’s seventh studio album, which is easily the most outstanding amalgamation of THE HAUNTED’s matchless musical diversity and vocalist Peter Dolving’s outspoken, often highly cynical lyrical venom. And…it has become the band’s catchiest, most musical and probably also most remarkable album as well!
Formed in 1996, THE HAUNTED arose from the ashes of the seminal Gothenburg-style act At The Gates and immediately spearheaded the second coming of the Thrash Metal genre, serving as role models and massive influence to a movement’s new wave, showcasing a more resolute and up-to-date approach than the initial 80’s generation. Having toured non-stop all over the globe with bands as diverse as Mastodon, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, Bring Me The Horizon, All That Remains, Trivium, Danzig, Meshuggah, Municipal Waste or Lacuna Coil throughout these last years, the Swedish quintet has by now released six acclaimed studio albums consistently pegged since the 2004 release of the “rEVOLVEr” record as two steps ahead and one sideways of their thrash-inspired brethren. “Unseen” makes this point of fact, recalling the experimental nature of “The Dead Eye” (2006) without diminishing any of the band’s characteristic viciousness and aggression.
That said, THE HAUNTED chose not to take the predictable way out by creating a straight continuation of the notably heavy and abrasive “Versus” (2008) or a Slayer-inspired follow-up, which was expected by some given their 2010 European support tour with Kerry King and Co. No, once again THE HAUNTED kept true to themselves and their tradition of favoring vision over perception and delightfully exploited their vast artistic arsenal to come up with the most inspired and refreshing record they have ever done. Especially Peter Dolving’s vocals anno 2011 embody a freedom and flexibility unheard before on previous releases, something clearly done with intent: “This last year I've focused more than ever on just how a song is more than just music and words, how really the wellcrafted gives something more to me as a listener. Both me and Anders have felt strongly about really taking our time with building subtle layers of harmonies. Textures to give the listener a real audio soundscape within the song. I'm understanding just how cool an instrument the human voice is.”
Once again recorded with longterm producer and partner in artistic crime, Tue Madsen, at his Antfarm Studio in Denmark (Sick Of It All, Heaven Shall Burn, Dark Tranquillity), “Unseen” contains a vast amount of musical depth and while possibly a challenge for the unaware, the presented personality of this faultless material will ultimately lead to listening-submission. Madsen comments as follows: “The goal right from the beginning was to make an album that would stand out from the pack. We did NOT want to go for being the loudest record on earth, the most in your face-tearing-shit-up sounding feast. We wanted to make an album you can listen to the whole way through and still be hungry for more, so you have to play it again...and again...and again! I really do think we accomplished that!”
The trademark opening salvo ‘Never Better’, the Southern Rock fuelled ‘No Ghost’, the catchy melodic triplet of ‘Disappear’, the title-track and ‘Motionless’ or a groovy beast like ‘The City’ are addictive pieces of an airtight musical puzzle, rich in contrast and highly entertaining in its level of originality. Supported by the most variable guitar playing THE HAUNTED ever put on disc – from Thrash riffing over rocking chords to moody acoustic playing – “Unseen” offers a lot of terrain to discover and acres of emotions to feel within captivating tunes that may not remain unheard. So, come on in, behold the “Unseen”!