Released: 2002, Nuclear Blast
I’ve had this CD for almost a month now and I’m still not sure that it has sunk in enough. This is NOT a copy of the bands previous albums, nor is it a departure from what they’ve done. On another note, oddly timed just days before the release of this album, vocalist Rick Mythiasin announced he was leaving the band! The search for a new vocalist is underway. Internal band politics aside, let’s look at their latest offering.
UNSEEN opens in fine style with the track “Truth.” This sounds very much like what you expect from this no nonsense US power metal band. At the 2 min mark of “Truth” there is a bizarre keyboard section. Not long lasting, but it is a hint of some of the weird experimental (psychedelic?) sounds to come in a few places on the rest of the album. These don’t dominate at all, but on first listen to the album as a whole they will stick in your mind. After repeated listens I viewed them more as icing on the cake, a cake whose recipe has not drastically changed from their previous releases. Again at close to the 2 min mark in “Rainwalker” there are some very freaky effects on synth. Mid-paced “One Way Out” has a vocal melody that I really liked. It is melodic yet aggressive with a bit of a “creepy” melody line. The melody becomes even more eerie near the end making this one of the stand out, if not best, tracks on the album. The tempo and heaviness is picked up on the track “Shattered Apart” which has its moments but is not quite as memorable as it could have been. The semi-ballad “Among The Damned” is decent, but doesn’t sound a whole lot like what you’ve come to expect from Steel Prophet. “Bolero” is a short atmospheric track penned by guitarist Steve Kachinsky featuring only guitar and mood setting keys. “Mirror, Mirror, Life After Life” has a stand out guitar solo section. This is one of the more upbeat and better offerings on the album. This is followed by the very un-metal sounding “Magenta.” Perhaps this is what the band’s new bio means by saying “dreamy sounding 70’s melodies.” I would prefer to call it “sleepy sounding” – some fans might like it, but it’s not what I look for in my metal or from STEEL Prophet. Thankfully this track is followed by the aggression of the anti-racist themed “Blackest of Hearts.” Rick sounds pretty pissed and venomous on this one. Again, the solo here is played really well. From here on the album fizzles out with three remaining sleepy songs – “Martyred”, “Killer’s Confession” and “Magenta (Reprise).”
Although I like this album, it unfortunately lacks some of the aggression of previous releases and as a whole is not quite as strong. I still like UNSEEN (and the band) quite a lot, but I think this album could have been stronger and something that would of gained them more fans bringing them to a higher level. With the current absence of a vocalist, I have my fingers crossed that they can find a replacement that will be able to fill the big shoes lest by vocalist Rick Mythiasin and return to rip our heads off.