Released: 2006, Century Media
It seems like The Haunted is a band that people either love or hate. With their new album, THE DEAD EYE, dividing lines will be carved deeper than ever, as this is the bands biggest departure from all out raging speedy thrash.
Those that listened closely to their previous album rEVOLVEr will not be surprised with some of the material on THE DEAD EYE. Hints of what some of this album might be like are found on rEVOLVEr with tracks like “Abysmal”, “Burnt to a Shell”, and “My Shadow”. The injection of more melody into the madness is evident in the music, but mostly in the improved vocals of Peter Dolving. Two songs on THE DEAD EYE that best showcase Peter’s singing voice would be “The Fallout” and “The Medusa”. As a fan of melodic metal, including more melody in the music was a great idea. But if you prefer the more screaming type of vocals, there is still plenty of it. The album’s first full song, “The Flood” is an awesome mid-paced thrasher with the screamed vocals. “The Medication” - one of the album’s heavier and speedy tracks, follows this. “The Prosecution” also has some intensity mixed with a more melodic chorus. Check out “The Shifter” and “The Stain” for some of the steady tap-tap-tap drumming and thrashy riffing. It’s not there for the full song, but it is cool that they keep this ingredient in their music and probably always will. On the song “The Drowning” there is a very cool riffing part that first comes in at 1:18 into the song that sounds like a heavied up version of Kyuss or sHEAVY. This is different for The Haunted, and is a direction that I wouldn’t mind hearing them experiment with a little more. This one also features Peter doing more singing later into the song that works well with the riffing. Fans of later Soilwork will probably be into parts of this album. I was reminded of them on the track “The Reflection” and on a few other places on the album. If there’s one song on the album that stands out as the most different, it’s “The Fallout”. It has mostly clean vocals, and the drums sound like they are sampled for part of it. Despite this, it’s a good song and fits in well with the album. Despite this, I am glad it’s the only song on here like it.
I must also comment on the actual sound of the album. Right away on first listen, after just hearing a couple of other newer releases before popping this on, I was struck with how good and “real” the whole sound of the album is. It’s not overly processed or modern and plastic sounding. This was first evident on the drum sound and it sets the band apart from many of their peers.
The one thing that I don’t like about the album is the quantity of solos. Most times the leads are no more than lead melody lines. They definitely need to have a lot more ripping solos! I know some view that as being over indulgent and showing off, but not me. Having ripping solos in this kind of band is as important as having intense vocals. “The Medusa”, one of my favorites on here, has great singing and a melodic solo that works well. It’s too bad there were not more solos like that and some crazy ripping ones for the more intense songs.
If you are looking for non-stop neck breaking thrash with screaming vocals, this is not the band. On THE DEAD EYE, the mixture of melody and aggression works well. Although this experiment has been getting mixed reviews from many, to me it’s a success. I look forward to The Haunted continuing in this style with clean vocals and melody mixed with thrash riffing. The only thing that they really need to add is a lot more lead guitars!