The Haunted! Decapitated! ONE TWO THREE FOUR GO!
Long-time fans of the Arsies will remember the rabid praise heaped upon The Haunted's 2006 album “The Dead Eye”, a stunning blend of metalcore and Refused-style postpunk. One album, compilation, live album, comic book, and breakfast cereal later, The Haunted stages a comeback with “Unseen”. The focus on this album is more ballsy swagger than thrash, at times sounding like a cross between Thrice and Nothingface. This is clearly a band experimenting and reinventing their sound, as they've done for the past few albums, and what this album lacks in typical metal riffs it makes up for in the attitude.
You know what isn't lacking in riffs or attitude? Decapitated's “Carnival Is Forever”. The album bolts right out of the gate, careening its way through the first two tracks fueled by an aggression borne of both technical death metal and speedy thrash. The third (title) track is a bit of a changeup and derails the pace of the album, but it immediately recovers with “Homo Sum” and “404”. The fleshrending guitar tone, the brutal clarity of the drums (best drum sound of the year, at the service of a man that would do Joey Jordison proud), the gutteral clarity of the vocals... it all comes together with a convincingly urgent abandon I haven't heard since Machine Head's debut album. Decapitated handily trounces The Haunted, and moves on into the next round. Nice.
Tomorrow, it's either Leprous or In Flames. But it won't smell too good, that's for sure.