Blast from the Past: The Haunted – The Dead Eye

The Haunted were once a well respected Metal act, but that all began to change with the return of original vocalist, Peter Dolving, in 2004. That isn’t to say Dolving is a worse, or even bad vocalist, because he isn’t. The fact is though, some of his online rantings have proven to rub some Metal fans (particularly Blabbermouth users) the wrong way. In addition to this, his return to the band also came at the same time when the band decided to explore other territories, that haven’t gone down well with everyone. Whilst 2004’s rEVOLOVEr was met with almost universal critical acclaim, not everyone was a fan, and when The Dead Eye was released in 2006, there was even less fans, including the critics.

Fast forward 5 years, and The Haunted have just released, arguably, their worst album yet (if you choose to believe the internet). 2008’s Versus didn’t have many fans either, and most people point to The Dead Eye as the point in which everything started to go wrong. So with that in mind, it’s about time I had a hard look at this album myself and offered my own opinion on this controversial album. Make the jump for the review.

1. The Premonition – 0:58
2. The Flood – 4:07
3. The Medication – 3:10
4. The Drowning – 4:13
5. The Reflection – 3:48
6. The Prosecution – 3:49
7. The Fallout – 4:22
8. The Medusa – 4:03
9. The Shifter – 2:55
10. The Cynic – 3:48
11. The Failure – 5:10
12. The Stain – 4:14
13. The Guilt Trip – 10:19

So, first thing’s first, you’ll notice that every single song is titled ‘The [insert name]’, which is just unbelievably deep and profound. No, I’m just kidding, it’s obviously incredibly pretentious, but song titles never did anyone any harm. Or have they? No, seriously, they haven’t. So on to the music. The Dead Eye begins with a typical building up, instrumental, introduction, before breaking into the first real track, ‘The Flood’.

This album marks the first time that The Haunted really try to break out of their contemporary Thrash roots, and explore more groove inspired and melodic territories. This is evident straight away on the first song ‘The Flood’, which is of a slower tempo that some of the old school fans may be used to, and and in addition features a catchy sing (or more like scream) along chorus. The song later shifts into a clean melodic passage, with Dolving’s soft singing brought to the forefront. This breakdown builds up until it explodes into another chorus, in which musically, and vocally, the band shift things up a gear. It’s a great start to the album.

The Dead Eye isn’t all soft, slow and melodic music though. First track ‘The Flood’ works well as a combination of both the heavy and soft, but tracks like ‘The Medication’ are perfect Thrash tracks that should appeal to fans with a slightly heavier appetite. There are plenty of these heavy moments too. I’d argue that The Dead Eye is the perfect blend of The Haunted‘s heavy side and their more ‘Poppy side’, and it certainly seems to display something for everyone.

When The Haunted aren’t heavy, they’re busy busting out catchy grooves in tracks like ‘The Drowning’, going Doom-esque and slowing down the tempo on ‘The Guilt Trip’, and experimenting with Industrial bass and drum sounds on ‘The Fallout’. The fact remains throughout though, that no matter what The Haunted do on The Dead Eye, and how far they take the experimenting, they still sound very much like The Haunted.

Whilst not all the tracks are brilliant (there are a few filler tracks), the diversity of the album really helps it stand out for me. There’s a prominent dark and eerie vibe throughout the album, that helps give it real character and atmosphere, and brings with it much cohesion. Dolving’s vocals also prove to be some of his finest work yet, with him shifting from hardcore screams to beautiful sung melodies with ease. His vocal range is incredible throughout the album. Overall, whilst The Dead Eye certainly lacks some of the punch, and intensity, of 2004′ rEVOLVEr, it’s still an incredibly strong album and offers something a little more melodic. It may not be the band’s finest work, but it’s a damn good album regardless, and I applaud the band for trying something different.

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