THE HAUNTED - The Dead Eye
September 12, 2006, 14 years ago
Oh man, this new Haunted record is going to piss a lot of people off. Let’s not beat around the bush: The Dead Eye is one of those dreaded “departure” albums, an effort that embodies a weird experimentalism that I don’t think anyone expected of Dolving, Jensen and co. In fact, most of us were probably under the impression that The Haunted wasn’t capable of even fathoming anything other than uptempo thrash. Ergo, maybe a little eclectic flavour is precisely what the band wanted – I mean, you can’t write straight-up thrash forever without stagnating or getting bored, right? Then again, when Dolving re-entered the fold several years ago, everyone salivated at the prospect of the group’s original singer coming back to a Haunted that was at the top of its game - do those glory days ever seem like a long, long time ago now. The Dead Eye, for all its meandering lacklustre, is the product of a collective that is utterly and completely lost, struggling for direction at any and all junctures (a phenomenon that ironically began with Dolving’s return on 2004’s rEVOLVEr). Sometimes The Dead Eye sounds like Alice in Chains (?!) and other times the record comes off like Linkin Park (?!!) and yet at other moments strange divergences such as Queensryche or Helmet are evoked. If all of this had come together to create something smart, challenging and gritty (though the inclusion of Linkin Park moments makes none of those a possibility), then you’d have to move along with The Haunted’s evolution and praise the band for having the foresight to put together a unique and evoking piece of art. Instead, even the thrash on The Dead Eye sounds uninspired and second rate and, at the end of the day, so much of this record is total b-side filler. To the album’s credit however, there are two absolute gems found on The Dead Eye and those songs are what keep the grade from being, like, a 2.5. ‘The Medication’ is an awesome thrash foray that we justly expect from The Haunted, while ‘The Failure’ is this rocked-out, melancholic, bleeding and genuine ode that recalls - believe or not - fellow Swedes Katatonia. If all of The Dead Eye had followed ‘The Failure’’s excellent lead, we might have called The Haunted forward-thinking visionaries who shed the linear thinking of its previous thrash incarnation. Instead, The Dead Eye will go down as one of the year’s biggest disappointments, making you wonder just where this band can go next.