The Unseen: street punk for the masses. You could probably write this band's back history wihtout even knowing them. Hundreds of EPs, 7"s, and rare no-longer-in-production releases. Been around since the early 90's, all members have mohawks and/or dyed red hair, and their sound is influenced by bands like The Exploited. Lead single "False Hope" contains the line "Fuck the government".
Alright, there's my negative part of the review over. I like this record, a lot. This band are one I've been slowly becoming acquainted with, and hearing this record was an interesting experience for me.
Vocal duties are split up between Tripp (who sings on most songs) and Paul, possessor of a voice that sounds like a hybrid of Eric Melvin of NOFX (known for the 'Mell-Yell', his screams during songs..) and Johnny Whitney of the Blood Brothers.
While the band rarely deviate from the hardcore drumming, heavy guitars that play just slightly too predictable chord progressions, and occasional lead lines formula, it's hard to find fault with their style. If you didn't like street punk with whole band shout along verses ("Your Failure is My Revenge" reminds me of AFI's "Sacrifice Theory" with it's constant shouts of "GO!") you shouldn't be listening to The Unseen anyway.
Standout songs include "Tsunami Suicide". This track starts with vocals that have had the reliable "high pass filter" (for the uninitiated, this is something you can't really describe with words..) put on it, leading to a chorus of "and i.. i wanna destroy myself" which sounds genuinely angry, passionate, and fucking pissed off. I predict this being a crowd favourite at an Unseen show, especially with it's ending chant of "SUICIDE".
"Negative Outlook" is more of the same. You could probably survive an Unseen show by simply learning the names of all the songs, and just chanting them in the relevant places. While the Unseen's similarity doesn't do anything for them, neither does it pull them down. It strangely seems to fit, making their songs sound "right".
While I could describe more of their songs, I'd only be repeating myself for the most part (except "Victims" which has a Bad Religion-esque intro). If you're reading this review, you're either a fan of the band and will know exactly what I mean, or you will be someone who hates any band that wears a mohawk, and are only reading this to further your dislike of this band.
Clocking in at 19 minutes and 40 seconds, this record is, in oi/street punk tradition, short as fuck.
Each song is a short, sharp burst of surging palm muted guitars, pushed-to-breaking-point drumming, and harsh, hurried vocals that suggest the singer recorded them at the most angry and aggressive stage in his life. Notice I didn't mention the bass? Yeah, it isn't very prominent in this record. All it really does is echo the guitar parts, with no attempts at melodies or any bass intros or breaks in the songs. Over the 20 minutes spent listening to this record, each of the 12 songs walks up to you, spits furiously at your feet, daring you to respond, then as quickly as it came, is gone, and the next one is already kicking at your shins.
My only critiscism of this record is it's lack of any prominent bass (which could help The Unseen escape their song similarity blues), and a deviation from the similiar song structure. Although, the record barely sticks around long enough for you to get bored of the style.
7.0 / 10
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