The Haunted The Dead Eye

Not known for having a penchant for experimentation, Swedish thrashers the Haunted are going to turn a few heads with their fifth album, The Dead Eye. It’s already experiencing a bit of critical trouble, but I say more power to them. We’ve already heard enough straight-up thrash albums from these guys to the point where they’re starting to blend together — we didn’t need another. We did need something with a bit of variety to it and The Dead Eye has delivered just that, but perhaps with a bit too much. The first song proper, "The Flood,” starts out thrashin’ enough, then turns into a semi-workable Black Label Society-meets-Pantera dirge. "The Medication” rips it up old school Haunted style, but "The Drowning” mixes near-grunge (shudder) with thrash, with varied results. At the halfway point, on "The Fallout,” things get too bogged down with mid-tempo nothing and balladic respites (and a sudden St. Anger drum sound). By the time "The Failure” comes on, it’s hard to tell just where the hell the band are coming from — modern rock? Load-era Metallica? And there’s some kind of concept happening here too, but I can only tell because all the song titles start with "The” and the disc runs a bit too long (so it must be a concept disc). It’s a hit and miss album, but admirable in its attempt to branch out. (Century Media)