The Unseen – Internal Salvation
Record Label: Hellcat Records
Release Date: July 16, 2007
There are a number of labels out there that, simply by virtue of their reputation, one already knows what they’re going to get before they ever pick up one of their albums. Victory, for example, will always provide scene-approved screamo and hardcore. Trustkill throws down modern metalcore. Matador’s stock and trade: indie pop and rock. So even before I opened Internal Salvation, the latest disc by The Unseen, a band on Epitaph imprint Hellcat Records, I expected to be treated to a cacophonic blast of loud, fast guitars, gang vocals and a general air of snottiness that only comes from a label headed up by punk rock legend Tim Armstrong. And on all counts, The Unseen deliver.
After cruising through an opener that overlays socially conscious messages to melodic sound, the album blasts immediately out of the gate. “Such Tragedy” embodies everything one comes to expect from modern day punk: speedy guitars, hooky melodies, snarling vocals (that bear an uncanny resemblance to AFI front man Davey Havok’s), and smatterings of rebellion, all coupled with some of the most intense energy captured in a recording. It also sets the tone for the rest of the album. There is nary a wasted chord or squandered gang scream (and the “whoa-oh”s and “OiOiOi”s are all pleasantly intact) anywhere on this record. All in all, “Internal Salvation” is some of the most solid thirty minutes of modern punk you will hear all year.
That being said, the album is not flawless. As anyone might guess, most of the songs sound exactly the same. In fact, for a good four tracks in the middle of the album, the songs melt into what could be confused for a giant, eight minute blast of chords and screams. Another analogy, playing on my earlier comparison to Davey Havok, is that most of the songs sound eerily similar to the AFI’s “Kill Caustic.” While this is not necessarily a bad thing (mostly due to the fact that The Unseen are all talented and tight musicians, and “Kill Caustic“ isn’t that bad a song), it also tends to get confusing, especially if the listener is not wearing headphones or devoting their undivided attention to the music. Another flaw comes in the album’s length itself: it’s over too quickly. Perhaps this is a side effect of the short, fast nature of the songs, but by the time one has fully begun to enjoy themselves, the album is over.
This, however, does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the record. Internal Salvation is what it is: a good, solid and extremely enjoyable record. While the music might be better suited for a live show than a car stereo or iPod, feel free to bop around while listening- you won’t be the only one.