I badmouth far too many of the labels that bend over backwards for this shitty little website. There's a rather tired cliché about biting the hand that feeds and I guess so far I've been lucky that Hellcat haven't demanded that I be cut loose for my constant snide comments about their predilection for style-over-substance pop-punk bands costumed in mohawks, piercings and the smug conceit that they're the last true bastion of punk in a world over-run by effeminate mewling tripe.
The Unseen make all the right faces, have all the right tattoos and move in all the right circles with their album produced by Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys, a move the single-handedly crushes the rumour that Lars 'about as politically correct as blackface' Frederiksen is the only person in Hellcat allowed anyway near a studio, and help with the mixing comes from punk's undisputed patriarch Brett Gurewitz, lord of Epitaph and half of the creative powerhouse that is Bad Religion. All of this is pretty much the standard for Hellcat releases - especially the numerous cameos, the average digipack from the label is like a musical 'Where's Wally?' of snarling musical icons.
The Unseen however kick some serious arse, have done so for a good five albums and it's a genuine pleasure to see them given the kind of well-produced studio release they've deserved for a good long time, rising from the fertile Boston scene under the collective wings of bands like AFI, Sick Of It All and of course their friendly neighbourhood faux-Celts the Dropkick Murphys they've proved themselves one seriously dynamic band; a whirling, snarling, foaming dervish of passion and balls.
And that kind of shit's respected by everyone; punks, hardcore kids, skins, whatever - passion is the one common tongue that all of the musical tribes that both directly and indirectly punk spat into the world and The Unseen have it pounding in their veins. 'Scream Out' is a fiendishly replayable anthem, anyone who refuses to be moved by lyrics like "Well all my life this music saved me/I can't afford no therapy/My frustration it needs release/So cut me open and hear me bleed/Playing punk it keeps me sane/I don't need drugs to numb the pain" is obviously listening to shit like this because they think the chicks with the lip-rings and Converse are really really hot.
'State Of Discontent' is a pretty much non-stop fourteen track monster of hardcore infused punk-rock; the melodies of Good Riddance, the metallic technicality of early Strung Out and the back-up woah-waohs of AFI - these four firebrands from Boston even go as far as to record an infectious cover of 'Paint It Black' by pensioner rock outfit The Rolling Stones.
Don't be offended because I felt the need to point out who originally recorded 'Paint It Black' but I spent a rather surreal train journey back from a metal gig with some drunken 30-something harpies screeching incredulously because the Slipknot-spawn across from me didn't know who Frank Zappa was...
'State Of Discontent' sounds the way every Hellcat release should; the perfect uncompromising mixture of punk-rock fury with head-bangingly catchy pop-hooks and a good lashing of social commentary, angst and raw uncut emotion. Fuck off Saves The Day you weepy little shirt-lifters, these boys are taking back feelings for the grown-ups.
Written by James
Friday, 06 May 2005