The Unseen - State Of Discontent (Cover Artwork)

The Unseen

State Of Discontent (2005)


Every once in a while, a punk album is released with so much energy, intensity and passion that it reminds the listener why he or she was drawn to punk in the first place. The music can serve to re-ignite a spark in the listener that brings back old feelings of anger, rebellion and community and make them feel new again. State Of Discontent is that kind of album.

The Unseen have slowly garnered popularity in the punk scene over the past decade, releasing a slew of great hardcore punk albums. SOD, their first for Hellcat Records, takes the best of those releases and refines the sound to create a masterpiece of bristling street punk. From the moment the soft opening vocals of "On The Other Side" fade away and the music bursts forward into a galloping punk beat, you can tell that this will be one hell of an album.

And it is. Over the next 13 tracks, State Of Discontent defines the word "relentless" by never letting the intensity drop for a second. This album, more than any I've heard in recent memory, embodies the energy and excitement of a live punk show. By the time the record is over, you feel exhausted, but energized at the same time. The Unseen capture the spirit of hardcore / street punk without crossing the line into the genre's clichés.

For a genre that usually sounds all the same, State Of Discontent offers a surprising amount of musical and lyrical diversity. Bush-era politics get a thorough bashing on "Weapons Of Mass Deception" and the excellent "Force-Fed," while "On The Other Side" deals with teen suicide. "Scream Out" and "We Are All That We Have" are touching tributes to the power of music to change lives. And of course, a hardcore punk album wouldn't be complete without a good old-fashioned "fuck you" anthem, and the Unseen deliver in great form with "Waste Of Time," which is enough to get the blood boiling with one listen.

They save the best for (next to) last however, with "Final Execution," which is not only the Unseen's best song to date, but one of the finest punk songs to come along in years, in this reviewer's opinion. With an awesome opening riff, unbelievably catchy chorus and build-up to a fist-pumping finale, "Final Execution" perfectly embodies everything a great punk song should be. It's followed by a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black." If that seems like an odd choice, it isn't. The song is a jaded and bitter observation of life and the world, which fits in perfect with the tone of this album.

This review has gone on way too fucking long at this point, so I'll cap it off by saying this: The Unseen have always been an amazing band, but with State Of Discontent, they establish themselves firmly as one of the best bands in punk today. They have crafted a hardcore masterpiece that can easily hold its own next to classics like Minor Threat, Black Flag or the Germs. If punk is dead, this may be the album to revive it.