It is not surprising that Prosthetic Records snatched up UNHOLY based on the strength of its debut album, "Blood of the Medusa". After all, the band's modern metallic hardcore style fits snugly on the label's roster, right down to the impossibly tight, down-tuned production (i.e. no breathing room allowed). The problem is that the thrash flourishes that gave "Blood of the Medusa" an extra dose of aggression, at times reminding of THE HAUNTED, have almost vanished from "New Life Behind Closed Eyes" and the songwriting isn't as robust, making it a decent effort, but hardly an inspired one.
There are enough positives here to overtake the negatives in the battle to rise above mediocre, namely the overall intensity of new vocalist Billy Price and the fist-to-face delivery of the music. Price brings it hard with a delivery that falls somewhere between Robb Flynn (MACHINE HEAD) and Isaac Golub (A18), although it is usually closer to the vein-popping barks for which the latter is known. This time the story told by Price (and written by guitarist Jonathan Dennison) "revolves around an end-time narrative of the final days of humanity delivered by its own hand." Hence, the seething hatred spat out of Price's mouth. The songwriting doesn't always hold up as well.
More metalcore than the thrashy/metallic hardcore of its predecessor, "New Life Behind Closed Eyes" is more often than not worthy of wrecked necks and bloody knuckles. "Seeker Immortal" does sport a thrashy riff and ends up being one of the highlights, along with a bruiser called "The Followers". Those two, along with "These Wounds Never Heal" (good melody) and "In the Flesh of Another" (perhaps the smartest arrangement, varied and hard hitting), are the album's high points.
It is the remainder of the album where the band seems to have lost something along the way. Songs such as "Behind the Veil of Darkness", "Look to the Blood", and the title track are just OK; nothing offensive to the ears, yet nothing with a lasting impact either. So in the end that lands the rating at about a 6, but not by much.