Aside from the ridiculously bad ass cover art, 'Across the Open Sea' is just an utterly boring album. It's certainly not a major departure from the band's previous two records, but you you can easily tell that Johnny H & Co. were running severely dry on ideas. There is one decent song in the form of album closer 'The General'. Had the band written more songs like this one, ATOS could have been a contender. Unfortunately, the band just sounds outright fatigued and at a loss. Whereas 'Where No Life Dwells' had that sort of 'crashing through the gates' approach and 'Shadows in the Deep' was a more "tempered" and focused beast, 'Across the Open Sea' is just plain tired and uninspired. With this album, Unleashed had obviously been stricken with the same illness that ravaged the likes of Deicide. Come out strong and blow your creative load with two raging albums and then plod along for the remainder of your career with an empty gas tank. To their credit, Unleashed would come back with a vengeance during the middle of the first decade of the new millennium (and hell, if the truth be told, I actually rather like the quirky duo of 'Victory' and 'Warrior'), but it would be a long trek of mediocre output for the band until then (though, if the truth be told, I actually rather like the quirky duo of 'Victory' and 'Warrior').
Again, ATOS isn't an attempt to "sellout" by any means, but it certainly isn't the most "lively" sounding album the band has "unleashed" either.