I am a huge fan of The Haunted; I have been since I first heard them. They are everything you could want in a modern metal band. The Swedish lads have carried the torch of the “Gothenburg style” of death metal for years now, not to mention the seminal “Made Me Do It” is still one of the best metal albums that you can find in your local store/online. Get it now!
However, their new record “Exit Wounds” has the same problems that a lot of great bands have nowadays: they are too constant and with the result that the latter releases fail to be a “gamechanger”. “Exit Wounds” is great! But it is not a game changer of an album that some may have expected. This happened with Amon Amarth’s last album too for a lot of people.
The opener “317” does little for me, but it sets the tone of the band and at less than two minutes, it’s not so bad. I like the heavy breakdown but it was not needed. On the otherhand, “Cutting Teeth”, would have been a much better opener and it truly lets rip on the listener. There is no holding back and it is old style The Haunted at their very best and it’s their main single from this album.
Things slow briefly with the atmospheric opening to “My Salvation” that quickly gives way to a metallic assault on the senses. Neat Gothenburg-style melodic guitar lines, growling audible bass and pumping drums. This is the closest thing to an “At The Gates” throwback song you’ll get in 2014.
Well, not including the short “Temptation” or “Kill The Light”. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with The Haunted sounding like At The Gates. Half the band’s past line up were in At The Gates for crying out loud. Throughout this album, The Haunted play with various elements of that endeared many to the ATG sound but infuse it with a coat of Thrash and then speed it up.
“Kill The Light” may be my favourite track on the entire album. It’s so aggressive and the perfect blend of melodic elements with an Über aggressive vocal style. I love it! The bass dueling the guitar at parts is just so unique and fun to hear, as a metal bassist. Kudos!
The production is top notch and every song sounds like it belongs here. Even the strangely blackened death metal opener of “Psychonaut” works in the context of this band. They are masters of taking little bits from a plethora of genres without losing themselves or the soul of the song. Little touches like the tone of Ola Englund ‘s lead guitar is crisp yet cutting. While Jonas Björler kills it on the bass; I love Björler’s bass playing and tone. It is fricken great!
However, while the album is great. They’ve peaked too early. There is not a lot here that would turn me away from “Made Me Do It” to listen to this new release. Trust me; that is not a knock on the guys, I love everything The Haunted do this is a sign they are too good.
Buy this album and you’ll see what I mean. “Exits Wounds” is a nice addition to The Haunted catalogue and I am sure the live shows will be very impressive. That said, there is the lack of a spark that made their past stuff truly standout.
“Exit Wounds” track listing:
02. Cutting Teeth
03. My Salvation
05. Eye Of The Storm
06. Trend Killer (feat. Chuck Billy)
07. Time (Will Not Heal)
08. All I Have
10. My Enemy
11. Kill The Light
12. This War
14. Ghost In The Machine
THE HAUNTED are:
* Patrik Jensen – Guitar
* Ola Englund – Guitar
* Marco Aro – Vocals
* Jonas Björler – Bass
* Adrian Erlandsson – Drums
“Exit Wounds” is out now via Century Media.