The Haunted (Earache) 1998
1. "Hate Song"
Holy Cow Batman, this is an intense moder thrash album. Of course when I say thrash there are many varieties. There is the more melodic stuff like Forbidden and Agent Steel or the more straight ahead speed and brutal attack of Possessed and Slayer. The Haunted fall into the later category relying more on speed and aggression than anything melodic or progressive, and the Slayer comparison is not far off in and of itself.
The Haunted features three ex-At The Gates members including Jonas Bjorler (bass), Adrian Erlandsson (drums) and Anders Bjorler (guitar). Also along for the ride is ex-Séance guitarist Patrik Jensen and ex-Mary Beats Jane vocalist Peter Dolving. Peter's voice fits the band perfectly. He sings in a Tom Araya style of yelling and screaming, sometimes getting into the modern metalcore style of shouting. These guys are simply intense. The drumming is outrageous and with the heavy distortion on the guitars the music becomes a solid wall of sound that will knock the listener up-side the head.
Unfortunately, the lyrics are all of an angry, hate-filled nature. Fortunately they are delivered in such a way as to almost totally miss the message with the exception of vocalist Peter Dolving's favorite four letter word. Perhaps somebody should buy them a dictionary. Regardless of the lyrics and language, the music is an undeniable, blistering, modern take on thrash metal.
The Haunted - The Haunted Made Me Do It (Earache) 2000
1. "Dark Intentions"
I had read a review at AMG that basically stated that this album was "on the same pedestal as Entombed's Wolverine Blues, Carcass' Heartwork, and Metallica's Master of Puppets albums that crossed over from the underground without compromising their integrity." Those were some pretty incredible, groundbreaking metal albums. So it was on that note that I began a search for this disc. "The Haunted made me do it" is that band's sophomore release after enlisting a new vocalist and drummer. The music itself is a pure neo-thrash metal assault on the ears. One thing that the Haunted seems to avoid very carefully is crossing over into the metalcore sound that many seem to embrace in the underground. Personally, I prefer the more metallic approach to the hardcore influences and that is what the Haunted deliver. A blend of fast, furious songs held together by a tight rhythm section and some smokin' lead work. There is also a 'sense' of melody that isn't aparent in most modern 'core' bands, which is probably one of the things I liked best about the Haunted. The vocals, on the other hand, are nothing really outstanding. One thing that I always liked about thrash bands like Testament, Exodus, etc. was that they had a very distinguishable vocalist. Unfortunately Marco Aro isn't one to stand out of the crowd and would just as easily sound good singing in a modern 'core' band as he would in a thrash band. That is not to say he's not a good vocalist. He actually manages to sound pretty brutal and aggressive while retaining some accessibility and he is nearly intelligible. He also offers a bit of variation with growling, screaming, yelling, or psuedo singing and is able to fluctuate between the styles quite nicely. Lyrics are the usually angry, albeit poetic, sort of thrash metal thing. Plenty of complaining about "the holy chains of imprisonment" and observations of a world that is falling apart at the seems as well as songs that seem to glorify violence. Hmmm, I suppose it's easier to complain than to offer any real solutions. Lyrics aside, I am glad I finally invested in this CD but I am not yet sure if I would place it on the same pedestal as the Entombed, Carcass and Metallica.