10/15/2004 - Review by: Eric Compton
The Haunted - rEVOLVEr 2004 Century Media reviewed by: EC
The Bjorler brothers got together in their basement and decided to do something a bit different, making melodic death metal with a serious hardcore presentation. They called it The Haunted, and released their first album in 1998 via Earache. At that time they had Peter Dolving on vocals. Then he left for reasons unknown to me, and Marco Aro stepped in for the next two releases. Along the way one of the Bjorler brothers quit, then later rejoined the group again. After the group's last album, vocalist Aro quit the group to concentrate on his family, leaving room for the return of original vocalist Peter Dolving. Are you confused? Bottom line is now Peter Dolving is back in the group, picking up exactly where the first album left off.
So now that we have that little bit of confusion put aside, let's talk about "rEVOLVEr", which originally was voted by fans to be called "Subliminal Messages of Suicide Promotion", but was later changed because Studio Fredman, the place doing the recording, didn't like the album title. "rEVOLVEr" rolls off of the tongue a little easier than the previous title, so I'm glad they changed it. So what does this new album offer? Well absolutely nothing if you look at it as compared to other notable acts playing this style. But all in all, The Haunted really could claim this sound their own, with other Swedish bands playing either formulated basic death metal, or choosing to liven it up by playing melodic death metal. The Haunted do neither, instead focusing all energy on a hardcore melodic death metal output. While polished bands like In Flames and Arch Enemy are more office suite metal, The Haunted have always found themselves deep in the coal mines, gritty and bruised from the blue collar sound they do so well. You see The Haunted are really down to Earth, not really trying to get too technical or fancy for their own good, instead just grinding away, working every song into a fist clenching exercise of furious anger.
At one or two listens, "rEVOLVEr" won't do much for you. You have to go beneath the asphalt and look at the intricate series of metal pipelines beneath the surface. Below the hard ground lies the real fruit, a worthy set of songs that do just what you knew they would. The Haunted aren't going to be the type of guys to lay back and let the music flow. They certainly aren't packing light, and never stop to allow a weak moment the time to build. The Haunted are in your face from the opening kick off, ramming home the fact that these Swedes just don't care about anything.
With furious stompers like "99", "Liquid Burns", and "No Compromise", all is right with the world. Or maybe it is all wrong, based on Dolving's intense, fire breathing screams. Never for one moment does he sandbag, with these cuts it is all anger all the time. Every track here is a rigid lesson in violence. His vocals have never been deathy, and with this new group of cuts he reinforces the fact that he is a hardcore vocalist. The music is one-hundred percent The Haunted, with that gritty, dirty feel to the production. A couple of tracks are mid-temp and twangy, which I enjoy, but for the most part this album is full speed ahead. Abrasive, hard edged metal is the sole intent, and I for one enjoy every minute of it. Is it that much different than their past material? Not really, but is it a metallic good time? Yes!
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