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The Haunted
Strength in Numbers
Type: CD
Company: Century Media
Release: 2017
Genre: Thrash
Reviewer: Eric Compton
Published: 9/1/2017
Unified rebellion with melody and lyrical substance
As the years fly by I start to hear more and more cohesive sounds out of the aggressive Swedish scene. Acts like Witchery, The Haunted, and Arch Enemy are so symbolic of the style and texture of this authoritative locality. These artists just continue to excel in their chosen genre, that "hardcore meets thrash meets melodic death meets showmanship" conglomerate of talent colliding with brute force. It can't be any clearer with new The Haunted album 'Strength in Numbers'.

Russ Russell (Lock Up, Napalm Death) provides the perfect production backdrop for this abrasive soundtrack. The Haunted revisit the faster sounds of "Made Me Do It" and "One Kill Wonder" while still firmly entrenched in groovy, grinding combat. Out of the gate is "Brute Force", a charging thrash anthem that summarizes mood and feeling while lyrically asking, "Should I kill myself or everyone else around me?" The breakdowns at 1:30 with the pummeling double-bass is a menacing suggestion, but elevated with melodic leads. "Spark" sees the band recreate some of the distorted and abstract sounds of "Revolver", a colder sound that asks the listener to "stand firm as the flames get closer to the skin." It has this slower, emotional chorus part with some softer chords. The leadwork at the 3:10 mark from Jensen and Englund are pure brilliance. "Preachers of Death" is pure Pantera worship, a mid-tempo wall of sound that has Aro singing with a little more clarity. Again, a softer sound encompasses the chorus parts adding a lot of depth to a rather one-dimensional riff collection. The second half of the album ends with the Slayer-like title track. It slowly builds up to a quicker pace that has Aro hitting some death growls over a thrashy rhythm section. It's odd timing structure adds a bit of diversity and breaks up the all-out assault. Clever.

The second half of the album is a slight downgrade, beginning with the somewhat monotonous "Tighten the Noose", a raw in-the-face burner that resembles the band's first record. "This is the End" is a creeping, heavily distorted cut that reminds me a bit of Pantera's "Drag the Waters". Aro's "bury me down below, where no one can hear me scream" bellow assures us there is no happy ending to this tale. "The Fall" is an average foot-stomper, quick-paced with an energetic rhythm and some soaring, melodic solos to break up the intensity. "Means to an End" is a sure-fire album highlight, steadfast in its "like a bullet to the face" stance. Aro sounds remarkably like Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl at the beginning, so much so that I had to double-check just to make sure the odd cameo didn't happen. It's a riff salad, mid-paced and armored with deep growls and persuasive percussion. This could be my new go to song when I spill the milk. The album finished with this Mastodon sort of slower march, accented by the cymbals and slower vocal passage. The 2 min mark brings this instant calm--whispers, slower picking soaking in the atmosphere before the fretwork hits this tremendous ascending lead. The track, and album, finishes with slower chords and a "calm after the storm" sort of vibe.

With 'Strength in Numbers', The Haunted are the heaviest of the heavyweights, creating anthems of unified rebellion while smartly underlining it with melody and lyrical substance. It's the obligatory monument to Sweden's metal monarchy, a kingdom ruled with an iron fist while drawing power from the people.
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: THE HAUNTED
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Exit WoundsThe Haunted
2014
Greg Watson10/10/2014
One Kill WonderThe Haunted
2003
Nate Turpin1/30/2003
rEVOLVErThe Haunted
2004
Eric Compton10/15/2004
Strength in NumbersThe Haunted
2017
Eric Compton9/1/2017
The Dead EyeThe Haunted
2006
Weasel3/9/2007


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: THE HAUNTED

No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: THE HAUNTED
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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