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The Haunted do it again - 88%

gasmask_colostomy, August 21st, 2010

I simply do not understand the hate that The Haunted seems to attract. Some people cannot get over the fact that At The Gates split up and some of the main players in that band took a different angle. Others seem to slap the mallcore label or the less offensive melodic death metal label on the band. Do these people even know what nu metal sounds like for fuck's sake!

I pity the band for putting up with this bullshit, especially since all the musicians get less respect than they seem to deserve. At The Gates aside, Jensen has kicked arse in Witchery and Seance and other lesser known musicians such as Marco Aro and Per Moller Jensen have stepped up and delivered on this album. I'll be the first to admit this album isn't perfect but for a band I saw getting cheers from Slayer fans at London Forum, while plugging a supposedly less "brutal" album than this, it's pretty fucking classy.

First up, the opener "Dark Intentions". I was expected some nice calm intro like “The Premonition” from 'The Dead Eye' album, but it blew my fucking ears off the first time I heard it. No bullshit, just one or two catchy riffs and plenty of speed.

The pace doesn't let up for "Bury Your Dead" either. I don't pretend that this is a true classic, nor that I rate Aro as a vocalist more than Dolving, but this is three unpretentious minutes of heads-down bluster with a real killer of a solo by Anders Bjorler - not too fast or technical but just perfect for the song. The hooks are all there and count the number of good riffs! Perhaps the most cohesive song of the whole album, particularly the pleasing transition to the more groovy, slower riffs after the second chorus.

"Trespass" has the same catchy feel to it that so much modern thrash/melodeath/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-it is lacking. Simply, it sticks in my mind; there's no great vocal hooks like the previous song, but it's still a minor Haunted anthem in its own right.

"Leech" tries something a little different, which I admire the band for trying, but there's a bit less impact from the tremolo riffs and sections that vary in speed. Still, the changes have a more moody aspect to them, which I've always thought suits The Haunted really well and the vocals have more expression as well as another nicely thought out solo.

Now I'm a sucker for this middle section of the album. "Hollow Ground" is an absolute stormer, with two great riffs stomping all over the introduction and verse. The vocals and the lyrics hit their peak for me, with the curious effect that Aro uses on the chorus carrying straight into a faster solo and the next verse. The song flows beautifully from section to section with the guitars alternately billowing and pummelling almost without a difference between the two. Then the chorus kicks in slightly unexpectedly, providing a high point of the album for me. The outro section is very well judged and quite inspiring too.

Compared to the wistful overtones of the end of “Hollow Ground”, "Revelation" is like concrete connecting to face. In and out in a minute and a half, this is completely Aro's song as he rages almost constantly, with great energy. It takes a few listens to uncover some great thrashy riffs underneath as well, particularly the more spacious one after the second refrain of "...a blank revelation".

"The World Burns" does not fuck around either, but reins back some pace for groovy and explorative guitars that hark back to a less mellow "Hollow Ground", which wasn't exactly mellow itself. The chorus riff is pure genius and the fast solo after the chorus is very welcome after more considered lead moments earlier in the album. The slow middle section has me in two minds; firstly, it spoils the pace of the song, but it also leads incredibly well back into the riffs which largely redeems its errors. The last chorus has a great impact too.

Sadly, the album drops a little after this point, although "Human Debris" has a savage opening riff and more notable drumming than some of the other numbers. It reminds me a little of "Soul Fracture" from the band’s debut but not in a negative fashion. Some of the intensity does drift out of this one part way through, but the solo is bright and refreshing compared to Aro's fairly dry voice which does begin to grate by this point.

"Silencer" has an uninspiring opening riff, which trades with another better, catchier riff to better effect but though the chorus is paced pretty well, I don't rate the song too highly compared to some of the other numbers. Still not bad though and an effective ending.

"Under The Surface" is nothing terribly surprising and makes more use of Aro's strange vocal effect. The pace is overall a bit slower which actually helps it make an impact since the speed of the album can get a little overwhelming if taken all in one dose. There are pseudo-harmonies in some of the riffs which are pleasant but don't saturate the song with melody, which is the last thing on the band's mind in "Victim Iced".

It roars out of the gate, matching "Revelation" as the fastest thing on the album and has some truly brutal riffs. For anyone who wants proof of The Haunted's thrash credentials, please look no further. It's a great album closer, leaving you a bit hungry for more, but quite satisfied as well (i.e. it's tempting to start the album again).

I'm a fan of The Haunted who was less keen on their more recent, slower, melodic approach, but I completely have faith in the killing power of this album. Yes, there's thrash; no, there's no mallcore and while it might fall slightly short of the debut in terms of out-and-out quality, it possibly beats it in terms of songcraft and flow, standing more as a great album rather than a great collection of songs.

A Sad Letdown - 35%

corviderrant, August 7th, 2007

I saw these guys live opening for Dimmu Borgir some years ago, right when this CD was released and live they killed! I actually thought for a moment that I was experiencing the second coming of Slayer. Little did I know. So when I bought this CD I was eagerly looking forward to a severe thrashing and instead got...meh.

First of all, Tue Madsen is absolutely overrated as a producer. This album sounds weak and tinny with a cardboard drum sound, and I was dismayed to hear this utter lack of sound quality. At least with black metal they have an excuse for sounding awful in their slavish quest to replicate the old school early 80s sound of its progenitors in an effort to create "atmosphere". But this...at least a good thick guitar tone, a better drum sound, and even some low end would've saved that aspect of the album. However, it sounds like a demo more than an actual professional caliber album, so points deleted for that alone.

The music is disappointingly weak and generic,and lacks the intensity they exhibited live. In fact, it is not terribly intense at all when you listen to it minus the adrenaline high of a live show. Marco Aro's vocals are weak and one-dimensional screeches that show he's listened to a lot of Pantera albums in his vain attempts at sounding like (the equally-overrated) Phil Anselmo. His low spoken parts here and there redeem him slightly, but not enough. The Bjorler brothers are disappointing too, with the guitar work being uninspired and overly restrained in an attempt to be "melodic" and the bass nonexistent as always, but even more so. Per-Moller Jensen's drumming is strong, but is sabotaged by Madsen's incompetence in the studio a la Rick Rubin's sorry excuse for production on "South of Heaven". Overall, whoever thinks this album is anything resembling inspired or even good is deceiving themselves. And yes, they do sound totally Swedish--after all, most of the band WAS only in At The Gates, the most copied band ever these days, so they can't help but sound that way.

In short, this band is terribly overrated and I'm sorry in retrospect that I bought this album. It is a waste of the Bjorler brothers' time in trying to continue what is often deemed a good thing (did I mention I think ATG are overrated too?) and watering it down for mass consumption. Even though they are competent players--hence the OK rating--this is a waste of time and money ultimately. If you want real thrash, get you some Destruction, old or new, and you'll see what the real dela is.

Not bad but I could live without it. - 78%

megafury, October 5th, 2003

It's not that the album is horrible, it's just not anything mindblowing. This album is one of the better gothenburg metal bands, there's so many mediocre ones coming out that bore me.

They got a couple catchy tunes but they need more to makes this album worthwhile. With their more agressive heavier tracks, you could really hear a close resemblance to Slayer but just with a more hardcore/metalcore voice.

I've noticed, gothenburg melodic death and melodic hardcore/metalcore, are getting close. So many metalcore bands list In Flames, Soilwork, and Haunted as influences like Atreyu, From Autumn to Ashes, As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage etc.

Hollow Ground is my favorite song here, nice catchy tune, a little singing thrown in, and a pretty good solo at the end. I like the song Trespass too, it's their more melodic side instead of their 'attempt at Slayer' side. All their thrash songs almost all sound the same with a few little changes in pace.

I know this melodic death stuff is hated by metalheads, just as much as nu-metal, but if you want to hear the best gothenburg melodic metal has to offer, this Haunted album is a good start.

They try too hard to be too brutal. - 47%

Nightcrawler, March 1st, 2003

First of all, let's state that this is not thrash, it's melodic death. Now that we've got that thing out of the way, let's begin with the review.

This album could actually be very good if they didn't try so damn hard. The sound is raw and angry, the guitars are heavy and have a very nice sense of melody, the drum and bass do their job very well. But the vocalist is quite mediocre. His half-shouting/half-growling voice is pretty weak.
My second complaint is that they just try too fucking hard to be too fucking brutal. There are a whole bunch of riff changes in every song, and while most songs have one or two damn fine riffs, most of it is incoherent, boring and very forgettable, and all the songs sound the same. It seems that they just added riff after riff along with kill-and-hate-everything lyrics, for the sake of adding riff after riff along with kill-and-hate-everything lyrics.
They need to concentrate on how the riffs work with eachother, and to make the verses more memorable.

It's not all bad though, there are quite a few highlights. Dark Intentions is a dark, heavy and melodic intro which sets a very cool mood, and it's followed by Bury Your Dead, one of the highlights. Very nice, and rather memorable all through. Keep writing stuff like this and you'll get about 70 from me.
We also have Leech. The opening riffs and verses are fucking brutal! Pounding double bass, and fast-as-hell devastating riffs, along with crushing midpaced verses. Headbanging madness! But, the rest of the song sucks ass. It's all too forgettable and boring, and the chorus is pretty much hardcore-ish.
Revelation is a fun little mosh number. Heavy, brutal and short- too short to be as forgettable as most of the songs, thus one of the best tracks.
Then it's all pretty much the same, until Under the Surface, which has some quite memorable stuff and a nice chorus done with clean vocals, and another short mosh track called Victim Iced, which closes off the album.

Those are the album's few good moments, the rest is pretty much shit.
Maybe their other albums are better; I shall have to see when I get them.

bury your dead motherfuckers - 96%

ironasinmaiden, January 29th, 2003

The Haunted Made Me Do It is one of those albums that has a visceral vibe only heavy metal can encompass... an intangible energy that runs through every riff, scream, or snare roll. After the Haunted's debut, they were christened the saviours of thrash ( a title i agree with) and the next Slayer... instead of taking a similar approach on MMDI, they opted for big choruses, the occasional melody, and better songwriting.

The first time I heard Dark Intentions/Bury Your Dead my jaw hit the floor... the same kind of feeling I got when I heard that first Slayer song 5 or 6 years ago. You just can't fuck with that, folks... Marco Aro does a good, if not outstanding job at replacing the mighty Peter Dolving. His clean vocals on Hallow Ground and Under the Surface are pretty lame, but sufficient. Aro's raspy style is rather like Mr. Tomas Lindberg, something I have no problem with whatsoever.

There is a few At the Gatesisms abound, as the Bjorler brothers take the majority of songwriting credits. Jensen puts in his 2 cents with Revelations, a fucking insane thrasher with enough riffs to kill your entire family twice, and Silencer, whose chord changes are almost hard rock at times. Leech is grinding and monolithic, Trespass is more melodic, and everything in between kicks alot of ass.

There were so many fucking ace albums in 2000.... dead heart in a dead world, of one blood, urkraft, blackwater park... made me do it is a welcome addition to that list. If you can't appreciate this, I worry about you

Very Solid Album - 70%

Madman, November 22nd, 2002

Well, what we have here is a very solid sophomore effort from The Haunted (an offspring of the At the Gates break up). This album isn't too different from a lot of albums coming out of the Gothenburg area, as it's the melodic death/thrash that everyone's heard by now, but it does have strong songwriting and great musicianship.

The album starts off with the killer intro "Dark Intentions" which is awesome thrash and then goes into "Bury Your Dead" which I can honestly say will tear your head off. The rest of the album is for the most part in the same vein except there are quite a few mid-paced songs with some well thought out melodies coming into play. Some highlights aside from the two previously mentioned songs are "Revelation", "The World Burns", and "Victim Iced".

This album is quite good and I pull it out from time to time but is it really worth a purchase? I can honestly say that I don't know as the album doesn't really stand out in my collection and there's a good chance that it won't in yours, but if you are big into thrash and gothenburg metal than I would say that it would be a good idea to atleast give the album a try before you write it off.