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The Haunted
rEVOLVEr
October 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.7/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

A lot has happened in The Haunted camp since the release of their last album, 2003’s ONE KILL WONDER. Vocalist Marco Aro left the band leaving the door open for original vocalist Peter Dolving to return. The band split with Earache Records and signed a deal with Century Media Records who is set to release their latest attack, REVOLVER (actually written as rEVOLVEr). What is immediately apparent is the prophetic nature of the title. There is some serious experimentation going on here, as clean vocals pop up on a few tracks and there are even slower parts that have not been seen on a record by the band since “Forensick” on their self-titled debut in 1998. The vocalist change also applies to the title. Dolving certainly has more of a range than Aro did, but Aro’s vocals were perfectly suited for the intensity of The Haunted’s music. Not that Dolving isn’t the right man for the job, but let’s just say that Aro’s stint will not be forgotten easily by this reviewer. Aro’s death/thrash bellow was on ten at all times, while Dolving’s voice is more of a hardcore-ish roar that is capable of being melodic, as well. He even croons on one track! As for the music on REVOLVER, it is as lethal as ever. The guitars are executed with such melodic precision that the riffs just envelop you. The frenzied drumming of Per Moller Jensen, coupled with Jonas Bjorler’s thunderous bass, is a rhythm section whose force is unparalleled in metal. REVOLVER was recorded at Studio Fredman and was co-produced by the band with Fredrik Nordstrom and Patrik J. Sten (drummer of Passenger), so the sound is full and rich in all the right places. When taken as a whole on REVOLVER, The Haunted remain one of the most powerful, energetic, and commanding bands in metal today.



“No Compromise” comes blazing out of the gates as perhaps the most devastating opening track the band has done since “Hate Song.” The thrashy riffing and Dolving’s unrelenting vocals are just punishing. Anders Bjorler’s solo in “99” smokes while Dolving’s vocal assault on the track show he is back with a vengeance. He sounds as if he is screaming like his life depends on it! The next track is a real experiment for The Haunted. “Abysmal” slows things down and Dolving breaks into a crooning clean vocal that drips with attitude. The way he sings, “Bury me in a shallow grave, so the dogs can dig me out/If I die tonight, well, that suits me fine,” show how heavy need not always be calculated by the amount of screams and roars. Once the clean vocals end, the track sounds almost Pantera-like and Dolving echoes of Phil Anselmo circa 1994. “Sabotage” is a short thrashy track and Per Moller Jensen’s drumming is just incredible. Along with “No Compromise,” this is one of the heaviest tracks on the CD. There is a hardcore-like breakdown that begins at 1:44 that just slays! “All Against All” explores the more melodic death side of The Haunted and certainly is reminiscent of the old At The Gates days. Patrick Jensen’s riffs are infectious as hell and this song could be a real crossover breakout for the band. “Burnt To A Shell” follows the lead of “Abysmal” with its use of a clean vocal and mid-tempo pacing. This song’s chorus is full of hooks and the quiet verses/loud chorus formula is played to maximum effect. The Haunted’s hardcore leanings have always been a big part of their music and Lou Koller of long-time NYC hardcore kings, Sick It All, drops in for some guest vocals on “Who Will Decide.” “Liquid Burns” features a seething vocal by Dolving and a frantic performance from Jonas Bjorler and Per Moller Jensen that show just why this band leads the pack of European thrash bands. The Haunted saved the biggest surprise for last as “My Shadow” is one of the most progressive songs they have ever done. Crawling along at an almost dirge-like pace for nearly seven minutes, Dolving’s croaked spoken word verses carry an ominous presence. At one point, he says “She said my obsessions would lead me to Hell/That the flesh is weak…lysergic propulsion, nymphomania, immunodeficiencies and stray dog values blasting through the normative…so tell me, do you spit or swallow?” If that isn’t poetry, I don’t know what is! The clean vocals in the chorus are absolutely amazing and really add a new angle to the music of The Haunted. Not to worry, though, as mixed just behind the clean vocals is an almost inaudible scream that shows The Haunted still mean business. “My Shadow” ends with a haunting solo and Dolving’s pained screams to close out nearly an hour of an all-new, refreshed version of The Haunted version 1.0.



Two versions of REVOLVER are available. The jewel case release contains eleven tracks, while a limited-edition digipack features a different cover and two bonus tracks. Of those two tracks, “Smut King” is the better song. The neck snapping intensity of this track is mind-boggling. Dolving’s screams of “Slip it in…slip, slip in” reverberate over and over while another hardcore breakdown occurs leading into a sinister spoken word section to close out the track.



REVOLVER has some massive expectations leading up to its release. The critics will be looking for anything to rip apart and the experimentation that the band has taken almost leaves them open for an attack like a lone gazelle in the Serengeti. Yes, this is a different band than left us with ONE KILL WONDER but a new (old) singer and a new label seems to have energized The Haunted and given them the tenacity to get behind this record and try out some new stuff. I’ll be damned if it didn’t work, too!



KILLER KUTS: “No Compromise,” “99,” “Abysmal,” “Sabotage,” “All Against All,” “Burnt To A Shell,” “Liquid Burns,” “My Shadow”
Track Listing

1. No Compromise
2. 99
3. Abysmal
4. Sabotage
5. All Against All
6. Sweet Relief
7. Burnt To A Shell
8. Who Will Decide
9. Nothing Right
10. Liquid Burns
11. Fire Alive (BONUS TRACK)
12. Smut King (BONUS TRACK)
13. My Shadow

Lineup

Peter Dolving—Vocals
Anders Bjorler—Lead Guitar
Patrick Jensen—Rhythm Guitar
Jonas Bjorler—Bass
Per Moller Jensen—Drums


Next review: » The Haunted - rEVOLVEr
Previous review: » The Haunted - Exit Wounds

The Haunted
rEVOLVEr
November 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: MetalGeorge

Ah, this day has finally arrived. I've been waiting to be able to speak my piece about how important one Mr. Peter Dolving is to the Swedish Thrash Force known as The Haunted for quite some time now. First off, I have to let it be known that I feel that this band's self-titled debut lp stands as one of the greatest metal albums of all time. In addition, I just don't feel that the band has been able to live up to the legacy since Dolving's departure shortly before their inaugural US tour supporting Testament back in 2000.



That is, until now. While MADE ME DO IT was a glorified ep with 2 unfuckwithable tracks and loads of filled, and last year's ONE KILL WONDER was a step in the right direction musically, the unfortunate fact was that the band just wasn't the same without Dolving on the mic. Fast forward to the present and you have rEVOLVEr, the band's newest devastator. This record stands as both a triumphant return to form, as well as a brave step forward. The first thing we notice from opening barnstormer "No Compromise" is just that: the song possesses all of the thrashtastic riffing and brutalizing breaks that the band have earned their bread doing since '99.



Speaking of "99", this happens to be the title of the album's second track, and is by far one of it's strongest. I'd venture to say that this song can represent everything The Haunted is about within it's 4 minute running time. Pure violence. It's on the album's next track, "Abysmal", where we see the band taking some risks. Featuring clean singing from the country/blues influenced Dolving, "Abysmal" is a haunting, mid-paced tune that serves as the perfect lead-in for the all out assault of "Sabotage".



This, in fact, is what I feel is one of rEVOLVEr's greatest strengths; it's sense of pacing. It isn't balls to the wall fast all the time, nor does it drag it's feet by setting slow tracks next to each other. For every couple of pulse-racers, there is a slow burn to follow it up, luring the listener into the album's flow.



Of course, every great album has to have it's centerpiece, and for rEVOLVEr, that track is "All Against All". Serving as the record's first video, the track is an ultra catchy, melodic, and memorable song with some of Dolving's finest lyrics/vocals, both screamed and sung, ever. This track is my personal favorite, and should prove to be one of the band's live classics for years to come. Check out the amazing bridge section in this song if you need any further proof that this band rules.



Another one of the album's slower jams, "Burnt to a Shell" showcases a cool southern/stoner vibe to the proceedings, while the Jonas Bjorler-penned tune "Who Will Decide" is a vicious blast of old school hardcore fury, featuring guest vocals by none other than Sick of It All legend Lou Koller. Though the digipack version of the album will contain two killer bonus tracks("Fire Alive" and the cheekily titled "Smut King"), the final 3 proper album tracks are equally rockin'.



Though "Nothing Right" may open up with a dodgy lyrical choice, ("hey hey, what do you say/do you wanna be part of the freakshow?"), the song itself contains some of the album's catchiest riff work within it's chorus. "Liquid Burns" is equally vicious jam which reminds me of "Hate Song" a bit(especially in the solo break) , with the final track of rEVOLVEr being the epic and melancholic "My Shadow". Echoing one of the band's other most underrated tracks, "Forensick", "My Shadow" begins equally dirgy, yet doesn't pick up the pace the way "Forensick" did. Instead, the chorus resonates hypnotically and fades out. While I dig the song, I do kinda wish they ended the track in a blaze of glory, but que sera sera.



To be honest, I don't think there was any way in hell I was going to dislike this record. Luckily though, I can honestly say that rEVOLVEr is one hell of an album. While nothing will ever compare to that first record, rEVOLVEr is the band's best effort since then. To an extent, it could be considered a sophomore effort, depending on which era of the band you prefer. What is universal however, is that the band is firing on all cylinders. Dolving rants, raves, and croons his way all over each and every tune; rEVOLVEr is his record for sure.



Just like the brass knuckles emblazoned on the disc itself, rEVOLVEr is an aural beating. With this album's 13 tracks, Doling and Co. look poised and primed to reclaim their throne. Longtime fans rejoice, for rEVOLVEr is absolutely mandatory.
Track Listing

1. No Compromise
2. 99
3. Abysmal
4. Sabotage
5. All Against All
6. Sweet Relief
7. Burnt to a Shell
8. Who Will Decide
9. Nothing Right
10. Liquid Burns
11. Fire Alive * (bonus track)
12. Smut King * (bonus track)
13. My Shadow

Lineup

Peter Dolving--vocals
Anders Bjorler--lead guitar
Jonas Bjorler--bass
Jensen--rhythm guitar
Per Moller Jensen--drums


Next review: » The Haunted - rEVOLVEr
Previous review: » The Haunted - Exit Wounds

The Haunted
rEVOLVEr
December 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

The Haunted have won two Swedish Grammy Awards in the category of Best Hard Rock band. Meanwhile, they’ve been touring endlessly around the world with acts like Slayer, Morbid Angel, In Flames and Napalm Death to mention a few. The band’s self-titled debut album from 1998 is a modern day classic of ground breaking thrash metal. The Haunted have continued to deliver thrash metal of the highest level to this day.



After the debut album was released the band had a setback when lead singer Peter Dolving announced that he was leaving. Peter was replaced by former Face Down vocalist Marco Aro on the following three albums THE HAUNTED MADE ME DO IT, LIVE ROUNDS IN TOKYO and ONE KILL WONDER. I have seen the band live several times with Aro behind the mic and it feels like you’ve been hit by a train. After a very long tour in support of ONE KILL WONDER Aro left the band and Dolving was asked to join the band. He accepted and Aro returned to his old band again. REVOLVER is their first release on Century Media.



The Haunted have always played pure straight-in-your-face thrash metal without any compromises and no mellow parts in any songs. On this album they have chosen to move in another direction musicwise which I will come to later.



REVOLVER was recorded in the very famous Fredman Studio in Gothenburg from February through March of this year. The production was done by the band with help from Fredrik Nordström and Patrik J Sten. The album was mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen. As always when Nordström is in the producer seat, the production sounds great. The Haunted sounds angry, raw, aggressive, brutal and fast, just like they should sound. The only exception on this album compared with the other ones is that this album has a darker sound and they have also added some “slower” parts here and there. The drums are heavy and pounding along with some sharp guitars and at the top of the mix lies Dolving’s angry lead vocals.



The band runs through eleven tracks and the music is written by the Björler twins and Jensen. Dolving has written all of the very angry lyrics and the band have done all the arrangements together.



“No Compromise”, “99”, “All Against All”, “Sweet Relief”, “Sabotage”, “Who Will Decide”, “Nothing Right”, “Liquid Burns” and “My Shadow” are brutal, hard and fast thrash metal songs where Dolving shows that he is in as good a shape vocally now as he were on the debut. The drummer hammers on the drums and really knows how to play uncompromised raw thrash metal. The sound is incredibly heavy and brutal with some soaring guitar play. In “Who Will Decide” Lou Keller from Sick Of It All appears and it sounds like the two vocalists are sharing the mic. “Abysmal” and “Burnt To A Shell” are two slower songs. The first starts off with only guitar and vocals and Dolving sings with an ordinary voice but when it all kicks off he returns to sounding angry again. This song is a perfect example of The Haunted’s change in pace that I mentioned earlier. Also the second song is a bit slower with a lot of tempo changes.



The Haunted are still on the thrash metal throne with this partly brilliant album. I’m still not sure what I should think of the slower parts in the songs but maybe it just takes a while to adjust to the new direction they have chosen to turn to. The guys are really tight and they have very strong and well produced material.



During a limited time there will be a limited edition of the album with alternate artwork and two exclusive bonus tracks provided. There’s only one thing to say, BUY THIS ALBUM RIGHT KNOW!
Track Listing

1. No Compromise
2. 99
3. Abysmal
4. Sabotage
5. All Against All
6. Sweet Relief
7. Burnt To A Shell
8. Who Will Decide
9. Nothing Right
10. Liquid Burns
11. My Shadow

Lineup

Peter Dolving – vocals
Anders Björler – guitar
Jonas Björler – bass
Jensen – guitar
Per Möller Jensen – drums


Next review: » The Haunted - The Dead Eye
Previous review: » The Haunted - Exit Wounds





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