Released: 2004, Century Media
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.