Released: 2014, Century Media
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Don’t call it a comeback.
On second thought - Do. Do call it a comeback, because you’re about to give a shit about The Haunted again.
The Haunted have had a bit of a rough go over the last few records. You can point fingers at past and/or present members of the band, but fact of the matter is that everything since rEVOLVEr has been questionable at best. Despite the departure of several key members of the band, The Haunted have chosen to soldier on by recruiting once and future alumni Marco Aro and Adrian Erlandsson, as well as new guitarist Ola Englund (you know, the guy who made Six Feet Under relevant again?). The resulting EXIT WOUNDS sounds like a direct successor to MADE ME DO IT, and is a pissed off thrasher that’s intent on proving a point.
EXIT WOUNDS side steps any of the drama that’s surrounded the band in recent press and focuses on what The Haunted does best – pummeling you with mean, melodic riffs. Album opener “Cutting Teeth” is a totally self-aware track, with lines about sleeping dogs and empty chambers amidst hammering riffs and pounding fists, it’s an effective mea culpa. As EXIT WOUNDS blazes through “Psychonaut”, “Time (Will Not Heal)” and “This War”, I was struck by the notion of how natural the whole thing sounds. There was a definite “oh yeah” moment; this band originated as an offshoot of At the Gates and Witchery. This band’s first records were full of straight up Slayer worship peppered with flavors of those bands. The Haunted KILL when they’re not trying to be something that they’re not. EXIT WOUNDS gets it right, and it gives you the ass kicking you’ve been craving.
Props to returning vocalist Marco Aro, who, despite a bevy of powerful six string noise, is the true star of the album. Time has weathered his raspy growl a few notches lower, making it sound more ferocious since the last time we heard it, and the attitude he spits into each track is immeasurable. Check out the exceptional “Trend Killer” if you need additional evidence. Front to back though, the entire band is on point. The 14 tracks across the album are all tight and to the point, and you really get a sense that the guys are finally having some fun together again.
I wrote off The Haunted a long time ago and I sure as hell didn’t think I’d be gushing about a new record anytime soon, but EXIT WOUNDS has made me a believer again. It's an album that delivers exactly the kind of thrash excellence that you'd expect from a band of this pedigree, and it's an album you should add to your collection. This is the sound of The Haunted at their best.