The Haunted


Written by: AP on 13/10/2008 23:38:59

Once dubbed the Slayer of Sweden, The Haunted may have rerouted their sound to reject what was expected of them and do their own thing, but one thing still stands clear: this band is mean. In fact you'd be hard pressed trying to find as visceral a song as "99". It's not that it's particularly brutal, it's just stripped down and devoid of anything pretty or pleasant. Its expression is so direct and emotionally charged that it's with fear that one consumes Peter Dolving's repugnance. It's what The Haunted are all about. It's what the band's new release, "Versus" is also about.

"Versus", like the band's self-titled debut, was recorded live; which is your first cue that it's back to basics time. That's what The Haunted clearly hope you will experience, at least, and granted, songs like "Little Cage", "Ceremony" and "Crusher" do awaken a sound that "The Dead Eye", and in some ways even "rEVOLVEr", buried: that uncompromising rage that mows down everything in its path. But really "Versus" is a logical continuation of the previous record with plenty of atmospheric, slow songs and Southern-influenced riffs. It's still metal with a hardcore heart, but lacks the urgency of the band's earlier work.

Peter Dolving's vocals are worth raising on a pedestal though. While they may not appease enraged fans of the younger, pissed off Dolving, it's hard not to be impressed by the less hateful passion of his voice in the slower tracks. There's still plenty of fuck you moments, too, don't worry, and it's admittedly during these that one approves more readily. The Björlers and the Jensens follow suite, adjusting their technical prowess to Dolving's calmer needs when necessary to bring you instrumentally the most diverse The Haunted album to date.

Even so, "Versus" will inevitably polarize the fans and critics. On the one hand we have those that have remained faithful and welcomed the band's progression, and continue to do so. On the other we have the stubborn bunch who feel that once a band releases one genre classic, the band must never depart from its sound. And while I appreciate that it doesn't quite compare to, say, the self-titled debut or "rEVOLVEr", it's still a damn good album. It's just as emotionally charged, but charged with other emotions.

Download: Moronic Colossus, Little Cage, Crusher

For the fans of: Hatesphere, Sepultura, Testament

Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.09.2008

Century Media

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