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The Haunted - The Haunted

1998 Earache Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-06

When a band appears containing 3 alumni from At the Gates, initial comparisons are inevitable. But, while the basic core sound remains, it is obvious that The Haunted are out to make their own mark, and a force to be reckoned with. Just to throw in a little history, At the Gates disbanded after the legendary Slaughter of the Soul LP, much to the dismay of all who had heard it. It seemed a logical thing to do, as it was near impossible that the dynamics of that record could be surpassed. So we come to 1998, and is The Haunted a step forward? The answer is both yes and no, fortunately for all involved. The irony is that the songs which appear to have the greatest similarity to SOTS are written by "new" guitarist Jensen, while the more progressive material (again, drawing comparison to At the Gates) is penned by Anders. Lyrics are intelligent and angry, dealing with the desensitization of humanity and the perverseness of society as a whole. This is also the area where the biggest change has happened. Gone are the tortured screams of Tomas Lindberg, replaced by the rantings of one Peter Dolving, who if to be pigeonholed, reminds me of Jens Kidman of Contradictions Collapse era Meshuggah. This new direction leads the band into a more accessible area, while still keeping the underground spirit. For me, it's the perfect continuation of Slaughter of the Soul, melding the intricate riffery and precision drumming, while changing enough to hold plenty of interest. For those new to this sound, the intensity of this shit will just blow you away! The Haunted have managed to harness enough power to destroy everything in their path. For those expecting SOTS part two, it'll never happen, but this is the closest you will come, and if you give this record a chance on it's own, you'll see the brilliance that resides here. Easily be one of the best releases of the year.