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I remember the first time I heard The Haunted. I was 17 years old and a friend of mine had just gotten back from tour and wanted to listen to this new band because “it’s good and it has some dudes from At The Gates in it”. I honestly didn’t need much more encouragement than that, but once I got through “Hate Song” I knew I was being shown something of lasting importance. It was that Gothenburg thrashy style of metal with guttural screams mixed with oddly catchy clean vocals, and some of the best song writing I had heard from a straight ahead metal band in ages.
I quickly became disheartened when I was then told that the singer had already left the band and they were about to put out a new album with some new guy at the helm. Fortunately, that album was …Made Me Do It, and despite the fact that Peter Dolving seemed like a nearly irreplaceable vocalist to me, the new guy Marco Aro seemed to delivered from the first notes “Bury Your Dead” to the last notes of “Victim Iced”. I’m sure purests will go on and on about how there is no Haunted without Dolving, but …Made Me Do It and One Kill Wonder still hold up to this day in every way.
My love affair with The Haunted continued as the band progressed. Dolving rejoined, they got less thrashier on certain albums, but I thoroughly enjoyed every release, which seemed to improve upon multiple listens. That was, of course, until Unseen. I don’t need to go into what a piece of nu-metal, hard rock garbage it was, but suffice to say I figured The Haunted was done (later confirmed by the band actually breaking up) and taking solace in the fact at least they had put out numerous incredible albums, and nothing would really change that.
When I heard that they were getting back together I was somewhat skeptical, fearing that it was one of those “we spent our lives in metal bands and don’t have any marketable skills, so we’ve got a couple ex-members, some friends, and have hobbled a version of the band together for a reunion tour or two” situations. Those fears will quickly put to rest as soon as I heard the opening notes of Exit Wounds. Tracks like “Cutting Teeth” and “Eye of the Storm” wouldn’t seem out of place on the group’s strongest releases, and despite the odd corny misstep like “Trendkiller” (which sounds like a slightly more Swedish version of Slipknot), The Haunted is back in a big, bad way. It doesn’t seem to matter that the band is made up mostly of ex-members and friends…the essence of what made The Haunted great is still intact and as impressive as ever.
Do yourself a favour and don’t write The Haunted off just yet…it looks like they still have some fight left in them.
Grab Exit Wounds here.