Review Summary: If you're going to try and rip off At The Gates, at least try and make it enjoyable.
So you're walking through your local record store, just scanning around at all the different releases at your disposal. Seeing things here and there that you're contemplating buying, then you come across a band that you know and you start checking out what's available. Scanning through you notice they have a new album out. First thing that pops into your head, "I wonder if this is better/worse than their last album"? In most cases it would be a complete toss up, looking at the cover art and all the available sights to try and determine if you want to buckle down and buy it. We, (as music enthusiasts), will always relate a band/artists new material to their previous works as a reference point. Listening to The Haunted's new album Versus
will only make you think one thing. When is this going to end?
The Haunted have been around since around 1998 and have changed their sound dramatically since the days of their self-titled album. With the release of 2004's rEVOLVEr
we heard the band try to almost blatantly rip off At The Gates with all their thrashing about. Then came The Dead Eye
in 2006 in which the band tried to take things in a more melodic route. While this album experimented more in melody than just going straight for it, Versus
just barges right in with its' forced melodies and akward song structures. The album wouldn't be that bad if they did the whole "melodic" thing well, but they really don't at all. They were much better off trying to impersonate a thrash band than add anything melodic into the mix. Songs like Trenches, Ceremony and Rivers Run will make you wonder just what they were thinking when they were writing them. It just comes off sounding as if the band could come up with nothing better to write than this and just decided this sounded good enough.
The instrumentation of the album isn't all that bad, it sounds just as clean as anything else they've done. The guitars have their melodic overtone with just a splash of thrash influence added to them. But they just sound completely trite and useless most of the time. They try to play off each other with harmonies and solo's that just sound downright childish in nature and miss whatever mark they were trying to hit. The bass is almost non-existent, (which I've come to expect nowadays), and there really isn't much to say about it. Same can be said about the drums, they just don't stand out one bit whatsoever. They do what they can to put a backbone to this already scoliotic mess of an album. They try to be thrashy when they can but you can tell he's just bored playing the same beat for almost a 30 straight minutes. But the vocals are where the album gets even more interesting...not in the good way either.
Peter Dolving has never been known for having a good voice, but he fits with what the band is playing so you can't complain much there. His screams have always been a little more off the mark than not, but he really screws up when he tries to sing. Yes sing, if you thought is screaming was sub-par than you are going to downright laugh when you hear this. The man can't keep a melody to save his life, and he tries to throw in his experimentation into songs like Skuld. It's quite hard to explain just how horrid they really are. He still sounds about the same as he has on all of their other releases as far as his screams and low light singing/talking goes. But he drags this album even further down the drain when they were already circling it to begin with.
is easily the one of the most disappointing albums of the entire year. Upon listening to their previous works, you'll start to wonder where this band really did go wrong. Was it when they tried start impersonating At The Gates? Was it when they tried adding melody to an already forced sound? Was it when they thought their singer could actually hit a note? The answer is all of the above. So when you're passing through your local record store and you think that you might like this cause you liked their previous works. Pass it up, its not worth whatever amount of money you see tagged to the front of the album.