Review Summary: From the ashes of At the Gates rises a completely different sounding band
Peter Dolving - vocals
Anders Björler - lead guitar
Patrik Jensen - rhythm guitar
Jonas Björler - bass guitar
Adrian Erlandsson - drums
After the premature demise of At the Gates, the Björler twins and drummer Adrian Erlandsson found themselves a new guitarist in Patrik Jensen (Witchery, Séance) and another vocalist in Peter Dolving. With At the Gates being one of the pioneers of the Swedish death metal movement, it was logical to expect that The Haunted would play melodeath but on The Haunted,
the Björler twins take their Slayer worship to the next level and they distance themselves from what they did in their previous band.
When At the Gates set out to record Slaughter of the Soul,
their goal was to make another Reign in Blood,
the Slayer album they considered to be the pinnacle of the genre. What they created was clearly Slayer influenced but they added their own touch with their melodic guitar leads and unique vocals that were more punk than metal. On The Haunted,
the band also has a unique vocalist whose vocals are more hardcore influenced but the guitarwork is just a Slayer imitation. Unlike Slaughter of the Soul
where they took inspiration from Slayer and made that sound their own with a more melodic twist, The Haunted
seems content to simply take that thrash influence and add nothing more to it than hardcore sounding vocals.
There are a few hints of melody throughout The Haunted,
the rhythm section complements it nicely, but it’s most straight thrash riffing throughout. Adding to the monotony of the guitarwork are the strained, hardcore-like vocals which are effective only in small doses. The hyper aggressive vocals work wonderfully on tracks like ‘In Vein’ with a welcome change-of-pace sung chorus which heightens the impact of Dolving’s impassioned screams. As the album goes along, Dolving’s vocals are harder and harder to listen to and his singing on the final song ‘Blood Rust’ comes as a very welcome surprise and help to break up the monotony of the majority of the album.
Maybe At the Gates guitarist Martin Larsson was the one who steered the band in a more melodic direction or the remaining members decided to go in a different direction, but this band could hardly be considered melodeath, which isn’t a bad thing but it would be obvious to expect that. I guess there’s a big difference between “Swedish death metal” and “death/thrash metal from Sweden.”