This is my first review, hope it helps...
First off, let me make something clear: The Haunted is NOT At The Gates. Musically, they bear no resemblance. Now that we have that clear, let's get to the reviewing!
"The Haunted Made Me Do It" is the second release from Swedish metal supergroup The Haunted. It is a great example of good ol', headbangin' metal. Thrashy at times, melodic at others, this album just straight out rocks. They may not be as "Gothenburg" as At The Gates, but this band is just a straightforward metal band, at times incorporating groove metal with post-thrash/"metalcore".
One thing I have noticed about The Haunted is that they are very keen on making songs around catchy riffs. There are plenty to go 'round on this CD. It is impossible not to get the urge to bang/nod your head when you give "...Made Me Do It" a listen. The only problem I have with the album is that the music DOES start to get a bit boring towards the middle of the album, but the momentum builds back up towards the end.
Howsabout a track-by-track?
1. Dark Intentions
This track serves as an intro to the album, and immediatley you are hit with balls-to-the-wall riffage reminiscent to thrash (though not quite thrash). A great opening track for the album. It serves its purpose, which is to grab the listener's attention and show you what to expect throughout the album. In my opinion, an opening track should set you hard, get your attention, and set the pace for the rest of the album. "Dark Intentions" does exactly that. 5/5
2. Bury Your Dead
This continues the pace set by "Dark Intentions", starting off with a drum roll (which seems kind of typical, I guess), a fast single-note riff and a short intro guitar solo. This song pretty much defines the whole album (and The Haunted's overall sound as a band). The bridge/"breakdown" at 1:57 is what really makes you bang your head. The groove is irresistable. The solo is OK, nothing really spectacular, but still good for the song. 5/5
Starting off with another fast single-note groove, "Trespass" again keps the pace of the album going. There's nothing really special that stands out about this song, though, up until 1:47, where the band shows its "hard rock" side. This reminds me more of Down than say, a band like Destruction. The guitars in this song are very good, and the song gets mellow and relaxing but all of a sudden, they went back to the main riff (the fast single note riff), which I though w a bad switch. 3/5
"Leech" immediately reminded me of "blackened thrash" metal, like Witchery, perhaps. It actually really did sound like A Witchery song, to me. Not too fast, just even-paced, full of grooves (as usual). The solo on this song is the highlight, starting off with a beautiful arpeggio lick, but even that falls short at the end. The song gets pretty bland after that, losing its momentum. Still a good song, nonetheless. 4/5
5. Hollow Ground
Most likely the most melodic song on the album. The riffs are not mediocre, but nothing ear-catching. Then the first solo pops in. Yeah, that makes up for everything, doesn't it? Not so fast. The music is awesome. The clean vocals in the chorus, however, kill the song. There is some kind of reverb/chorus effect layered over his voice and it sounds more like a boring, lazy croon. Things look up starting at 1:43 and ending at 2:27 with a headbang-inducing bridge. It reminds you how great The Haunted are at that. However, there are still some boring moments in the song. Towards the end, the band shows its rock influence once again, and the clen vocals come in again, this time very soothing and relaxing. Much better than the clean vocals used in the chorus. 4/5
Another fast, aggressive song. Great to thrash and bang your head too, yes, but if it kept going the way it was, it would have dragged on and got boring. Mercifully, it's only 1 and a half mutes long. 3/5
7. The World Burns
"The World Burns" starts out promising, but doesn;t hold attention as much as the previoustracks did. The chorus and first solo make up for that, though, even though the solo (as usual) is nothing amazing. The song builds up after the second chorus as if they are about to go into some insane barrage of heavy riffage, but goes to a clean interlude that doesn't really fit the song. After that, the distorted guitars come back in and introduce a good head bobbin' melodic riff, but then they go back to the verse, which really pisses me off because they can't seem to stay in one place within the song. But alas, there's a galloping riff to save the day, if not for just a sond or two. The song ends and I am disappointed. 3/5
8. Human Debris
Ah, a great change. Here's the groove riffage I was loving at the beginning of the CD. This song is guaranteed to keep your head banging. Great solo as well. This is definitely a highlight of the album. 5/5
Things continue to improve for the CD. Another tune that will keep our head banging. The "breakdown" is the highlight of this song. Reminds me so much of thrash at times. Another great solo, as well. I can find nothing wrong with this song. 5/5
10. Under The Surface
Starts off kind of boring, pretty much stays that way for a while, which is a disappointment. More clean vocals are used in this song, but they are layered with that damn reverb/chorus effect again! The vocals also seem kind of lazy to me. In my opon, "Under The Surface" is the weakest song on the album. The solo doesn't even save it. Then it drags on and on with a slow breakdown, and I think "what a horrible way to end a song". 2/5
11. Victim Iced
The closer of this album, this song retains the fast, aggressive pissed off mode of the earlier songs. Not boring at all. There are even a few parts that remind me of black metal, though those parts are very brief. Then it kicks into the bridge and strikes me as vey thrashy. The solo, yet again, is "ho-hum". Again, nothing amazing, but it'll do. Still, a great song and a good way to close of a good album. 5/5
Overall, there are some low points on this album (drums don't stand out too much, some songs drag on, clean vocals get annoying) and nothing really amazing stands out musically, but it is still a very solid album. I would definitely recommend this if you are in the mood to just kick back and enjoy some good, headbangin' tunes. If, however you are one of those metal fans who picks everything apart and dissects it and whines because it's not "tr00" enough, this album is not for you.