1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Coming right out of the ashes of the former band 'At the Gates', 'The Haunted' has found its place among the music industry. Claiming to be the combination of 'Hardcore angst, unrelenting thrash, and melodic Gothenburg groove', 'The Haunted' has its fingers in a few different jars. However, much like most of their work, their music can be a bit of a mixed bag.
Marco Aro - Vocals
Patrik Jensen - Guitar
Anders Bjorler - Guitar
Jonas Bjorler - Bass
Per Moller Jensen - Drums
'One Kill Wonder' isn't very much different from 'The Haunted's' previous work. Aggressive riffs, hard-pounding drums, and inaudible screams (by 'inaudible' I mean you cant make out the words very well) are what dominate this entire album. From the opener 'Godpuppet', (Privation of Faith Inc. is simply just an intro) the band spares no sympathy as it prepares to take you down a trip of unrelenting headbanging music. Actually, 'Godpuppet' sets the formula for most of the riffs on this entire album. Fast palm-mutes, quick few notes, more palm-mutes, some more quick notes, and repeat. At first, it seems all in good taste, until you get to tracks such as 'Urban Predator' and 'Bloodletting' and begin to feel as if you've been ripped off because all of the riffs sound like they've been slightly modified and recycled. However, the songs 'Shadow World', 'Downward Spiral', and '***head' all offer temporary escape from these recycled riffs by throwing in some variation into the mix. For instance, on 'Shadow World', Patrik and Anders kick off the song by playing the same lead part that has a strong Gothenburg Death Metal feel to it, before it leads right into'well, the formula I described earlier. However, it's still a nice breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale area. '***head' and 'Downward Spiral', besides the first having a rather provocative name, have the thrashiest riffs on the entire album. 'D.O.A.' and 'Everlasting' feature some very Metalcore-esque riffs. Especially during 'D.O.A.', where the verse-riff feels very much like a Metalcore 'bridge' (I refuse to call it a breakdown).
The vocals on this album can become about as annoying as you're friend telling you the same joke over and over. At first, it's cool. But after awhile, you just wanna punch him in the face. Such is the case with Marco Aro. This guy has absolutely no vocal range outside of scream/growl. The lack of diversity in the vocal category kills this entire album. His Death Metal-like voice doesn't fit in very well here. He never even once tries to do anything outside of screaming or growling, and after awhile you begin to wonder if this guy should've ever picked up the microphone. By the end of 'Godpuppet', you've pretty much everything this guy has to offer. No synchronizing with the instruments, no whispering, no singing. This guy can do none of those. But if you're a fan of nothing but screams and growls with no change in pitch, you'll fall in love with Marco. The lyrics however are quite good. 'Distorting the values set by us all. You've lost all control. Immoral machines of pleasures and greed.' Come off of 'Shadow World', while the provocative '***head' features the best lyrics, stealing the show with 'Into my infernal dreams of passion, That I appease with deeds of sin. You got your wings from the angels divine, I stole mine from flies that died.' So if anything is to be taken here, it's that the vocals are near awful, but the lyrics are top-quality stuff.
If there's one thing Patrik and Anders can do well, it's play slightly above average. The riffs aren't much to look at, consisting of mainly palm-mutes with a quick fill at the end of each. The solos that appear on this album are usually very short, consisting of around 10-15 seconds. Also, most of them are never really that great. The solo on 'Shadow World' is actually more of just a lead part, while one of the solos on 'Bloodletting' uses slower notes in the beginning before it really does feel like solo with some quick notes played for a short 3 seconds. The instrumental track, 'Demon Eyes', should've been scrapped from this entire album. It actually feels more like a song that was stripped of vocals at the last second that an actual instrumental. Patrik and Anders actually don't even try to pull of some guitar stunts as most bands do on instrumentals. Instead, they play a song that has no vocals in it. No soloing, no great lead part, nothing. Actually, it turns out that the songs that I described as having the standout riffs have the least attractive solos. '***head' doesn't even have one. So its safe to say the two solutions look like this: Bland riff = Decent/Good solo. Boring solo/no solo = Interesting riffs. Not a very good combination if you ask me.
The sound quality is rather good. You can make out the guitar parts, the vocals, and the drums quite clearly. However, with most albums now a days, the bass is almost non-existent. This might not be a big deal to some, but it seems as if bassists are being overshadowed. Not saying that Jonas really brings anything new to the table, because he doesn't. No branch offs or fills, he just follows the guitars, except for on 'One Kill Wonder', where if you listen closely enough you can hear him branch off on his own for a quick second or two. As for the drumming, Jenson is rather talented. His fills on tracks on 'Godpuppet' and 'D.O.A.' are all enjoyable, and the best part is he doesn't constantly pound away, leaving the listener deaf and not being able to hear anything else.
Overall, this is probably one of the most repetitive albums I have ever purchased. The vocals, riffs, and solos all feel the same after'well the 2nd song. Nothing here really ever changes, and it can make you sick after awhile. However, this is a still a worthwhile listen for many 'Haunted' fans out there. And actually, if you listen to maybe one or two songs by themselves, you will enjoy this album. As negative as I might've seemed during this review, I still enjoy listening to one or two tracks off of this every now and then.