Note: I'd like to say that prior to this, i havent heard any other material of this band, so i cannot really compare this to their earlier works.
I cannot explain through words, how much i love the legendary At The Gates
. Of course, they've influenced me alot, not only in musical choice, but also in my personal guitar playing and song writing. Prior to getting this, I heard the Björler brothers formed The Haunted
after ATG broke up. I was left asking myself..."is this band anything like ATG?". But then, for a period of time, I completely forgotten about them...until I saw this CD today at a local music store. So, is this album anything like ATG? Well, to put it simply, no.
* Peter Dolving - Vocals
* Anders Björler - Guitars
* Jonas Björler - Bass
* Patrik Jensen - Guitars
* Per Möller Jensen - Drums
First off, the vocals. Peter Dolving is no Tomas Lindberg. This is by no means saying that Dolving is not as good as Lindberg, but what i'm comparing here is the vocals. Dolving uses more of a rapsy scream/voice on this album, with some clean vocals scattered around this album, compared to Lindberg, who of course, uses more of a death metal shriek/scream. Dolving does have pretty good vocals though, songs like The Flood
and The Medication
showcases some of the good rapsy scream that he chooses to use. While songs like The Reflection
and The Fallout
shows his ability to sing cleanly, with the most notable being the starting of The Reflection
, where Dolving displays his really good clean voice. Another very noticable thing you will find here is that, there are alot of vocal melodies. Especially in the choruses. Just listen to The Medication, The Prosecution and The Flood
for some examples. In my opinion, Dolving does it just right. He doesn't overdo it, nor underdo it. He has just the right voice for the music The Haunted
is coming up with. Definitely a plus point for the band. However, for this plus point, there is a downside. Well, yes, you guessed it...the bass. I feel a little sorry for Jonas because he is most of the time drowned out by the heavily distorted guitars. Granted, you can hear him a couple of times, and he doesnt really play bad stuff, listen to The Cynic
for an example. But overall...he really needs more exposure. Just like with any modern metal band.
Per Jensen does a good job behind the drum set as usual. He definitely knows when to play and show-off and when to tone down and play simple beats. The driving force behind the songs, and more importantly the band. There are some really good beats and fills here and there. However, you could always complain about him not being very technically adapt. Yes, he does not play alot of technical stuffs behind his kit. Heck, i dont even think you will be able to find 10 second furious double kick bass playing on here. But does that take away what he has done, or is that sufficient enough to say he is not good enough? Well, imo, no. Comparing him to Adrian Erlandsson from old ATG, i'd say that Erlandsson has the edge. Why? Firstly, you will hardly hear the furious "blast beats" that Erlandsson was famed for when he was with ATG, on here. I mean, just listen to Blinded by fear
from ATG and any song off this album, and you will know why i gave the edge to Erlandsson. But then again, i'd like to stress that Jensen is by no means a really bad drummer. Some of the songs that he stands out on are The Shifter
Ahh, finally...this is probably the most important reason why i like this album. Of course, the guitars. Ahhhhhh! Yes! You havent forgotten that Anders Björler was playing in ATG as well, havent you? So would you expect this band to have the same playing style as he did on ATG on here? Well, if you did...you'll be...somewhat disappointed. My friends, most of the riffs here are almost nothing like ATG. Yes, there are a few moments reminiscent of ATG, but overall, this record will not in the least remind you of ATG. Yes, the riffs here are still melodic, and some of them even quite trashy. But i dont know, it just doesnt have the "ATG" feel to it. Of course, Anders, being the awesome guitar player that he is...does have some really stand out moment on here. The Flood
starts out with a rather melodic yet simple riff, The Reflection
shows more of the "chuggy" riff that he churns out, and The Stain
features a melodic, yet very flowing riff to the song, especially in the chorus. "Whaaaaaaat? Theres only 1 guitarist?", you may be asking. Well, no...they have 2. The other in Patrik Jensen. However, i'm not very sure what both of them specifically play, so i cant really judge what Patrik is playing. However, my description of Anders as above, is based on my assumption that he handles most of the lead riffs and solos. Oh, if youre expecting alot of ATG like solos, or just any kind of solos on here...be mentally prepared. There are few solos on here, with the main emphasis on the riffaging department. Guitar harmonizing that was so frequent in ATG, is well, almost non-existant here. You won't find both guitarists solo-ing together, and hardly will you find them playing riffs together. One thing that i really like here though, is the addition of clean sections. In my opinion, they add, instead of take away from the song. Most of the clean sections are beautifully played, with Peter Dolving singing cleanly over it. They are also not overdone, with long drawn out passages, but is done just right. The distorted guitar tone is pretty good as well. Overall, the guitars are sure a plus for the band. If you like melodic/catchy stuff, you should give this a try. Edge...err, At The Gates. Personally, i'd love to have seen more ATG influence on especially the guitar playing.
Overall, this is a pretty good album. If you're expecting another ATG, i say get on with life. The Haunted is The Haunted, At The Gates will forever be At The Gates. The songs here are mostly catchy and melodic, from the vocals...to the guitars. Of course, there will be shouts of "sell outs!"...mainly because the riffs are melodic, and they follow a standard heavy verse-singing melodic chorus now. But whatever people say, this is still a good album. Enjoy this album throughout...however, always remember...
This is no At The Gates...
Never has been, and never will be...
Long live At The Gates