Sunday, August 27, 2017

review: The Haunted

[review by MMB]
The Haunted
Strength in Numbers
release date: August 25th, 2017
label: Century Media Records
The Haunted is back and making a serious effort to please the longtime fans. They have some damage control to do after some drama going on in their camp and that awful album whose name will not be mentioned here. This is the sound of a band doing its best to give the listener an intense album, like they believe that they are supposed to do. They bring the energy fast and loud, with aggressive semi-growling. They add a bit of variety by having some groove songs, too. They also bring on the guitar solos and the solos show that they are serious this time around. Most of the melody comes from some of the soloing, given that the rest of the music is chunky/chugging, fast, energetic or muscular and heavy. This is exactly what The Haunted is supposed to sound like for so many fans. It is accurate that this is a return to form.
For all the energy and heaviness, none of these songs connects with me. They can sound loud and fast. They can groove. They do the angry-middle-aged-man punk scream shouting well. It is all done competently. I get the impression that just about any man or woman with big a belly, with a bit of training, can figure out how to sound like an angry, weight-lifting punk screamer.
The song "This Is the End" is a heavy-hitting groove number. It is also boring. How can this band write such bland songs? With all the skill and experiences they have, you would think their imagination would be more creative than this. The guitar solo is the only redeeming quality in the song. If the solo can be creative, why can't the rhythms? What about the fast songs? It is difficult to get excited about musicians who have decades of experience playing fast metal music actually doing their job in an acceptable manner. Isn't fast what they are supposed to be doing anyway?
What do I want?! Most of all, better riffs. The energy is fine overall and the vocals are definitely ok, too. This all can work with better riffs, but chugging along sounds good only if the standards are so low that we don't expect anything superior from these veterans. Here and there some riffs sound cool, but the musicians cannot keep it up for long and are incapable of putting it all together in a song. These riffs are not easy to remember. After the music ends—and by the way, I have listened to this album a lot recently—I can’t remember the riffs well and I remember chugging and grooves and play-on riffs.
In short, longtime fans of the band should be very pleased because they want the energy and the thick-thrash/groove guitar work. Mission accomplished. The American Pantera/Machine Head/Slayer legions should be other sectors of the metal audiences that could welcome The Haunted for the direct way of writing songs and for the chugging. The Haunted is back on track for sure.

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