Known for their uncompromising nature, there are few that can match The Haunted. Thriving on songwriting the material put forward on their latest record is nothing short of spectacular. Instantly engaging and just destructive a force as ever. Now capitalising on their recent addition of Ola Englund, The Haunted return with their follow up from 2015’s Exit Wounds
Intriguing in its arrangement the composition of “Preachers of Death” features the trickster triplet riffs the band are known for. Dropping out with one of the many finer moments for Ola Englund as his solo creates the segue into title track “Strength In Numbers“. Arguably the albums centrepiece it is by no means its finest hour. Having had Hardcore influence from day one, the band are known for their aggression just as much as their Gothenburg style melody. Vocalist Marco Aro’s performance is on absolutely top form here too, as his sandpaper style growl hurtles out of the speakers on “Tighten The Noose” the band’s more aggression driven track on the album.
Though what has always stolen the show for me is the simple dynamics the bands employ, “The Fall” a classic example of the genius combination of Anders Bjorler’s insidious riffs getting right under your skin before the rhythmic rug is pulled from under you with the simple adding of one extra note. Think the first time you heard “99”. Not to mention a set piece for Englund’s more than dextrous solo reach. Despite their changing line up over the years, The Haunted track record is incredibly consistent, wanting to experiment a little further, “Spark” the closest The Haunted are ever going to get to a ballad. Eschewing the Killswitch Engage style references of its chorus, its interesting to hear how The Haunted, this late in their career still want to experiment with their sound and does nothing but further their dimensions as a band.
Strength In Numbers rarely lets its foot off the pedal “Means To An End” kicks things up to fifth gear once more particularly the exhaust blast of Aro’s delivery of “I could use a little pain!” exploding into a verse. Taking the time to hone their skills, The Haunted have delivered an album that is as dynamic as it is punishing. Able to keep the listener guessing this far on in the game is admirable but to be able to follow it up with that classic venom The Haunted are known for is simply masterful. If you thought Exit Wounds was good, this is leagues above it. This is The Haunted’s real return.
The Haunted’s Strength In Numbers is out now via Century Media