THE HAUNTED

A bold thrashin’ state­ment from Swe­den’s fast-masters

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Albums -

given how fre­quently

The Haunted have found them­selves an­nounc­ing the de­par­ture of one singer and the ar­rival of an­other, it’s im­pres­sive that the Swedes have sur­vived for two decades and are still a band that most sen­si­ble metal fans hold in high es­teem. Strength In Num­bers seeks to cause a big­ger splash than 2014’s Exit Wounds, the band’s first since the (sec­ond) de­par­ture of Peter Dolv­ing and the re­turn of Marco Aro, and plainly de­serves to. That al­bum felt slightly half-baked, as if mak­ing up for lost time blunted the band’s weaponry some­what. In con­trast, their ninth full-length is an ob­ject les­son in sus­tained fury and ra­zor-sharp song­writ­ing. Ev­ery­thing from the ex­plo­sive Brute Force to the dark and omi­nous Mon­u­ments seems to show­case a sub­tly dif­fer­ent blend of ex­treme metal styles from the more straight­for­ward thrash at­tack that peo­ple gen­er­ally as­so­ciate with The Haunted, de­spite their nu­mer­ous past de­tours. On the ti­tle track and This Is The End, a strong whiff of post-Pantera groove doesn’t seem re­motely out of place and makes the im­pact of flat-out ragers like Tighten The Noose even more star­tling. Marco Aro’s voice main­tains an all-im­por­tant link to the gnarlier end of the hard­core scene on the scabrous likes of Spark and Means To An End, but this is still a record with one foot planted firmly in thrash. Some diehard fans may still pine for the stripped­back sim­plic­ity of that revered de­but, but the out­come of this small evo­lu­tion­ary step is one of the band’s finest records to date.

FOR FANS OF: Kreator, lamb Of God, Power Trip

DOM LAW­SON

The line-up may fluc­tu­ate, but The Haunted

still be­lieve in strength in num­bers

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