Over the years, Gothenburg, Sweden has been fertile ground for metal. Swedish death metal and melodic death metal both got their start in Gothenburg. The three melodic death metal pioneer bands to come out of Gothenburg, At the Gates, Dark Tranquility, and In Flames, spurned a movement and a genre. One band that emerged from the fallout of the breakup of At the Gates was The Haunted. Formed in 1996 by Patrik Jensen and Adrian Erlandsson, The Haunted has gone through many personnel changes, but has always put out great records. Their latest release, “Exit Wounds,” will be released on September 2, 2014 through Century Media Records.
The band lineup for this album is almost the same as the crew on the “One Kill Wonder” album. Of course, Patrik Jensen and Jonas Björler are still there on guitar and bass. Adrian Erlandsson is back on drums and Marco Aro is back on vocals, replacing the always-controversial Peter Dolving. Ola Englund from Six Feet Under now joins the band on guitar.
Speaking of “One Kill Wonder,” if you did not know any better, you would think “Exit Wounds” was its follow up. After the brief opening intro ‘317,’ we are thrown into the pit with ’Cutting Teeth.’ This track is classic Haunted; fast, brutal, and angry. ‘My Salvation’ starts out a little slower, but then transitions into more of the same. The end of the track has a Lamb of God flavor to it. Oh, wait, or did Lamb of God pull from The Haunted a while ago? ‘Psychonaut’ speeds things up a bit more with some sweet Slayer-esque riffing.
‘Eye of the Storm’ has Aro sounding as pissed off as ever. ‘Trend Killer’ could be subtitled ‘Die Poser Die.’ It is easy to figure out why when you listen to the lyrics. No subtitles are necessary on the next track. ‘Time (Will Not Heal)’ is for anyone carrying a grudge. The slower grooviness of ‘All I Have’ is an unexpected, but welcome shift. Aro sounds extra salty slowed down. Things pick back up with ‘Temptation’ and continue in that direction until the final track, ‘Ghost in the Machine.’ This track swings back and forth between gallopingly fast to melancholy mid-tempo for a moody ending that does not feel like the end.
The reuniting of four fifths of the band that recorded “One Kill Wonder” was a great move for The Haunted. The last Peter Dolving fronted album, “Unseen,” received mostly not-so-favorable reviews. I think most, like me, should feel “Exit Wounds” is a great return to form.