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Crónica @ Scandals
02 Octubre 2008
Now I’ve heard good things about this album, and I’ve been a fan of The Haunted for a number of years now. I tend to not take notice of good press on albums until I’ve actually listened to them; subjectivity is both the blight and soul of music reviewing. There’s only so many times I can hear people say Trivium are actually amazing before I want to scream ’slowly becoming average’ at them! But I wasn’t quite prepared for actually how good this album would turn out to be, even with the press drooling over it. The fact I always loved about The Haunted were that they were from the spiritual home of melodic death metal, Gothenburg Sweden, and yet their sound is classic thrash with vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Sick of It All album. Does that make it ‘thrashcore’? Lets hope not, but if it does, I’m claiming royalties on that title! They wield the thrashing excellence of Testament and Exodus through an excellent production system and infuse it with a coherent socio-political lyrical bent, with dalliances into violence. They are also the masters of pit-fuelled anthems, like ‘Trenches’ and ‘Moronic Colossus’. Whether you can put forward an argument that The Haunted belong to this current old school thrash revival (simply because they currently play thrash that wouldn’t sound out of place in the Bay Area of the 80s) or not, they possess a power that bands like Municipal Waste, Evile or Merciless Death don’t. Those bands have all released some quality material recently, but they appear to more keeping the spirit of thrash alive in their music, rather than The Haunted’s pure power and groove attack. ‘Ceremony’ is one of the best thrash tracks of the year so far, hurtling forward at breakneck speeds while still containing an instant classic riff at the core of its chorus, and middle track ‘Skuld’ has a doomy, malevolent sound ending in the line ‘to be once more, like first snow’ which melts straight into the fire breathing ‘Crusher’. It’s actually heartening to experience a thrash album in this day of retro-thrash wannabes that sounds modern, not outtakes from 20 years ago. Strangely though, for me the album highlight is ‘Rivers Run’, a track that could sit comfortably on any Corrosion of Conformity or Down album, so infused is it with a Southern NOLA groove and feel. Maybe if Anselmo ever wants to retire as Down’s vocalist, Peter Dolving can step up! ‘Imperial Death March’ is not, sadly, a metal rendition of the Star Wars track, but a slow, rumbling condemnation of religious fundamentalism. Yet another quality addition to The Haunted’s back catalogue, and to this year’s list of worthy album of the year contenders. This is gonna be pretty difficult…