Surely these are the words that every single die-hard fan of The Haunted (including me) would say while they’re listening to their new album Exit Wounds.
Ok, but let’s have a brief review of what happened in The Haunted camp in the past ten, eleven years. Marco Aro left the band in 2003 and the band was reunited with Peter Dovling and The Haunted slowly fell out of the right path and ended up becoming a radio friendly group who seemed to not know who they actually were and what they had done in their career. Honestly after powerful opuses like The Haunted Made Me Do It and One Kill Wonder nobody wants to hear something like The Dead Eye or Versus and the most disastrous one, 2011’s Unseen. After the second departure of Dolving, there were some rumors that Aro and Erlandsson would be back in the band again and when it became reality, it was very predictable that the band had decided to return to their old forms of music. Ola Englund was also replaced by Anders Björler to be The Haunted’s new axeman. See? Everything is ready to hear something wicked once again. That was already proven when the band released the three songs EP, Eye of the Storm in early 2014. This EP had most of the things (if not everything) that fans want to hear. Catchy, thrashy and melodic riffs that brought those classic sound of The Haunted back to life, far from those experimental Grunge/Alternative Rock, Tool-vibe era. Eye of the Storm EP was followed by the full length Exit Wounds that was released a couple of months later, on August 25th. All three songs from EP (Eye of the Storm, Infiltrator, My Enemy) also appeared in Exit Wounds.
Album starts with “317” a one minute and thirty-two seconds of guitar riffs vs. Erlandsson’s marching-off-to-war drum sorcery, merges with the Thrash Metal arsenal “Cutting Teeth”, a nuclear attacking guitar riffs attached to remarkable Marco Aro badass barking vocal style. Not even the intro riff but the whole song resembles Kreator’s 2009 song “Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)” (both of which have some riff inspirations from Metallica’s Blackened). “Cutting Teeth” also appeared as Exit Wounds first single, has a music video directed by Jakob Arevärn. “My Salvation”, “Psychonaut” and “Eye of the Storm” keep up the powerful crushing force of the album, never lost the tempo and energy. “Eye of the Storm” has some of the powerful riffs that have been laid underneath the album’s skin, which reminds me of some of Exodus’ “Now Thy Death Day Come” from the album “Shovel Headed Kill Machine”.
The sixth song “Trend Killer” is here. Groove is still around stands against some of the heaviest and craziest riffs the band has ever prepared. Marco Aro’s voice rides on those heavy riffs while Erlandsson’s drumming and Jonas Björler base lines send the whole thing to the next level of brutality. And yes, you can hear the legendary Testament’s vocalist and longtime The Haunted’s friend and fan Chuck Billy in this song, also the great Jed Simon (of Zimmers Hole, Tenet, SYL) on guitars, and this collaboration left nothing to say against this out-of-control Thrash/Death Metal mash-up. Jokingly, for a second I heard some Slipknot’s “The Heretic Anthem” “if you’re 555 I’m 666”! Ouch!
Couple of songs later, “Temptation” and “My Enemy” show up and clearly display the band’s thirst to blast into roots of West Coast Thrash Metal acts like Slayer and Exodus. “Infiltrator” has this West Coast vibe again, yet exposes some Swedish Melodic Death Metal tunes. The album’s closing track “Ghost in the Machine” is [one of] the most melodic song off the album, satisfies the listeners with a three minutes of fully Thrash Metal/Melodic Death Metal blender, which in some parts Marco Aro even comes close to singing clean, less shouting harsh style. Exit Wounds’ limited edition contains two bonus tracks “As the Poison Sets In” and “The Manifestation”, which are nothing short of everything that the rest of the album is. But if you’re waiting to hear something different and new from these two bonus songs, they fail you while they don’t add anything special to the album.
Musicianship in Exit Wounds is top-notch. All five members are at their finest. Except Ola Englund who only joined the band in 2013, the other four members know each other so well and have been playing with each other since the early years of formation of the band, yet there were some come in/go out dramas in the band. Songwriting is also one of the greatest points of the album, while the band is trying to keep the tunes of “Made Me Do It” and “One Kill Wonder” they added some huge touches of Groove Metal and Modern Thrash/Death Metal to their sounds, making Exit Wounds sound similar to the legendary Exodus’ post “Tempo of the Damned” albums, both in songwriting and production. Exit Wounds has been produced by The Haunted’s longtime producer, Tue Madsen in the Antfarm Studio, in Denmark.
Exit Wounds as The Haunted 8th studio album is such a badass album and a great success. Although this is not a flawless album, still got some minor it-could-be-better-than-this complaints but in comparison to what they’ve recorded in past years, Exit Wounds stands strongly with its head held high.
The Haunted has been resurrected. Welcome them back.
By Arash Khosronejad: Twitter @arashkh
Label: Century Media
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/02/2014
Band info: Facebook