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THE HAUNTED Strength In Numbers

By Nathan Dufour, Great White North
Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 10:17 AM


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THE HAUNTED
Strength In Numbers

2017, Century Media Records




THE HAUNTED are a bit of an anomaly, representing the immediate after-thoughts of a then-defunct AT THE GATES in terms of stylistic nods but also representing an experimentation that neither band was bred for or, in the case of THE HAUNTED, ever able to successfully integrate without sounding strained and constrained. Here we are at their second comeback album, I guess, and seeing the returns again of both vocalist Marco Arco and drummer Adrien Erlandsson. Strength In Numbers is representative of the classic lineup for sure, but does the sound stack up or fit between those sometimes strange Dolving years, years which also produced some of the most vital and perplexing material of THE HAUNTED’s cannon?

The answer is kind of. Beginning with an instrumental number, things kick off with second track “Brute Force” and it is clear that THE HAUNTED know very well what they want to accomplish here and the hunger that may have been, well, unseen in the past is back in spades. Riffs circle all around this thing and the tried and true thrash bell ride so prominent in the early 90's Gothenburg sound is here and well represented. No weird experiments, odd clean singing, or progressives leanings. THE HAUNTED have returned to form, reformed, and outperformed their past few efforts. In the interim, Marco was (and is, I believe) involved in the scrappy side project called THE RESISTANCE, and those ideas in terms of a looser and more punk rock feeling of song structure permeate Strength In Numbers like red wine spilled on white carpet.

The title track here is a total neck wrecker, with big fat bass lines bouncing around a razor sharp riff running lock-step again with that very Swedish groove without trying to ape previous projects nor going for the ENTOMBED sound - this is bright, ambitious, and fun to listen to. That’s the point, after all.

I gave the last album a pass and haven’t listened to it. Strength In Numbers represents another in a seemingly increasing list of bands deep into their careers releasing some of their best material ever and makes me second guess my passover of that last album. More importantly, if you were ever a fan of THE HAUNTED before, Strength In Numbers is the type of album that will make you want to revisit the whole back catalogue, not necessarily out of pure nostalgia, but out of respect and reverence for one of the best acts in the game remaining vital and not becoming an exercise in self parody. Count yourself in.

3.5 Out Of 5.0

Pick up a copy of Strength In Numbers in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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