In 2012, Swedish metal band The Haunted lost three of its five members, leaving only bassist Jonas Björler and guitarist Patrik Jensen. There was serious concern that the band would not continue, much like the fall of Nevermore. But to the surprise of many, the band not only decided to continue, they brought together three musicians that sent jolts of anticipation throughout the metal community: original drummer Adrian Erlandsson, previous vocalist Marco Aro, and Six Feet Under guitarist Ola Englund. And with this line up the band has recorded and is about to release their first new material in the form of an EP entitled Eye Of The Storm.
Head on below for our track-by-track review of this new EP and our thoughts on the future of The Haunted!
The album kicks off with “Eye Of The Storm”, a heavy, mid-tempo song that hearkens back to a heavier and less progressive-minded era. Still, there is melody and harmonization between the guitars and bass. Vocalist Marco Aro’s growls and screams are crisp and make it very clear that he isn’t approaching the music as ex-vocalist Peter Dolving would. The songwriting is incredibly sharp and it’s obvious that the band put a lot of thought into how the song should be structured, slipping in syncopated moments of silence for effect before quickly going full force back into the song.
The EP follows with “Infiltrator”, a faster tempo yet the verse is more on the melodic side. The bridge is classic The Haunted, sinister, evil, calling to mind the approach of some Lovecraftian beast. It’s here that I felt myself thinking, “I love that they’re back”.
“My Enemy” – Less than a minute long, it’s almost as though the band wanted to see if they could take their style and mix in some classic punk into it. There’s no bullshit here. In with a bang and out with absolutely zero fucks given, the way it should be.
I became a fan of The Haunted with 2006’s The Dead Eye, which ranks amongst my favorite metal albums. I was even a fan of 2011’s Unseen, which was met with a lot of critical and fan scorn. It was something fresh and different. Who cared if it was a bit softer? The songs still had one helluva punch and lyrically are incredibly powerful.
So hearing the band without Peter Dolving, Anders Bjorler, or Per Jensen originally felt a bit off. But after a few spins I found myself comfortable with the new line up. If Eye Of The Storm is any indication of what’s to come, the metal world should be very eager to hear the next full length.
The Final Word: The Haunted is back, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. They’ve given you a taste with Eye Of The Storm and now they’re biding their time before roaring forth.