Exit Wounds initiates a huge return for Metal titans THE HAUNTED which follows up the Eye of the Storm 7” released in January of this year; not to worry, all three tracks were included for anyone who missed the wax pressing. Due to a hiatus stemming from the departure of three members, it has been a long three and a half years since their last full length and with the return of Marco Aro (vocals), Adrian Erlandsson (drums) and the addition of shredder Ola Englund (ex-SIX FEET UNDER) this group seems to have been reborn stronger than ever.
Now that some of their recent history is out of the way, Exit Wounds begins with “317” serving up a prelude to the very aggressive “Cutting Teeth” which has this awesome old school HAUNTED/SLAYER vibe going on; an absolute thrasher. The drum work is superb and it’s as clear as the lyrics say, “We’re Taking Over!” The beastly riffs begin to shine on “My Salvation” and “Psychonaut” both sharing that classic Gothenburg sound with the likes of mid-eighties TESTAMENT. Again, I can’t say enough about the drumming style being the perfect fit and Ola’s Rock ‘N’ Roll infused metal soloing really bringing these tracks to life.
“Eye of the Storm” leads off the next section with a straight power groove that let’s bassist Jonas Björler show his skills and I also feel this was the perfect preview of this record without giving too much away. “Trend Killer” seems to be a nod to PANTERA’S 1996 recording in which these guys are sending a big FUCK YOU to everything and everyone that is wrong with mainstream bands in Metal and the general music scene; I’ll be chanting this one with them when they make their way to Texas. Keeping the groove strong, “Time (Will Not Heal)” has more melody and changes tempo around the last minute giving way to a classical feel with a longer solo and serene harmonized leads.
The arrangement of songs couldn’t be better. “All I Have” picks up where the former left off giving us the strongest hint of southern influence including these simpler riffs with the perfect vibrato giving them that favorable twang. “Temptation” speeds the pace up with a gritty guitar tone that fits well and I can’t help but say this but, if this is what THE HAUNTED is doing, you better have some high expectations for AT THE GATES, there I said it! My favorite tunes always seem to be the short ones and “My Enemy” is no different; this is the circle pit banger and watch out for the solo, my ears almost ruptured.
Another sure favorite is “Kill the Light” with a darker lyrical theme accompanied by very sinister passages; the most powerful ending to any of their tracks is found here along with Hanneman-worthy riffing, take note Kerry King. “This War” follows suit well keeping the energy high with extra quick Gothenburg drumming and the bass chunking harder than ever! Fuck yeah! Also included on the January release, “Infiltrator” shows more melodic but odd and twisting styled rhythms; once again the solo section is flawless. Closing this monstrosity out, “The Ghost in the Machine” seems to take us back to the old days and I can’t stop saying it but Englund paired with Patrik Jensen make for a riffing powerhouse; some of the best lead work can be found on this gem as well a solo with genuine feeling. An immaculate finish.
If you have wavered from THE HAUNTED like I did a few years back, this record will pull you back in. This is their strongest work since 2004’s rEVOLVEr which didn’t include three-fifths of their current line-up so I urge everyone to pick up Exit Wounds via Century Media Records on September 2.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
WRITTEN BY JOR-EL