Album Review: The Haunted – Strength in Numbers

By Francisco Zamudio

The words “Swedish” and “metal” combined have nearly always produced some of the most memorable bands and albums, many pushing the boundaries of extreme music. Breaking away from the Swedish death metal mold is The Haunted who have been a relevant band since the late ’90s. Since leaving Earache Records, and some would argue peaking with their Century Media debut ‘Revolver’ (2004), they have since revolved around the same style throughout their existence, And as part of the CM roster of safe and marketable signing decisions, they’ve held nearly their entire career with CM. Now since parting ways with long-standing vocalist Peter Dolving, and the return of both Marco Aro & Adrian Erlandsson (At The Gates, Cradle of Filth) since their self-titled and sophomore release, respectively – they are back for their second effort together since their return on the soon-to-be released ‘Strength In Numbers’.

After the minute-and-a-half intro filler, The Haunted blast out of the gate giving into that Swedish metal sound we previously mentioned, but only hold on for a couple of minutes, with the shortest track on the album. The rest of the album follows up with their specific style that has gained them notoriety. As a band with abrasive vocals that would fall under the metal genre, the music is more rock-based with a mesh of grooves with momentary laps of speed nearly exposing more of Partik Jensen’s thrasher sound and alter ego from his more extreme group Witchery, which is most evident in the song ‘Tighten the Noose’, also my favorite track on the album. ‘Strength in Numbers’ blends the catchy-riffs of modern (American) metalcore and sprinkles in some of the European influence, including guitar solos which are never unnecessary and missing in a lot of today’s music.

Some modern hardcore influences can be heard as well, and though they attempt to mix in some of the thrash, it’s not abundant enough and quickly transitions back down to their stylistic groove. This is simply an album long-time fans of The Haunted will appreciate. It is definitely heavier than the previous release ‘Exit Wounds’ (2014). And for those open-minded listeners who crave something that can be construed as “heavy, but not too heavy”, this release will suit their needs. Though you will need to dig deeper to find the true definition of Swedish death metal, this release and band can give you a good peek at the alternative demonstrating that not all Swedish metal is extreme.

Rating: 7/10

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Record Label: Century Media
Release Date: August 25th 2017

Track Listing:
01. Fill The Darkness With Black (1:25)
02. Brute Force (2:49)
03. Spark (4:21)
04. Preachers Of Death (4:56)
05. Strength In Numbers (4:39)
06. Tighten The Noose (3:01)
07. This Is The End (3:30)
08. The Fall (4:32)
09. Means To An End (4:26)
10. Monuments (4:28)

Total Duration: 38:07

The Haunted links: website | facebook | instagram

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