Originally written by Tim Pigeon
Apparently The Haunted have kissed and made up with their original vocalist Peter Dolving after Marco Aro decided to call it a day. Besides that shift, not much else has changed with these Swedes. rEVOLVEr continues on the path set by the last two albums, progressing into a smoother, modern thrash sound, and getting further away from the primal thrash of the self-titled debut of so-many-years ago. Think of a chunkier, not-as-frantic Carnal Forge. Many of the songs here are a natural follow-up to One Kill Wonder, although every once in awhile they crank it to hyperspeed, spawning memories of good ol’ tracks like “Revelation”. To their credit, I expected them to get weaker on this album, which isn’t really the case.
Jensen is still churning out delicious riffs, which make me yearn for a new Witchery album even more. Anders Bjorler and his bass-wielding brother Jonas (both ex-At the Gates) hack away as they always have, while Per Moller Jensen is a steady force behind the kit, even if not terribly inventive. Dolving screams in a higher pitch than I remember, but it’s not out-of-place on this album. The production is markedly improved over the (IMO) grating, shoddy mix of the OKW. You can actually hear what the band is doing this time! The guitars have a classic tone, everything is balanced well, just a nice thrashy sound. So the album is aesthetically-pleasing, but how about the songs?
Well the songs vary in quality, with a few definite hits, and a few tunes that I could easily live without. “99” is pretty simplistic in its choppiness and love of the power chord, but it works. “Sweet Relief” is a relief in that they just toss out riffs at top speed throughout, like in the Made Me Do It days. But then they go ahead and include songs like “Burnt to a Shell” and “Abysmal” and “My Shadow”. Somewhere along the line, The Haunted must’ve developed a fascination for sludgy metal. Now their molasses moments aren’t shoddy, but they are a striking contrast. I guess you can’t play fast all the time…well I can, but I haven’t been doing this for a decade.
rEVOLVEr turned out to be a better album than I had expected, especially since I preferred the pipes of Aro, and didn’t much care for the prior release. It’s a fine fit into the Haunted discography, although plagued by a touch of inconsistency, both in style and quality. Fans of the band’s last two albums will enjoy this new dish, but I doubt it will change the minds of those who were not convinced before.